There are few goal-scoring records left for Leo Messi to break. Last season, he accumulated an amazing 73 goals in a Barça shirt and if that wasn’t enough to worry Sunday’s visitors then his eight goals in six matches against Valencia in the Camp Nou will certainly give Pellegrino’s side plenty to think about.
Leo Messi’s debut home game against Valencia in the 2005/06 season gave few indications of the goal feast to come and it was David Villa – then still a Valencia player – who opened the scoring. Iniesta equalised and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
However, it didn’t take long for Messi to open his account against Valencia. Just four minutes into the next meeting, he shook off the attentions of three defenders and forced a penalty which he himself converted. The game went on to end up 6-0.
More success with Guardiola
That was Frank Rijkaard’s last season in charge and Guardiola’s first season at the helm saw French striker Thierry Henry take the limelight scoring a hat trick in Barça’s 4-0 victory.
In the 2009/10 season, after receiving his first Golden Ball, Leo Messi emulated Henry’s achievement with another great hat trick in the Camp Nou. The first was a superb individual effort in which skipped past Banega, Bruno and Dealbert to score against defenceless Cesar. His second followed a pattern that has become familiar over the years – a diagonal run from the right wing – followed by a third with his right foot. Tito Vilanova took Guardiola’s place on the coach’s bench that day.
The following season, Valencia managed to neutralise Messi but in doing so left space for Iniesta and Puyol to score and hand Barça a 2-1 win.
Four last season
Last season, Leo Messi scored four times to take his personal tally of Camp Nou goals against Valencia to eight. The visitors took the lead through another Argentine, Piatti, but Messi hit back with two, with Pedro and Abidal providing the final pass. The third showed his sharpness in front of goal when he seized on a rebound from Diego Alves while goal number four featured a confident chip.