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Sport Messi's Last Dance: The records the Barcelona star can break – and what could hold him back

10:05  26 september  2020
10:05  26 september  2020 Source:   goal.com

Aeroplane turbulence and physicality fears - Lionel Messi's first Barcelona training session 20 years on

  Aeroplane turbulence and physicality fears - Lionel Messi's first Barcelona training session 20 years on Lionel Messi trained with Barcelona for the first time 20 years ago. It's been some ride since then for the Argentina great.Grim predictions of global chaos did not come to fruition as the human race survived Y2K and the threat of the "millennium bug".

Messi was backed up in his message by former Barcelona star Neymar, who Messi ' s thinly-veiled attack on the Barcelona hierarchy comes after he had to abort his own efforts to Ultimately the step failed and Messi will remain while Suarez moves on to Atletico on a free transfer, but which could see

What records does Lionel Messi hold ? Most Champions League hat-tricks (shared with Cristiano Ronaldo): 8. Most Champions League group stage In an Instagram post, the Barcelona star wrote: “Much has been written and said about the Barcelona team in regards to the salaries of the players

a man standing on a baseball field: Barcelona captain Lionel Messi © PAU BARRENA / AFP Barcelona captain Lionel Messi

He might not have buried the hatchet, but Lionel Messi has promised Barcelona he will give his all in the coming season.

His attempt to leave the club, played out in public long before he spoke openly about his plans, ended with him accepting he will spend at least one more year at Camp Nou.

Messi is still angry with president Josep Maria Bartomeu, still upset with the way the team has declined since 2015's treble, but he was smiling again when he played in the 3-1 friendly win over Gimnastic, a grin that gladdened the hearts of Barca fans across the world.

Bartomeu on Messi: I couldn't let the best player in the world go

  Bartomeu on Messi: I couldn't let the best player in the world go Having refused to grant Lionel Messi's wish to leave Barcelona last month, president Josep Maria Bartomeu is keen to move on.Messi stunned the world last month when he informed Barca of his intention to depart the LaLiga giants, with the 33-year-old intending to trigger a clause in his contract to walk away on a free at the end of last season.

Messi would almost certainly have left the club this summer had Barcelona not enforced his release clause. Fati could be Messi ' s successor should his progress continue at the phenomenal rate he showed in his debut campaign, when the Spain prospect send records tumbling in one of the few

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So, with exit talks on ice, the focus is once more on how Messi can carry this team to domestic and European success while the impact of that 8-2 battering by Bayern Munich last month still lingers.

He managed 31 goals and 25 assists last season, the latter number his highest such tally in five years, the former the lowest. He completed more dribbles per game than ever (5.91) but recorded his lowest shots-per-game tally in at least five years (4.57).

The freescoring sensation of his earlier years is past; he is now creator-in-chief, a deeper-lying attacking menace, on whom the pressure is arguably greater than ever after years of mismanagement of the playing squad from those above.

So, what can we expect from 2020-21, the season that may come to be known as Lionel Messi's "Last Dance"?

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Record - breaking Messi . Most goals in a calendar year - 86. He also broke the record for the most competitive goals (68) scored in a single European season, also previously held by Mueller. And there are things he could do that Messi hasn't. No matter what happens, it will be a debate that rages

Before Lionel Messi returns from the sidelines for Barcelona , we Before Lionel Messi returns from the sidelines for Barcelona , we take a look at the five records he can break in the ongoing season. His abilities and an eye for goal are legendary and his consistency over the last decade or so is what

THE RECORDS HE HOLDS

This is just a handful, of course.

Messi is the all-time leading goalscorer in LaLiga with 444. In Europe's top-five leagues, only long-time adversary Cristiano Ronaldo has more (447).

In all competitions for Barca, Messi has scored 634 goals and provided 254 assists in 731 appearances. That puts him on 888 goal involvements for the club - a tally nobody even comes close to matching.

Messi has scored at least 30 goals in each of the last 12 seasons and is the only player to score at least 10 in 14 consecutive LaLiga campaigns. He holds the record for the most in a single season, too: he scored 50 in 2011-12.

And, of course, he is the only man to win the Ballon d'Or six times.

THE RECORDS THAT BECKON

If Messi features in 31 of Barca's 38 LaLiga matches, he will eclipse Xavi's record of 505 appearances for the club in Spain's top flight. He will also surpass Xavi for games in all competitions for the Catalans (767) if he plays 37 times overall.

Celta Vigo 0-3 Barcelona: Ansu Fati and Sergi Roberto on scoresheet

  Celta Vigo 0-3 Barcelona: Ansu Fati and Sergi Roberto on scoresheet PETE JENSON: Barcelona sent a message to the rest of La Liga in the wind and rain at Vigo on Thursday night - forget the dramas of pre-season, we are still the team to beat this year. They ran out 3-0 winners against Celta Vigo despite being reduced to 10-men at the end of the first half.They had not beaten Celta away in six years but despite the inclement conditions and being a man down the three points never looked in doubt.

Barcelona told Messi to do nothing but relax during his break , and he enjoyed time with sons Thiago, Mateo and Ciro. Messi ' s new year celebrations included a dance with Antonella, a At least they did not go into their Christmas break as they did last year - off the back of a Christmas Clasico hammering.

Messi struck twice inside the last 20 minutes at the Nou Camp to seal the win for Barca in the Catalan derby and put them 13 points clear at the top of La Liga. Having struggled to break down a resilient Espanyol backline, Barca won a free-kick in Messi territory right on the edge of the box.

Messi will close on the LaLiga record held by Manolo Sanchis for the most appearances at a single club in the division, but he will need more than one season for that - Messi is on 485, while ex-Real Madrid man Sanchis played 523 times.

Of course, Messi will be desperate for trophies this season after a barren 2019-20, and winning two will see him draw level with Ryan Giggs when it comes to titles won with the same club. Giggs won 36 with Manchester United.

But how about this for a feat: if Messi gets 10 goals this season - and let's face it, there's a good chance - he will set a new record for goals scored for the same club in official competitions. The current best is 643, set by a former Santos forward known as Pele.

THE PROBLEMS HE FACES

After the friendly win over Gimnastic, Koeman made it clear he plans to deviate from Barca's traditional 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1 that will, hopefully, get the best out of their midfielders. Such a system would presumably see Messi stationed as the number 10, behind a central striker.

Perhaps that's no bad thing: Messi, as a false nine under Pep Guardiola, played the most games (219) and scored the most goals (211) of his career in all competitions. His role under successor Tito Vilanova was similar and yielded 60 goals in 50 games, giving him a career-best average of 1.2 goals per game.

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  ‘Messi is fired up and working his socks off’ – Sergi Roberto sees ‘desire’ in Barcelona talisman A Camp Nou colleague of the mercurial Argentine claims to have seen no dip from the South American on the back of his efforts to leave the clubA testing end to the 2019-20 campaign saw the six-time Ballon d’Or winner push for the exits in Catalunya.

CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST: Lionel Messi could remarkably be honoured with a mid-match stoppage at the Santiago Bernabeu during El Clasico Lionel Messi is just three goals from breaking the La Liga goalscoring record . One proposal is to pause the match to pay homage to the Barcelona star .

Barcelona star Lionel Messi celebrated his son Ciro's first birthday. Messi is set to feature for Messi ' s son Ciro celebrated his first birthday and the Barcelona star posted a picture of his family on Pep Guardiola could be forced to miss the start of Manchester City's pre-season as he'll have to

His most prolific season - 2011-12, the last under Guardiola - saw Messi record an astonishing 73 goals and 29 assists, leading to his calendar-year record of 79 goals in 2012. Again, that was from a central position in the attack, albeit one in a team filled with exceptional players. A shift back to the middle could suit him.

The trouble is that Messi is increasingly having to do all this himself. The supporting cast has dwindled in quality since 2015 and his most productive relationships are behind him.

Luis Suarez (47) has the most assists for Messi at Barca and completed his switch to Atletico Madrid this week. To continue a recent theme, his great friend expressed displeasure with the board over the matter. The top five Messi assisters after Suarez have all long left the club: Dani Alves (42), Andres Iniesta (37), Xavi (31), Pedro (25) and Neymar (22). The next on the list is Jordi Alba (21), whose own spot in Koeman's team is not entirely certain.

He has never looked entirely compatible with Antoine Griezmann, Ansu Fati is still a raw talent in many respects, and the squad will take time to adjust to any new formation, not to mention new arrivals in Miralem Pjanic and, perhaps, Memphis Depay. What's more, the embarrassment of last season's final few weeks will be fresh in the players' minds and the unrest from the boardroom downwards will never be far from the headlines.

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When it comes to carrying this team, Messi has rarely looked so alone.


Gallery: Premier League cast-offs who went on to win the Champions League elsewhere (FourFourTwo)

Jerome Boateng holding a football ball:                      There are plenty of people out there who'll tell you that the Premier League is the best in the world – but this motley crew might disagree.                                                                              Each was cut adrift by some of England’s biggest clubs (and Charlton). Sometimes it was down to timing. Occasionally, club politics played a part. A few of them were just a bit rubbish. In any case, each found a new home and then Champions League success with a different club...

Luis Suarez says his friendship with Messi led to Barcelona exit .
The Uruguayan striker, 33, joined Atletico Madrid last month in a deal worth £5.5million after six successful years at the Nou Camp but his departure from the Nou Camp was acrimonious.The Uruguayan striker, 33, joined Atletico Madrid last month in a deal worth £5.5million after six successful years at the Nou Camp.

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