The Argentine used his head to equalise against Valencia on Saturday, drawing level with the Santos legend in the process
Lionel Messi has equalled Pele’s all-time record for goals scored with a single club by netting his 643rd career goal for Barcelona.
The Argentine has played his entire professional career at Camp Nou, having moved to Spain as a teenager from Newell’s Old Boys in order to continue with his vital growth hormone treatments.
And, since making his competitive debut in 2004 under Frank Rijkaard, he has matched or beaten countless all-time records in football – even some that, like Pele’s, were once thought to be unassailable.
Saturday’s goal against Valencia just before half-time was his 643rd strike for the Catalans, excluding friendly matches.
Unusually for a player not exactly known for his prowess in the air, Messi used his head to pull Barca back level at 1-1 at Camp Nou, a vital goal as Ronald Koeman’s men look to reignite their spluttering Liga campaign.
After the break Ronald Araujo was then on hand to fire the hosts into the lead.
Messi’s record with Barcelona also includes 10 Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and a total of 34 major trophies.
Pele, meanwhile, accrued his extraordinary total over 18 years in the Santos first team, a time in which the Brazilians were considered one of the greatest teams in South America and indeed the world.
In 656 official matches he netted 643 times, just shy of a goal every game, although his overall total was restricted by the Peixe’s policy of widespread travel and touring in the late 1960s and early 70s which meant Pele played fewer competitive matches.
When those friendlies, as well as his goals for the New York Cosmos and the Brazil national team, are taken into consideration, the retired forward is believed to have scored well over 1,000 goals over the course of his glittering career, which included three World Cup titles – more than any other player.
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