Leo Messi, contra el Llevant. FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

Leo Messi’s name tends to be on people’s lips before and after FC Barcelona play a match. Today is no exception. The Argentine genius has scored 201 goals with Josep Guardiola on the Barça bench. It took Messi only 4 seasons to accomplish this feat (210 official matches). Since Guardiola decided to position Messi closer to the opposition’s goal, the Argentine has turned into a veritable goal-scoring machine, averaging 0.96 goals per game. With Rijkaard, under whom Messi made his debut on October 16 2004 against Espanyol, the striker scored 42 goals in 110 official matches (0.38 goals per game).

Constant progress

The best player in the world has consistently improved year after year. In his first season with Guardiola, 2008/09, he scored 38 goals in 51 official matches. In 2009/10, he scored 47 in 53 matches. Last season he scored 53 goals in 55 official matches. This year he already has 63 goals in 51 matches, averaging 1.2 goals per game. So far this season, he’s scored 41 goals in the Liga, 14 in the Champions League, 2 in the Cup, 3 in the Spanish Super Cup, 1 in the European Super Cup and 2 in the Club World Cup.

With 63 goals already scored this season, Messi is a strong contender for a slew of new records: he is in the running to claim his second Pichichi title in the Liga, he could finish the season as the highest goal scorer in the Champions League for the fourth consecutive season, he is close to winning his second European Golden Shoe (formerly known as Golden Boot) award and he’s only 5 goals back from Gerd Müller’s historic record of 67 scored goals in one season.

His 201 goals

Season 2008/09
38 goals in 51 matches

Season 2009/10
47 goals in 53 matches

Season 2010/11
53 goals in 55 matches

Season 2011/12
63 goals in 51 matches