FC Barcelona’s inability to retain Lionel Messi is not just indicative of how badly the giant of Spanish soccer has been mismanaged. It also underscores the foibles of fan ownership.
Barcelona players took to social media on Friday to share their thoughts on Lionel Messi’s exit and send their best wishes to the captain.
There was an initial silence from the players after the news broke yesterday but the messages have since coming flooding in as the reality of Messi leaving finally hits home.
Messi scored his first official goal for Barcelona in the Week 34 LaLiga meeting with Albacete at Camp Nou on 1 May 2005 – in his eighth league appearance for the senior side that season. Messi was brought on for Samuel Eto’o in the final minutes of the game with the score at 1-0. Not a bad way to officially open your account.
What looks as though it may well have been Messi’s last goal for Barcelona, his 778th, came in the 1-2 LaLiga defeat to Celta Vigo at Camp Nou on 16 May 2021.
Leo Messi was already established in Barcelona’s first team by the time he was in his late teens. He scored his first goal for the club at age 17.
No other player has made as many appearances for Barcelona’s first team (778) or scored as many goals for the blaugranas – or in fact for any one club in the history of the game (672) as Lionel Messi. Both of those records look set to stand for a while yet and Messi’s goals record may never be broken.
The Argentinean is also the all-time top scorer in the history of LaLiga with 474 goals. To put that into perspective, the next player in the ranking, is Cristiano Ronaldo on 311.
He also holds the record for the most hat tricks in LaLiga – 36; in total, he has bagged an eye-watering 54 hat tricks for Barça since celebrating his first one in March 2007 and his last one, against Eibar in February 2020.