How many goals has Messi scored? It’s hard to answer, because right this very instant, he dropped Jérôme Boateng and chipped Manuel Neuer. In the time it took you to read that sentence, he just scored a hat-trick against Levante. Lionel Messi has scored 664 goals in his career for club and country, so yes, I’m slightly exaggerating, but only slightly.
Messi made his debut for Barcelona C in the Tercera División on Nov. 29, 2003. That was 5,499 days ago. Even factoring in the beginning of his career (when he wasn’t scoring 40+ a season), the summer breaks and the fact that some weeks contain only one game, Messi is sauntering around the pitch, blowing kisses to Antonella Roccuzzo and scoring a goal, on average, every eight days over the past 15 years.
His brilliance in that regard, if it needed any more confirmation, was again highlighted last night with the awarding of his fifth Golden Shoe (the accolade presented to the leading goalscorer in European league matches for the season). He now stands alone with five of them — Cristiano Ronaldo has four (his last came from the 2014-15 season, at the age of 30).
“When I started playing I did not expect all this; my dream was, obviously, to be a professional, but I didn’t imagine so much,” Messi said at the award gala. “This is thanks to hard work and effort and, above all, my teammates. I have the best players in the world in their positions playing beside me and that makes everything easier and lets me win these prizes.”
Messi and Ronaldo are the only footballers to claim the prize more than twice (the list of those who’ve won it multiple times includes Eusébio, Gerd Müller, Thierry Henry and Luis Suárez).
Lionel Messi’s Golden Shoe Awards
2009-10: 35 LaLiga games, 34 goals
2011-12: 37 LaLiga games, 50 goals
2012-13: 32 LaLiga games, 46 goals
2016-17: 34 LaLiga games, 37 goals
2017-18: 36 LaLiga games, 34 goals
What’s more, Messi is currently on pace to capture the 2018-19 Golden Shoe: he’s scored 14 goals in 14 appearances so far. That would give Messi another distinction that Ronaldo doesn’t have — the Portuguese has been unable to claim the award beyond his 30th birthday. Over in Italy, Ronaldo has scored 11 goals in 16 Serie A games, so he’s certainly giving the Argentine chase.