Lionel Messi scored his 700th career goal for club and country but Barcelona couldn’t hold on to beat Atletico Madrid as they played out a draw 2-2 and further dent title hopes.
The Spanish giants’ all-time top scorer, Messi, hit the landmark goal for club and country by scoring a Panenka in a nervy encounter against Jan Oblak to put Barcelona ahead but the visitors quickly level to end the game 2-2.
Should Real Madrid win their game in hand, they would move 4 points clear of Barcelona in second place as the margin might widen even further.
Messi’s penalty was also his 630th goal in his 724th appearance for Barcelona, the only club he’s played all his football for so far.
He was also involved in Barcelona’s first goal when his whipped corner hit Diego Costa and deflected into the back of the net.
Diego Costa then had a shot at redemption a few minutes later from the penalty spot but Stegen saved it.
Fortunately, VAR ruled in favour of Atleti as Saul scored from the resulting replay after the Barcelona goalie was found to have left his line before making the save.
Messi also restored Barcelona’s lead from a spot-kick to reach his career milestone with his cheeky Panenka – named after Antonin Panenka’s famous penalty for Czechoslovakia in the final of the 1976 European Championship – but Saul Niguez equalised again with another penalty as Barca dropped points which could cost them dear in the title race.
Messi joins the 700 club as he records yet another milestone, his 700th career goal coming just over 14 months after netting for the 600th time for Barcelona – means he joins a select group.
|Players with 700+ career goals|
|Player||Nationality||Major clubs||Goals||Years scored between|
|Josef Bican||Czech-Austrian||Rapid Vienna, Slavia Prague||805||1931-1955|
|Romario||Brazilian||Vasco da Gama, PSV, Barcelona,||772||1985-2007|
|Pele||Brazilian||Santos, New York Cosmos||767||1957-1977|
|Ferenc Puskas||Hungarian||Budapest Honved, Real Madrid||746||1943-1966|
|Gerd Muller||German||Bayern Munich||735||1962-1981|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Portuguese||Sporting CP, Man Utd, Real Madrid, Juventus||726||2002-present|
He has now scored more than 40 goals for club and country in each of the past 11 calendar years and more than 50 in nine of the past 10.
So far in 2020, after a three-month disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, he has 11 to his name.