LIONEL MESSI was once again Barcelona’s hero as he scored a dramatic, late winner against Real Madrid on Sunday.
Going into one of the most eagerly-anticipated El Clasicos in years, Messi took the game by the scruff of the net, scoring twice to keep their La Liga title hopes alive.
In scoring in the 92nd-minute, Messi reached an incredible milestone… his 500th competitive goal for Barcelona.
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With the all-time debate over whether he or Cristiano Ronaldo is the better footballer, Messi staked his claim to be named the greatest footballer ever.
But aside from his 500th goal in 2017… what have been the Argentine wizard’s other landmark strikes?
We take a look at some of the most-famous Messi goals from his glittering career… so far.
FIRST EVER GOAL vs Albacete – May 2005
WHAT a way to open your Barcelona account…
Aged just 17-years-old, Messi got on the end of a delightful, chipped pass from Ronaldinho and coolly lobbed the goalkeeper.
It was clear as of that moment that Leo truly was something special.
FIRST CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GOAL vs Panathinaikos – November 2005
MESSI’S first-ever goal in Europe was also only his second for Barcelona, following that Albacete strike.
The Argentine pounced on a loose ball before chipping the goalkeeper and volleying the ball into the back of the net.
As we now know, it was the first of many for Messi, who is now approaching 100 Champions League goals – currently on 94.
FIRST EL CLASICO GOAL vs Real Madrid – March 2007
IT took Messi until 2007 to score his first goal against Real Madrid… but he made up for that in style.
After cutting inside from the right, he coolly placed the ball into the far corner with his left foot.
Messi went on to score his first-ever hat-trick in the game, smashing home a loose ball into the roof of the net for No2.
He then drilled the ball into the far corner following some sublime footwork to complete his famous trio.
100th GOAL vs Sevilla – January 2010
GOAL No100 came in just 2010 in a La Liga clash with Sevilla.
After holding his surging run into the box, Messi got onto the end of a beautifully-weighted Dani Alves cross to slot the ball into the back of the net.
500th GOAL vs Real Madrid – April 2017
FAST forward just seven years and Messi has found the net a further 400 times for Barcelona.
Level with ten-man Real at 2-2 thanks to an 85th-minute equaliser from James Rodriguez, Messi proved once again he has ice in his veins.
Holding his run at the edge of the box, the Argentine powerfully-placed the ball into the back of the net first time.
- In scoring twice against Real Madrid Messi also became the all-time El Clasico leading scorer, overtaking legend Alfredo Di Stefano’s long-standing tally of 14.
- Of his 500 goals, Messi has scored 284 at home, 204 away and 12 at a neutral venue.
- 402 of Messi’s 500 Barcelona goals have come from his left foot, while he has scored 73 times from outside the box.
- When Messi scores, Barcelona win 86.7 per cent of the time, losing just 3.8 per cent.
- Outside of the Nou Camp, Messi has scored the most goals at the Bernabeu, on 14.
- Messi scored 50 goals in the 2011-12 season in the La Liga alone – the only player to reach a half-century in history.
- The Argentine star has scored more goals against Sevilla than any other team at 29.