Barcelona´s captain, Lionel Messi, scored once and set up two goals, as they defeated Borussia Dortmund 3-1, to qualify for the Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday.
In doing so, Messi surpassed Cristiano Ronaldo’s record, by scoring versus his 34th opponent in the competition.
Messi previously shared the record with Raul and Ronaldo, who have each netted versus 33 different opponents in the Champions League.
The Argentine superstar failed to hit the net in Barca’s first game versus Dortmund in September, having come off the bench as a second-half substitute in a match that ended 0-0.
But he made up for that at the Camp Nou in his 700th appearance for the club. The game versus Borussia Dortmund was also Lionel Messi 700th game for the Catalan giants as he has never played for any other club before.
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Meanwhile, Lionel Messi has been tipped to win the 2019 Ballon d’Or award for the sixth time in his career after his incredible performances this year.
Portugal international Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk are the other two competitors for the 2019 Ballon d’Or award.
The forward made his debut for the Blaugrana all the way back in November 2003 and has barely stopped mesmerising since.
What better way to mark the milestone than by breaking even more records.
The only real dampener versus Dortmund was his yellow card for diving, an incident for which he could justifiably feel hard-done-by – and Messi might also be irked that he only hit the crossbar with one of his expert free-kicks.
Ahead of his landmark game, there had been talk of Barca dropping into the Europa League.
That may sound laughable – indeed it hasn’t happened since 2004, a year before Messi was in the first team – but it could have transpired had Inter won and the Spanish champions had lost.
“There’s only a couple of teams that get a free pass to the Olympics and most of them have to really earn their way through it and we’re going to have to earn our way too. It’s a hell of a goal, and certainly a worthy thing to accomplish and we’re going to have to earn it through some really good teams.”
The draws for both the men’s and women’s Olympic qualifying tournaments were held Wednesday at FIBA headquarters in Switzerland.
There’s no guarantee Antetokounmpo will play for Greece — his Milwaukee Bucks could play deep in the post-season, and the qualifying tournament opens just two days after a potential Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The draw comes amid a heady 24 hours for Canada’s men’s program. A favourite target of criticism for its absent NBA talent, several key players have committed to playing this summer.
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With him on the pitch, there was never any doubt. As he reaches 700 games, savour every single one he has left.