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LIONEL MESSI EQUALS PELE’S RECORD OF GOALS FOR A SINGLE CLUB

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Lionel Messi scored his 643rd goal for Barcelona on Saturday to equal Pele’s record of goals for a single club as the Spanish giants were held 2-2 by Valencia.

Messi headed in from Jordi Alba’s cross after his first-half penalty was saved to equal the mark set by the Brazilian great for Santos.

But Messi was left frustrated as a dogged Valencia forced a draw that leaves Barcelona eight points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, who beat Elche 3-1 earlier in the day.

Barcelona started slowly and went a goal behind to Mouctar Diakhaby’s unchallenged header from a corner after half an hour.

Antoine Griezmann earned the penalty that led to Messi’s record-equalling goal when the Frenchman was nudged over by Jose Gaya.

Messi’s spot-kick was saved by Jaume Domenech but the ball rebounded and from Alba’s dinked cross, the Argentine headed the ball into the net to draw level with Pele.

Barcelona went ahead thanks to a superb scissor kick from Uruguayan Ronald Araujo.

But Valencia’s pressure was rewarded when Maxi Gomez got in front of Barca central defender Oscar Mingueza to turn in a cross and equalise.

Philippe Coutinho drove a shot just wide with 12 minutes remaining and Messi curled a free-kick wide but Barcelona were forced to share the points.

Factfile on Lionel Messi, who equalled Pele’s record for most goals scored for a single club with his 643rd Barcelona goal on Saturday:

Full name: Lionel Andres Messi Cuccitini

Date of birth: June 24, 1987

Hometown: Rosario (Argentina)

Nationality: Argentinian

Height: 1.69 metres

Weight: 72 kg

Position: Forward

Club: Barcelona (ESP/2004-)

National team: 140 appearances, 71 goals

Major international honours:

Olympic gold medal (2008)

Under-20 world championship (2005)

Major club honours:

UEFA Champions League: four titles (2006, 2009, 2011, 2015)

Spanish La Liga: 10 titles (2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019)

Spanish Copa del Rey: Six titles (2009, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)

UEFA Super Cup: Three titles (2009, 2011, 2015)

Spanish Super Cup: Eight titles (2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2018)

Club World Cup: Three titles (2009, 2011, 2015)

Individual awards:

Ballon d’Or: Six (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019)

European Golden Shoe: Six (2010, 2012, 2013, 2017, 2018, 2019)

UEFA Player of the Year: Two (2011, 2015)

FIFA Golden Ball: One (2014)

Copa America best player: One (2015)

UEFA Champions League top scorer: Six times (2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012, 2014-2015, 2018-2019)

La Liga top scorer: Seven times (2009-2010, 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020)

Olympic Games best player: One (2008)

Notable records

Ballon d’Or wins: Six

All-time La Liga top scorer: 450 goals

Barcelona all-time top scorer: 643 goals

Argentina all-time top scorer: 71 goals

Written by Garrin Lambley

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