Zee Media Bureau/Jayanta Oinam
Madrid: With a brace against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, Lionel Messi became the joint-third highest scorer in La Liga history. Messi has scored 228 goals in 268 appearances for Barcelona.
In a one-sided match at Nou Camp, Barcelona`s top scorer notched up his first of the night in the 36th minute from a Cesc Fabregas assist and equalled compatriot and Real Madrid legend, Alfredo di Stefano`s 227 strikes in the league.
In the 68th minute, the four time world player of the year scored his second, from Alexis Sanchez`s through ball to match another Real Madrid legend, Raul at 228 goals. The little Argentine needs 25 more goals break Athletico Bilbao great, Telmo Zarra`s 252 goals.
Next in the Argentine`s firing line is Hugo Sanchez, who famously played for both the capital clubs, Atletico and Real, winning five successive league titles with the later in the second half of the 1980`s. The Mexican scored 234 goals in his 347 appearances in La Liga.
The match ended 6–0 in favour of the hosts with Adriano, Sanchez, Pedro and Neymar also scoring. The win helped the reigning champions return at the top of the table, ahead of Atletico Madrid on goal difference.
Messi, who is also the youngest player to hit the 200 mark in La Liga, missed two months of the current season due to injury. The 26-year-old forward returned from injury, scoring twice for the Catalan gaints in a 4–0 Copa del Rey rout of Getafe.
In his 17 league games this season, Messi has scored 13 goals and is currently at joint-fifth with club-mate, Pedro and nine behind the leader Cristiano Ronaldo`s 22 goals.