There aren’t enough superlatives in the galaxy to do Lionel Messi the justice he deserves for his unworldly footballing exploits.
And while his first season at Paris Saint-Germain has proven that he is in fact human, Messi is still more than capable of suspending your disbelief, despite his advancing age.
He might not be making our jaws drop week after week anymore, and that’s absolutely okay. But that’s not to say he isn’t still capable of making the magic happen when he’s feeling up for it. And with a first year in Paris that was always going to prove difficult now out of the way, you’d back the Argentine to bounce back and kick on to superhuman levels again next season.
Having said that, Messi could hang up the boots tomorrow and his status as a footballing freak of nature would forever be etched into the game, with such a tremendous legacy left behind and living on through the records he has set throughout the years.
Those records are absolutely astonishing. Most of them being set while dazzling spectators for Barcelona from 2004 to 2021, some were also set while doing the very same thing for the Argentina national team.
There is never a wrong time to gawk over Messi’s accolades, thus we at GIVEMESPORT have deemed it as good a time as ever to look back at 11 of the records currently set by him that are so good, they are unlikely to ever be broken again.
13. Most Champions League hat-tricks – 8
Admittedly this is one of very few records that feel slightly beatable, Messi currently has the most Champions League hat-tricks, but is closely followed by Cristiano Ronaldo’s seven.
However, with Ronaldo looking set to not play Champions League football by sticking with Manchester United, there is a genuine possibility he might not get another chance to take that record, leaving it up to either Robert Lewandowski or Karim Benzema in third and fourth respectively.
12. Most Champions League group stage goals – 76
In similar vein to the hat-tricks scenario, Messi’s 76 goals could be beaten considering Ronaldo places second with 73, but with the scary possibility that he might not play in the competition again, it stands strong for now.
Benzema and Lewandowski take joint third with 56, meaning one of them would have to find 21 goals before they hang up their boots. Unlikely.
11. Most Argentina caps – 160 and counting
Surpassing Javier Mascherano as Argentina’s most capped player in 2021, Messi now sits on 160 caps at the time of writing, which is incredible longevity for somebody who has been breaking defenders’ ankles for years at this point.
What’s even scarier is that he still hasn’t retired from international football even after carrying the national team to the 2021 Copa America.
10. Most European Golden Shoes – 6
Awarded to the leading goal scorer across Europe’s top divisions, Messi of course has a trophy cabinet full of European Golden Shoes, as if he’s got a collection going on.
All six of them were won at Barcelona, the last three of which were all won back to back from 2016 to 2019. Freakish firing rates.
9. Most club honours – 36
Nobody can ever accuse Messi of being a stat-padding merchant or whatever it is the kids say these days, because he’s always made sure his contributions are the type that are dragging his teams to trophies.
Clinching Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain in 2021/22 added to an obscene silverware haul that took place during his unforgettable spell at Barcelona.
8. Most goals for one singular club – 672
Leaving Barcelona was always going to be emotional, but leaving under the circumstances he did made matters a lot worse. Messi’s spell in Catalonia was perhaps the best spell from a player at a club ever.
You can’t disagree really, either. As Scott Steiner would say, the numbers don’t lie. If the trophy cabinet isn’t enough, look at the goals. 672 of them. Nobody is coming close to that for one club ever again.
7. Most La Liga hat-tricks – 36
For many players – even strikers – scoring one or two career hat-tricks is a luxury that one won’t ever forget. Messi can’t even remember half of the hat-tricks he’s scored, for some perspective.
Seriously, 36 times he’s put at least three goals past one team in La Liga. That’s ridiculous. If he didn’t have to move on, there’s no doubt in our minds he could’ve reached 40 for Barça.
6. Most El Clasico goals – 26
Staying in Spain, Messi holds the record for the most goals scored in what was, in its peak, possibly the greatest game of pure football on earth. Two titans going at it, Barcelona vs Real Madrid isn’t for the faint-hearted.
His greatest rival Ronaldo couldn’t get all that close to him on this one, either, scoring 18 times in El Clasico fixtures. The Argentine loves the big occasions.
5. Most goals in a calendar year – 91
Nine goals away from scoring 100 goals within a 365 day period. That is truly unfathomable numbers.
Producing the mesmerising feat in 2012, nobody has come close to Messi’s 91 goal year since. Still sitting in second place is Gerd Muller, who scored 85 goals in 1972. If that doesn’t tell you just how freakish a scoring run that was from Messi, nothing will.
4. Most La Liga goals – 474
To put this one into context, Alan Shearer leads the way for Premier League goals scored with 260. Messi has almost double that over in La Liga.
And no, quality of league is not at play here. 474 goals is frankly a ridiculous firing rate no matter where you score them.
3. Most goals in a La Liga season – 50
In an era where Messi and Ronaldo were doing their unworldly best to one up each other in La Liga, the levels went through the roof.
Ronaldo ran him close when he scored 48 goals in 2014/15, but even that firing rate wasn’t enough to eclipse Messi’s 50 league goals in 2011/12. If he can’t do it, nobody can.
2. Most La Liga assists – 192
Playing in a team with some of the greatest midfielders ever in Xavi and Andres Iniesta, Messi of course outshone Barcelona’s chief creators while also outscoring everyone in his path.
Xavi retired with 129 La Liga assists, which is still a considerable way off Messi’s 192, giving you all the context you need to realise how nauseatingly high that number is.
1. Most Ballon d’Or wins – 7
With Messi and Ronaldo both finally showing their human side and declining, their era of dominating the Ballon d’Or awards has seemingly drawn to a close. In that time, Ronaldo managed to steal five away from Messi, which is a serious testament to his own abilities.
Winning five Ballon d’Or’s in Messi’s era is one hell of an accomplishment. Messi’s seven will never be topped. The man found levels that nobody will reach again.