Messi still finding a way to improve

That is because he finds ways to lift the bar higher and higher still, even when there is no one near to him. Until recently, Cristiano Ronaldo had a vain claim to be the world’s best player. Now there is no doubting that Messi is numero uno. His 91 goals in 2012 were simply astonishing and his place in history assured by that fourth Ballon D’Or awarded back in January.

This year Messi is still performing remarkably, but somehow he has got even better. He already has 13 goals to his name this calendar year alone. He has now scored 301 goals in 365 games for Barcelona, a quite unbelievable record that underlines his sheer impudence and brilliance. The mesmeric Argentine is surely going to be the top scorer in Barcelona’s entire history including friendlies, overtaking Paulino Alcantara by the end of this year at the current rate. Alcantara has 369 goals. That almost 100 year old record is surely going to shatter soon. Xavi holds the record for the most official appearances for Barcelona, at 661, and it is hard to imagine Messi not breaking that at his current rate and given he is just 25.

Already the top scorer in La Liga for the club as well as in all competitions, a cursory glance through club records shows just how many Messi now holds. The most goals scored at home in a league season, the most away, the most in total etc. Messi is currently on a run of scoring in 14 successive La Liga games. How long will that go on for? With 37 La Liga goals already, Messi will probably hit 38 in his 25 th league game of the season. Until two years ago the all time record for La Liga was 38 goals in a season. That gives some indication of the measure of this record. It is truly incredible, almost unbelievable.

And Messi is scarcely believable, a quite remarkable talent. And yet so humble, one who does not care or get lost in the adulation and praise heaped upon him. That he is so genuinely unmoved by all the praise and plaudits just makes him all the more special, and the more praiseworthy, unlike the more vain Ronaldo.

Before the end of his career it is hard to imagine Messi not returning home to Argentina, where Barcelona brought him from, to play for his beloved Newell’s Old Boys. One day that seems an inevitability, such is the affection with which Messi holds them and the unlikeliness of seeing the Argentine play for any other side in Europe. But he has so much more to do in Europe before he returns home, and when he finally does, he will likely return back to South America as one of the greatest players of all time, if not the best.