The Argentine netted for the third time since La Liga returned to action in June to reach the milestone – and he did it with a panenka spot-kick
Lionel Messi received a late birthday gift on Tuesday as he netted against Atletico Madrid to mark the 700th goal of his professional career.
Messi, who turned 33 on June 24, converted after 50 minutes to put his team 2-1 ahead against Diego Simeone’s side.
He reached the milestone with consummate style as well, dinking a panenka penalty over Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak.The Slovenia international dived early and was powerless to prevent the strike from crossing the line.
The Argentine forward also demonstrated his showmanship in his celebration, clicking his fingers and winking for the cameras.
The penalty was awarded when full back Nelson Semedo latched on to a pas down the right inside channel; Atletico defender Felipe went to meet him but could only bring down the right back with an outstretched boot, and the referee pointed to the spot.
Messi appropriately reached the mark at Camp Nou, his home stadium for the entirity of his club playing career. The only downside was that he could not score in front of the Barcelona fans, with all La Liga matches being played behind closed doors due to the ongoing threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
He has now scored 630 for the Catalans, making him the club’s all-time top scorer by some distance, with another 70 strikes coming in international colours for Argentina.
In doing so he joins a select group of football legends who have earned a place in the 700 club.
Juventus and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo is the only current player other than Messi to have reached the landmark, boasting 725 strikes in 1002 professional appearances for Sporting, Manchester United, Real Madrid, the Bianconeri and his national team.