Source: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images
Source: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Ode to Messi: An extraordinary article about extraordinary records

Football OlyBet 10.11.2023

Football fans who were eagerly waiting for the next installment of Olybet.TV’s ten-part ‘When Defenders Score” article series will be disappointed this week, as we’re taking an exceptional break from this to turn all eyes to Lionel Messi (perhaps for the last time). Why? Because the Argentine deserves it!

On Sunday, the 36-year-old football magician lifted his eighth Ballon d’Or – the world’s best soccer player award – over his head on the stage of the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. Given that Messi is already playing in the USA, this will most likely be his last. After all, the MLS trophy is not something you can really brag about.

True – if Messi decided to extend his career to the World Cup in Canada, USA and Mexico in 2026, and if he managed to defend the title with Argentina as a key player there, the football wizard would probably enter the Ballon d’Or debate once more. Rather, it can be assumed that the era of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, which began in 2008, is over.

Ronaldo, who moved to Saudi Arabia in the winter, was left out of the 30 nominees for the Ballon d’Or for the first time this year, and it’s probably only a matter of time before the same thing happens to Messi. That’s why we sing this last ode to the Argentinian. He deserves it!

Why? Because Messi has so many records that will probably never be broken. They are…

Most Ballon d’Or titles – eight

Messi’s victory this year came as no surprise, considering that it was thanks to him that Argentina managed to lift the World Cup trophy again after a 36-year hiatus. Manchester City’s top man Erling Haaland tried to fight back, but a World Cup title is still a World Cup title.

In total, Messi now has eight golden footballs on his mantelpiece, which is an absolute record. His closest pursuer in this regard is Ronaldo (five Ballon d’Or), but as we said before – the Portuguese player was no longer among the nominees this year – his time is pretty much over.

Among the active players, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema have the Ballon d’Or trophy as well – one each – but considering that they are already in their 30s, the men have no chance of catching up with Messi.

So, we must look at the emerging players. Haaland, Kylian Mbappe, Jude Bellingham, Vinicius, etc. are just some examples who could perhaps win the Ballon d’Or in the future, but do it eight times…

History does not favor it because only five men in the world have won three or more titles: Messi (8), Ronaldo (5), Michel Platin (3), Johan Cruyff (3), and Marco van Basten (3).

Most goals in one Spanish Premier League season – 50

Likewise, it’s impossible to predict when someone might surpass La Liga’s top-scoring mark, but if we go back to history, you could argue that it will take a long time.

Messi’s 50 goals for FC Barcelona in the 2011/12 season in 37 games is not only a Spanish Premier League record but also the best in Europe’s top five leagues (England, Spain, Italy, Germany, France) since the birth of the Premier League in the 1992/93 season.

As for La Liga, since its inception in 1929, only three players have surpassed the 40-goal milestone: Messi (2011/12, 2012/13) and Ronaldo (2010/11, 2011/12) have managed it twice, Luis Suarez once (2015/16).

Most goals in one season in all leagues – 73

Continuing to ride the wave of success… in his best season (2011/12), Messi scored 73 goals for FC Barcelona. A milestone that others have not even come close to.

Haaland scored in the Premier League and the Champions League last year, every week and from every position, but even so, by the end of the season, he reached “merely” 52 goals, meaning he was 21 goals short of Messi’s top mark…

Well, if we also consider the goals scored for the national team, Messi scored 91 (!) goals in the 2012 (calendar) year. Enough said.

Most Champions League goals for one club – 120

Although Messi cannot show off the title of the top scorer in the Champions League – that belongs to Ronaldo with 140 – the Argentine can take solace in the fact that he is the player who has scored the most for one team.

He scored a total of 120 times for FC Barcelona in the Champions League, followed by Ronaldo (105 for Real) and Karim Benzema (78 for Real).

Given that in today’s (football) world, players are nowhere near as loyal to clubs as they used to be, it’s hard to see anyone breaking that record.

Most goals for Argentina – 106

Messi is, without a doubt, the top scorer of the Argentina national team, and given that he still wears the blue and white shirt to this day, that tally may increase even more.

Who else can be found in the goal scorers ranking of La Albiceleste – as the Argentine national team is called? Messi is followed by Gabriel Batistuta (56), Sergio Agüero (41), Hernan Crespo (35), Diego Maradona (34), Gonzalo Higuain (31) and, as the first active player, Angel Di Maria (29) in seventh place.

However, considering that Di Maria is 35 years old, the prospect that he could catch up with Messi is a pipedream.

To be honest, there is no point in dreaming at all because only three men in the history of the world have managed to score 100+ goals for their country: Ronaldo (127), the Iranian Ali Daei (108), and Messi (106).

These five records aptly illustrate how extraordinary Messi’s career has been and why he deserved this one and last ode. Next week we’ll be back with the ‘When Defenders Score” series on Olybet.TV, so stay tuned!


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