Lionel Messi's Career in Numbers After Breaking Clasico Record
When Lionel Messi lost out to Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d'Or and injury threatened to interrupt his season, many believed his status as one of the world's greatest players was about to fall into decline.
The Argentinean, however, has proved his doubters wrong, scoring in nine of his last 10 club matches and breaking new records virtually every week.
Here's a look at the Atomic Flea's career in numbers, including the milestones he has reached and breached in Sunday's thrilling Clasico.
The Clasico Campeon
Thanks to his hat-trick on Sunday, Messi is now the most prolific player in Clasico history.
According to Goal.com, Messi's legendary countryman Alfredo Di Stefano scored 18 goals in 30 Clasicos between 1953 and 1964.
The Barca superstar has now surpassed his Madrid predecessor, scoring 19 times in four fewer seasons.
On Sunday evening, Messi also became the first ever Barcelona player to score a hat-trick at the Bernabeu.
He has now scored 19 La Liga hat-tricks (26 in all competitions), the same amount as Ronaldo and Edmundo Suarez (per @MessiStats).
He now needs four more to overtake Di Stefano and Telmo Zarra to become La Liga's all-time hat-trick hero.
Barcelona's All-Time Top Scorer
During Barcelona's 7-0 demolition of Osasuna last weekend, Messi surpassed Paulino Alcantara's record of 369 goals to become the Catalan side's all-time top scorer.
Now, Messi has scored 374 times for Barca and 347 times in official competitions.
The folks at @MessiStats also note that he has been involved in 475 goals during his 413 competitive games for the Blaugrana (347 goals and 128 assists).
The Second-Highest Scorer in La Liga History
Messi's Clasico hat-trick means the 26-year-old has now scored 236 La Liga goals.
On Sunday he overtook Hugo Sanchez's record of 234 goals that has stood since 1994 (per SB Nation) to become the league's second-highest goalscorer of all time.
He is now just 15 goals behind Zarra's record of 251.
Can he break that record this season? Well, if he scores as many times in the final nine games of the 2013-14 season as he has done in the past nine, he will get 13 more goals, leaving him two short of the all-time record.
So it's possible!
The Calendar Year King
In 2012, Messi broke the record for the most goals scored in a calendar year with a phenomenal tally of 91 goals.
However, @MessiStats has found evidence that he may be on course to match or beat that total in 2014. After 18 competitive games in 2012, he had 22 goals. After 18 games in 2014, he has 20 goals.
Clearly, talk of Messi's decline is unfounded.
An Incredible Career
Now that we have looked through Messi's most recent milestones—and those on the horizon—here's a reminder of some of the incredible records he already holds, courtesy of messivsronaldo.net.
Messi holds the record for the most goals scored in a La Liga season (50) and the most hat-tricks scored in a season (8). He holds the world record for the most consecutive league matches scored in (21 matches; 33 goals) and in the process became the first player to score against every team in a league consecutively.
In Europe, he is Barcelona's highest scoring player ever (68 goals), he has the record for the most hat-tricks in a Champions League season (4), the most goals scored in the knockout phase (30) and the most goals scored in a single Champions League game (5).
Suffice to say, Lionel Messi is in the midst of an incredible career and time may one day prove that we are watching the greatest player of all time.
Long may his record-breaking streak continue...