MADRID - Lionel Messi has dismissed talk
of chasing records after the Argentine struck twice in
Wednesday's 5-0 Champions League win at BATE Borisov to equal
Ladislau Kubala as Barcelona's second highest scorer of all time
on 194 goals.
As the Spanish and European champions prepare to take on
struggling Sporting Gijon in La Liga on Sunday, Messi
said he was not focused on eclipsing top scorer Cesar Rodriguez,
who scored 235 for the Catalan club, but merely wanted to
perform for the team.
"Cesar is not my goal," the 24-year-old World Player of the
Year, who has netted his goals in only 280 appearances, was
quoted as saying on Barca's website.
"It is to do things well in each match," the Argentine
added. "I know that I am making history and hopefully I can do
Messi already has eight goals in five La Liga games this
season, including two hat-tricks, as Barca bid for a club
record-equalling fourth consecutive domestic title.
After a couple of away draws they are second on 11 points,
one behind surprise leaders Real Betis, who host Levante, also
on 11, earlier on Sunday.
Messi made his debut for Barca's first team in October 2004
and became the club's youngest league scorer when he netted
against Albacete in May 2005 at the age of 17 years, 10 months
and seven days.
A string of breathtaking performances has landed him the
world's best player award the past two seasons and he has
top-scored in the Champions League, Europe's elite club
competition, the past three campaigns, when Barca twice won the
title and reached the semi-finals.
"What Messi is doing is extraordinary, accumulating these
numbers and playing for the team," Spain midfielder Xavi, one of
Barca's club captains, said after the BATE game. "Having the
best footballer in the world is priceless."
Striker David Villa, Xavi's Spain and Barca team-mate,
added: "Messi is incredible. He will keep exceeding himself. We
are just happy to help him out in all this."
Barca could be without Carles Puyol for Sunday's game in
Gijon after the shaggy-haired centre-back, who has only just
returned from knee surgery, picked up a knock in Minsk.
Puyol's defensive partner Gerard Pique, however, could make
his first start since recovering from a calf strain.
Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid, who are fifth on 10 points,
warmed up for Sunday's match at Barca's city neighbours Espanyol with a 3-0 win at home to Ajax in Champions League Group
D on Tuesday.
Sevilla, level with Levante on 11 points, play at Atletico
Madrid on Sunday, while Valencia, on 10, host promoted
Granada on Saturday following Wednesday's 1-1 Champions
League draw at home to Chelsea.
Stoke City and manager Tony Pulis part company by mutual agreement after seven years
Andy Carroll pulls out of England's friendly internationals against Ireland and Brazil
Manchester City and the New York Yankees have formed a new Major League Soccer team
Real Madrid president under scrutiny after latest coaching project ends in disarray
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010