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On Sunday at Anoeta, Leo Messi became the player with the most appearances ever for FC Barcelona, surpassing his former team-mate Xavi Hernández. His 768 games are more than anyone else in 122 years of club history, and here’s a look back at the people who held the record before him.
César Rodríguez – 355 appearances
César Rodríguez from León starred in 13 seasons for the club from 1942 to 1955, his final game coming in the cup against Deportivo. He was also Barça’s highest ever goalscorer until Leo Messi broke that record in 2012. His later clubs included Cultural Leonesa and Elche and he passed away in 1995.
Antoni Ramallets – 387 appearances
Goalkeeper Antoni Ramallets set a new record in November 1960. The Catalan, who passed away in 2013, defended the Barça net for 15 seasons from 1947 to 1962.
Joan Segarra – 404 appearances
Three years later, in June 1963, a new record was set by one-club man and Catalan native Joan Segarra in a cup semi-final replay against Valencia, played in Madrid. The defender was at Barça for 15 seasons from 1949 to 1964 and passed away in 2008.
Carles Rexach – 449 appearances
It would be 16 years before a new record was set, on 23 September 1979 in a league game played away to Real Madrid. Carles Rexach, who forged such a wonderful partnership with Johan Cruyff both as a player and later as coaches, spent 15 years in the first team squad from 1965 to 1981.
Migueli – 549 appearances
Rexach’s former team-mate surpassed his tally in February 1986 in a league game played away to his former club Cadiz. Known as ‘Tarzán’, the player both in Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta added over 100 games to the previous tally between 1973 and 1988, and it would take some time before anyone came along who could top that number.
Xavi Hernández – 767 appearances
But the midfield maestro equalled the record in a game against Levante at Camp Nou, where Migueli himself attended a special tribute. But there was plenty of football left at Xavi’s feet after that and when he left for Qatar he had set a remarkable record of 767 appearances, a tally that is now only the second best of all time after Leo Messi set a new club record this week.
Leo Messi – 768 appearances (and counting)
One wondered if we would ever see someone play so many games for Barça as Xavi did, but Leo Messi has already broken so many records in football that it was only a matter of time before he set this one too.
He matched it against Huesca last week and now, against Real Sociedad he has set a brand new record of 768. And who knows how many more games he will go on to play in the famous jersey? Plenty more, we hope!
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