Amsterdam: Barcelona forward Lionel Messi equalled the Champions League scoring record of 71 goals when he struck for the second time in the 76th minute of Wednesday`s Group F match at Ajax Amsterdam.
The Argentina four-times world player of the year matched the record set by former Real Madrid and Schalke 04 striker Raul.
Messi moved within one goal of the record when he headed home Marc Bartra`s hooked cross after 36 minutes in the Amsterdam Arena to draw level on 70 goals with Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
He matched Raul with 14 minutes remaining, tapping home after exchanging a neat one-two with Pedro.
“Is Messi the best player of all time? Absolutely," Barcelona coach Luis Enrique told reporters. "He is the best player I have ever seen as a player or as a coach.”
Messi`s feat was also enjoyed by his team mates.
"I`m happy for Leo because of the work he does for the team and because he is number one, the best," Barca midfielder Xavi said.
"Leo has a free role along with the others up front, but they also have some important defensive work to do. At this club we all work and when we all work the team functions."