Chasing Pele: Lionel Messi has Brazilian legend's goalscoring mark in sight
Lionel Messi has won a host of football awards and captured a plethora of trophies during his stellar career, but the Barcelona superstar moved one step closer to overhauling another all-time great this past weekend.
Messi scored twice in Barcelona's 4-3 defeat against Real Betis and in the process surpassed German legend Gerd Muller to climb to second place in the all-time list of top goalscorers for a single club.
Messi's double took his career tally for Barca to 566 as he edged past "Der Bomber," who had found the net 565 times for Bayern Munich in his 15-year stint with the Bundesliga giants.
The only man left for Messi to catch in the all-time list is Brazilian legend Pele.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento played 18 seasons at Santos, netting a staggering 643 goals for the club, a mark that was considered by many to be unsurpassable in the modern era.
But Messi has averaged more than 50 goals a season for the last eight years and, with the Argentinian now standing just 77 goals shy of the Brazilian's mark, it would appear that only a major drop-off in his form in front of goal will prevent him from catching and passing Pele's record within the next few seasons.
The only other active player to feature in the all-time Top 10 list is Messi’s longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who departed Real Madrid for Juventus in the summer after scoring 450 goals for Los Blancos.
It leaves Messi as the only current player with any chance of overhauling Pele’s mark. For a player who continues to dazzle on the biggest stage at the age of 31, the record would only serve to further cement Messi's name in the pantheon of the world's all-time greats.
ALL-TIME TOP GOALSCORERS WITH ONE CLUB
1. Pele (Santos) - 643
2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) - 566
3. Gerd Muller (Bayern Munich) - 565
4. Eusebio (Benfica) - 473
5. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) - 450
6. Ian Rush (Liverpool) - 349
7. Telmo Zarra (Athletic Bilbao) - 335
8. Giuseppe Meazza (Internazionale) - 288
9. Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus) - 287
10. Piet van Reenen (Ajax) - 273