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These days, a month rarely goes by without Lionel Messi breaking a new record. Where he is concerned, the term ‘rewriting the history books’ is not just a cliché. It’s literally true, and the world’s media will vouch for that. After he broke the Champions League record by taking his talky up to 74 goals, we are running out of superlatives to describe somebody who is nothing less than a living legend.
No sooner had the final whistle blown in Nicosia than the Argentinian’s name was all over the international press. In one game, he had moved three goals ahead of Raul’s previous record of 71, and that was enough to make headlines all around the planet.
"It capped an extraordinary four days for Messi, who on Saturday became the top goal-scorer in La Liga's Primera Division after his hat-trick against Sevilla took him to 253 goals", writes British paper The Telegraph. "Another day, another record broken ... it was another opportunity to unleash a barrage of superlatives towards a football phenomenon” gushed CCN, while The Daily Mail points out that “Messi has been the Catalans' star man for much of the last decade, and at 27, still has many years of Champions League football in him.”
Little short of a miracle
The Washington Post uses images of tweets from our own official Twitter account to illustrate its piece, proclaiming that “Lionel Messi is knocking down all-time soccer scoring records like a heavyweight boxing champ.” ESPN didn’t hold back with its words either, commenting that “Whenever Cules begin to feel that there is there is very little more that Messi can do to surprise them, the diminutive Argentinean strikes again, breaks yet another record and rises the bar even further. Having a player of his calibre come through the ranks of La Masia, then excel at a professional level for over a decade, is little short of a miracle.”
The Guardian Data Blog takes a statistical take on the story and works out that “it has taken the Argentinian player 90 appearances to reach 71 goals ... That gives Messi a terrifying 0.79 goals per game, meaning he will probably score in roughly four out of every five Champions League matches – a rate that is considerably higher than both Ronaldo’s (nearly two out of three) and Raúl’s (one out of two).”
A taste of eternity
Moving away from the Anglosphere, in Italy Gazzeta dello Sport has no doubt that "Messi’s record equates to a legend.” In France L'Express waxes lyrical about "A November with a taste of eternity,” while L'Équipe produced a curiously similar comment about how "this month of November will always have a taste of eternity for the four-time winner of the Balon d’Or”. Meanwhile, Le Fígaro asks "Can one record demerit another? If your name is Lionel Messi, it can."
German daily Die Welt believes that the new record is "too spectacular", while Der Speigel reminds us that "no other professional footballer has had such repeated success” and Frankfurter Allgemeine adds that “Messi’s 74 goals add to the term superlative.”
In Messi’s native Argentina, there was naturally euphoria at this latest achievement by a national hero. Clarín’s headline is clearer than any other, proudly announcing that "Messi has become the single highest goalscorer in the history of the European competition.” Argentine sports daily Olé explains its use of the title “Señor Record” by saying that “if you needed to find a synonym for the word ‘record’, then there’s no doubt that Messi would be the right choice. Because there are no limits to this football extra-terrestrial.”
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