Barcelona fans can breathe a sigh of relief – Lionel Messi has confirmed he will remain at the club this season.
Messi informed the Catalan giants of his desire to leave after their 8-2 humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals on August 14 saw them finish the 2019-20 season without a trophy.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner was hoping to activate a contractual clause that would have allowed him to unilaterally terminate his deal with Barca, but the club – and LaLiga – insisted a fee would need to be negotiated or the entirety of his €700million release clause be paid in order for him to leave.
Messi, who has yet to report for pre-season training under Ronald Koeman, is contracted at Camp Nou until June 2021 and it now appears unlikely he will move before that date.
With the help of Opta, we look at some of the incredible records and feats Messi has achieved with the Blaugrana.
– In his 731 appearances for Barcelona, Messi has scored a club-record 634 goals and supplied 254 assists. That amounts to 888 goal involvements during his Barcelona career, which began as a 17-year-old in October 2004.
– No player has scored more LaLiga goals than Messi’s 444, while only Cristiano Ronaldo (447) has amassed more in the top five European leagues.
– Messi scored a record 50 goals in the 2011-12 LaLiga season and is the only player to convert at least 10 times in 14 straight campaigns in the Spanish top flight. He became the only player in history to score at least 40 club goals in 10 straight seasons between 2009-10 and 2018-19.
– From November 2012 until May 2013, the Argentina international scored in a record 21 consecutive LaLiga games.
– With 373 goals in 358 games at Camp Nou, Messi averages 1.04 goals per game at Barca’s home ground. Bayern’s Allianz Arena is the only stadium in which he has made more than two appearances and failed to score.
– Messi has been on the losing side 83 times in all competitions with Barca, which equates to 11 per cent of his appearances. Just over 70 per cent of the games he has played for the club have ended in victory.
– Messi played more games (219) and scored more goals (211) for Barcelona under Pep Guardiola, who he was linked with a reunion with at Manchester City, than he did with any other coach.
– His best goals-per-game ratio was 1.20 under Tito Vilanova, for whom he struck 60 times in 50 appearances in all competitions. Only under his first coach Frank Rijkaard (0.38 ) did he have a worse average than when playing for Quique Setien (0.63).
– Messi’s best season in front of goal was 2011-12, when he scored 73 times and set up 29 more – both personal bests in a single season. In 2012 he set a record for the most goals for club and country in a calendar year, finding the net 91 times.
The 33-year-old is the all-time leading scorer in El Clasico, finding the net against Real Madrid 26 times. His 15 goals at the Santiago Bernabeu in all competitions make it his most prolific away ground.
– In total he has scored against 79 different teams and his favourite opponents are Sevilla, who have conceded 37 goals in 39 meetings with him.
– The majority of his goals (522) have been scored with his left foot, while 22 have been headers. He has accumulated 47 goals from direct free-kicks and 75 from the penalty spot.
– Messi has registered 48 hat-tricks for Barcelona; 36 of those have come in LaLiga, which is a record.
– He has scored four goals in the same game on six occasions and converted five times in a match once , when he became the first player in Champions League history to achieve the feat in a meeting with Bayer Leverkusen at Camp Nou in March 2012.