Lionel Messi has joined another esteemed group: the 700-goal club.
Barcelona's dynamic Argentine maestro scored the 700th goal of his career for club and country in Tuesday's 2-2 draw vs. Atletico Madrid. Messi's 630th goal for Barcelona's first team came in his 724th appearance for the club, for a strike rate of .87 goals per game over the course of 16 years.
All of Messi's Barcelona goals pair with his national-record 70 for Argentina to put him in illustrious company. Josef Bican (805 goals), Romario (772), Pelé (767), Ferenc Puskas (746), Gerd Muller (735) and Cristiano Ronaldo (728) are the only other players in history to cross the 700 threshold based on official stats (unofficial tallies have Bican and Pelé well over 1,000). Ronaldo accomplished the achievement last October in a Euro 2020 qualifier on a penalty kick vs. Ukraine, the 973rd game in his career. It took Messi 862 games–111 fewer than his chief rival–to join the club–and he did it on a penalty kick as well, delivering a Panenka to beat Jan Oblak after a questionable PK earned by Nelson Semedo.
The numbers behind Messi's ascent to 700 are astounding, as one might expect. He scored over 40 goals in a calendar year in each of the last 11 years, hitting 50 or more in nine of them. In 2012, he struck for 91 goals (79 for Barcelona, 12 for Argentina) in a record-setting year for the ages. He's also amassed 294 assists for club and country in his career, meaning that he's closing in on a combined total of 1,000 goals and assists, too.
Messi has hit another century milestone every two years since scoring his 300th goal vs. Rayo Vallecano in 2012. No. 400 came in 2014 against Granada, No. 500 in 2016 against Valencia and No. 600 in 2018 vs. Atletico Madrid.
If Messi is still performing at this rate by 2022, when he'll be turning 35, then Bican's official record could be in peril of falling–with Ronaldo, 35, still active and chasing it as well.