- Lionel Messi’s stunning free kick against Sevilla FC on Sunday saw him become the highest ever goalscorer in Europe’s top five leagues.
- The strike was the Argentine’s 420th in La Liga — one more than his long term rival Cristiano Ronaldo has managed in spells in England, Spain, and Italy.
- Form suggests Ronaldo is unlikely to surpass Messi again.
- Ronaldo managed just 21 goals last season for Juventus — his worst return in a decade — while Messi scored 36 times for FC Barcelona.
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Lionel Messi’s stunning free kick against Sevilla FC on Sunday was important for more than one reason.
Not only did it signal the Argentine’s return to fitness after missinf the majority of the new season through injury, but it also saw him break yet another European goalscoring record.
The strike was his 420th in La Liga, a total which now makes him the highest ever scorer in Europe’s top five divisions (La Liga, Premier League, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, and Serie A) — one goal ahead of his long term rival Cristiano Ronaldo, according to Transfermarkt.
Watch Messi’s record-breaking goal here:
—Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) October 7, 2019
All of Messi’s 420 domestic strikes have come in Spain for FC Barcelona, with the 32-year-old reaching that total in just 455 games.
Ronaldo’s 419 on the other hand, have come in 525 games during spells in England, Spain, and Italy with Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus respectively.
Form suggests Ronaldo will struggle to catch Messi again
Ronaldo was at his goalscoring prime during the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons with Real Madrid, outscoring Messi on both occasions with 48 and 35 goals.
Since, however, the Portugal international appears to have slowed down with age.
In each of the last three domestic seasons, Ronaldo has managed just 25, 26, and 21 goals respectively — the latter, which came during his debut season with Juventus, being his worst return in a decade.
Messi though is showing no signs of slowing down.
His returns of 37, 34, and 36 goals over the past three seasons, are three of his top six domestic goal tallies ever — his best being the 50 he hit during the 2011-2012 season.
While one goal may not represent an insurmountable gap between the pair — an injury, for example, could see Ronaldo retake the lead — but form and age are on Messi’s side.
When fit, the Argentine is finding the net as regularly as ever, he is also two years Ronaldo’s junior, and he is the spearhead of a FC Barcelona side built around him.
Both superstars are in the final stages of their careers, however with Ronaldo now 34 and his form in decline, he appears to no longer have the lungs for the home straight as Messi does.