Lionel Messi is Mr. Champions League
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While Lionel Messi's play between the lines may make it obvious to anyone paying attention that he is far and away the best player in the world — maybe ever — his records are the written proof, cementing his legacy season after season after season.
This year was no exception as his 56 total goals were arguably the biggest key to FC Barcelona's outlandishly extraordinary second Treble. While Messi's league numbers continue to defy reason — he broke Telmo Zarra's all-time La Liga scoring record this season — his Champions League performance was equally as gaudy.
In this year's edition of Europe's top club competition, Messi's 10 goals were enough to put him at the top of the UEFA Champions League's all-time scoring list, with 77 in 99 career games. Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo is also at 77 for his career, but 16 more career UCL games than Messi.
The Argentinian left the previous record-holder — Raul Gonzalez — in the dust, surpassing the former Real Madrid star's 71 career UCL goals with three goals against Cypriot squad APOEL Nicosia in last fall's group stage. It was Messi's fifth career Champions League hat trick, another record.
No new trend
As if Messi's career records aren't enough — not just the 77 career UCL goals, but also his all-time FC Barcelona mark — he's also the only player to win the single-season UCL scoring title four straight times, which he did from 2008/09 to 2011/12, and the first to do so on five occasions, having reached 10 goals in the season 2014/15, level with Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo.
In 2011/12 precisely, Messi bagged two more records as well — he claimed the all-time single-season UCL record with 14 goals, while also setting the single-season goal scoring record in a domestic European league in the Golden Shoe era with 50.
Apart from winning the La Liga scoring title in 2009/10, 2011/12 and 2012/13, Lionel Messi has won an unprecedented four Ballons d’Or — consecutively, nonetheless, in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 — and three Golden Shoes, in the 2009/10, 2011/12 and 2012/13 seasons.
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