- Argentina and PSG forward Lionel Messi has become the latest footballer to hit the 800th goal milestone
- Messi scored his 800th career goal whilst playing for Argentina against Panama in a friendly match
- We take a look at his career in numbers up to the point of his 800th goal
Argentina and PSG forward Lionel Messi achieved the 800th goal of his illustrious career on Thursday, scoring a stunning free-kick to seal Argentina’s 2-0 friendly win over Panama.
The reigning World Cup champions returned to Buenos Aires to a raucous welcome from their adoring fans, but they would have to wait until the final seconds for their favourite son to score.
Messi had hit the crossbar with a free kick in the first half, and after a second free kick was saved by inspired Panama goalkeeper Jose Guerra, he struck the woodwork again with a third free kick, but this time it resulted in the opening goal, as Thiago Almada tapped in.
But it wasn’t until his fourth free kick curled under the bar and into the top-right corner that the stadium erupted.
Of course, it was not so long ago that Messi reached another goals landmark.
His tap-in from Kylian Mbappe’s inch-perfect cross against Marseille on February 26 marked Messi’s 700th club goal; the strike against Panama was only his second for club or country since then.
Messi’s stunner at El Monumental on Thursday was his 99th on the international stage.
Lionel Messi is not the first player to score 800 goals
Only Messi’s old adversary Cristiano Ronaldo (120) and Iran legend Ali Daei (109) have scored more goals in international men’s football than Messi, who appears poised to continue playing for Argentina for the foreseeable future.
As a result, his 100th goal for the Albiceleste appears to be just around the corner.
But, as with the international milestone, Messi is not the first player to achieve 800 in his career.
When you go deep into the past, data can become murkier, with historical inconsistencies making it difficult to categorize “official goals” or “official competitions.”
Some consider Brazilian legends Romario and Pele to have scored over 1,000 goals during their careers, but many of those were made in friendlies or “unofficial” games.
Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player in history to score 800 recognized goals in December 2021, according to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS).
With that in mind, Messi became the second player to achieve the milestone on Thursday, and he is still going strong.
He has 18 goals for the season (all competitions) with PSG, but he also struck seven goals in as many games as Argentina won the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.
Of course, the overwhelming majority of his 800 goals have come in Barcelona’s colours.
Messi scored 672 goals in 17 years with Barcelona’s first squad. That is 440 more than any other athlete in club history, and he also has the most appearances. (778).
And, with his future at PSG uncertain, he could still break those marks at Camp Nou.