Son Heung-min delivered the goods for Tottenham in the absence of Harry Kane as he sealed a 1-0 win over Premier League champions Manchester City in Nuno Espirito Santo's first match at the helm.

Kane, who has been strongly linked with a move to City, was reportedly deemed not sharp enough after only recently returning to training, but Spurs adapted well to the situation after a shaky start against a visiting side who handed a debut to British record signing Jack Grealish.

Spurs' reliance on counter-attacking football may have initially frustrated sections of the crowd at Tottenham Hotspur stadium, but it looked like the most realistic way of hurting City in the first half.

And that tactic bore fruit in the 55th minute, with Son rounding off a flowing move with a fine finish that even Kane would have been proud of, denying City the chance to set a new record of 11 successive opening-day wins in the Premier League.

Spurs looked to be in for a long day after a difficult opening that Pep Guardiola's men dominated, with Joao Cancelo and Riyad Mahrez both having presentable chances fall to them, but they weathered the early storm.

The hosts were set up to threaten on the counter and several times they looked bright bursting forward, though uncharacteristically meek play from Son twice saw encouraging moves peter out.

The South Korean looked a little more like his usual self just before the interval, though, seeing a curling effort deflected agonisingly wide by Cancelo after a rapid break.

Spurs began the second period much sharper than the first. Within five minutes of the restart, Ruben Dias had to be alert to prevent Son from having a tap-in and then Lucas Moura shot wide from 20 yards.

Son soon found his range, however, tucking a lovely effort inside the left-hand post from just outside the box after Nathan Ake failed to engage him at the end of a blistering break, setting up a fourth straight win for Spurs over City on home soil.

Spurs were pressed into defensive action in the latter stages, with Hugo Lloris becoming increasingly busy, but they held on to secure only their fifth win in 13 league games without Kane since the start of 2019-20.

What does it mean? Wasteful City need options in attack

While the £100million signing of Grealish will surely be worthy, it looks as though City are going to need more if they are to take themselves to the next level, with their inability to find the net despite their expected goals being almost double that of Spurs (1.0 v 1.8).

While Ferran Torres has occasionally done a job leading the line for City, he is not a central striker and Gabriel Jesus does not seem to have convinced Guardiola in that position either, otherwise he would surely have started.

Kane is the obvious option – perhaps after seeing this match play out, Guardiola will have renewed desire to get him in as soon as possible.

Son shines without Kane

In the past few years, a lot of the praise that has come Son's way has often related to his relationship with Kane, rather than the merits of his own quality. Although he seemed strangely subdued early on, he soon got himself on the front foot and proved a real nuisance to City, his five shots more than anyone else on the pitch, and one of those was the excellent goal.

Mendy makes a meal of defensive work

While there were a few situations early on where Benjamin Mendy's ability in attack looked useful, defensively he appeared a weak link throughout. He gifted possession back to Spurs in dangerous positions a couple of times, and was nowhere to be seen for Son's goal on the break.

What's next?

Spurs go to Pacos Ferreira for the first leg of their Conference League qualifier on Thursday before Nuno reunites with Wolves at Molineux next Sunday. City host promoted Norwich City in six days' time.

Fabio Jakobsen timed his sprint finish to perfection to win stage two of the Vuelta a Espana.

Alpecin-Fenix rider Jakobsen edged out Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick Step) in Burgos on Sunday at the end of a 166.7-kilometre flat stage that started in Caleruega.

Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) took third place as 23-year-old Belgian Jakobsen claimed his second Vuelta stage win after being led out brilliantly by his team-mates.

Primoz Roglic retained the red jersey with a lead of four seconds over Alex Aranburu following the defending champion's time-trial triumph on the opening stage.

Sprinter Jordi Meeus was among the Bora-Hansgrohe riders who were involved in a crash four kilometres from the end of the second day.

Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH), Sergio Martin (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Xabier Mikel Azparren (Euskaltel-Euskadi) made an early break on a hot, draining day for the riders.

Rubio looked the strongest of that breakaway trio and he tried to go solo, but was caught with a little over 20 kilometres to go to set up the sprint finish that was anticipated.

Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates) hit the front with 200 metres remaining, with Matthews on his wheel, but it was Jakobsen who nipped in front to take the victory.

He said: "It's incredible. Yesterday someone put it in our team group chat [that they could win the first sprint of all three Grand Tours] and for sure it was a dream but I didn't want to think about it because the chance is always less high than it would be true.

"It just shows how everyone from team is really motivated. It was a team effort and we can be really proud. It was amazing to see all my team-mates there and everyone on the front line. I had a lot of support and this is how we can win sprints.

"Each of us can be very happy tonight and we start this Grand Tour in a good way."

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) 03:58:57
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep)
3. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange)
4. Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates)
5. Alex Aranburu (Astana-Premier Tech)

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 0:08:32
2. Alex Aranburu (Astana-Premier Tech) +0:04
3. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) +0:10

Points Classification

1. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) 50
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 50
3. Alex Aranburu (Astana-Premier Tech 50

King of the Mountains

1. Sepp Cuss (Jumbo-Visma) 3
2. Sep Vanmarcke (Israel Start-Up Nation) 2
3. Rui Oliveira (UAE Team Emirates) 1

What's next?

A first high-altitude finale in Picon Blanco awaits the riders, who will start a demanding 202.8km third stage in Santo Domingo de Silos.

Calum Hill ended his wait for a European Tour victory with a superb final round at the English Open.

The Scot, ranked 150 in the world, came into the event with five top-10 finishes to his name in 2021.

A first win on Tour had proved elusive, but he ended his pursuit with a five-under 67 at London Golf Club, which took him to 16 under and a one-stroke win.

Rasmus Hojgaard entered the final round with a three-shot lead having carded a course-record 62 on Saturday.

But the Dane could only manage a level-par 72 on the final 18 holes, seeing him finish in a four-way tie for third on 14 under.

Alexander Levy finished second, the Frenchman's closing 64 not enough to force Hill into a playoff.

Harry Kane has not been named in the Tottenham squad to face Manchester City in their Premier League opener.

England captain Kane has been extensively linked with a mega-money switch to Premier League champions City during the close season, a saga that has hung over Sunday's encounter at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

New Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo refused to rule Kane out of the contest despite him only returning to first-team training on Friday, even though the 28-year-old's match fitness was an obvious concern.

After helping England to the final of Euro 2020, Kane was reported to have failed to show up for Tottenham training when scheduled, in what was viewed as an attempt to force through a move to City.

However, he denied refusing to train and said he returned to the club "as planned" last Saturday, before completing a five-day quarantine at The Lodge – the accommodation adjacent to Tottenham's Enfield training base.

In Kane's absence, Steve Bergwijn, Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min will form a three-man forward line, supported by Dele Alli. New signings Bryan Gil, Cristian Romero and Pierluigi Gollini are all on the bench, with Oliver Skipp starting alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in midfield following an impressive season on loan at Norwich City.

City's British record signing Jack Grealish starts in north London alongside Raheem Sterling, although their England team-mates Kyle Walker and John Stones are on the bench alongside Kevin De Bruyne.

Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus, each of whom have been linked with moves away from the Etihad Stadium to help fund any move for Kane, are also among Pep Guardiola's substitutes as the ex-Barcelona boss begins his bid for a fourth Premier League title in the past five seasons.

Trevor Lawrence felt "comfortable and poised" in his NFL debut while Trey Lance enjoyed a dream moment on his San Francisco 49ers bow.

Lawrence, Lance and fellow first-round rookie quarterbacks Zach Wilson and Justin Fields all took the field for the first time on Saturday.

Long seen as a generational quarterback prospect, the pressure is on Lawrence to inspire a turnaround for a Jacksonville Jaguars team that went 1-15 in 2020.

The early signs were positive for Lawrence, who completed six of his nine passes for 71 yards in the Jaguars' preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns, the former Clemson star bouncing back after he fumbled after being sacked on his first play.

"I feel like the first time out there, I felt comfortable, felt poised," Lawrence said. "Obviously, the first play's not kind of what you want for the first play, but after that, I thought we did a good job.

"We communicated well up front. They did a really good job of protection. At least one of those sacks was on me, for sure, just holding the ball too long. That's something I'll work on.

"Just manoeuvring in the pocket is something I've always got to work on. Other than that, I missed an easy one to Marvin [Jones], a little quick out I wish I would have hit.

"But other than that, I felt good out there. I think we were seeing it, all on the same page. There's obviously things to clean up, but I thought it was a pretty good day."

Lance didn't complete as many passes, going five of 14, but he had the most spectacular play of the four rookie quarterbacks, hitting Niners wide receiver Trent Sherfield for an 80-yard touchdown throw in their meeting with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The third overall pick, whom San Francisco selected after trading three first-round picks to move up in the draft, said: "It was super exciting. Kind of the moment you dream of scoring your first touchdown.

"Even though it's preseason, it's pretty cool. With my team-mates, the guys in that locker room, that they were so excited for me and for Trent making that play. It was for sure a special moment and I wish I could've capitalised on the opportunities that came after that."

Former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is now head coach of the New York Jets and witnessed an encouraging performance from Wilson.

Wilson went six of nine for 63 yards as the Jets beat the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.

"I thought it was good," said Wilson of his showing. "Of course, still things to clean up. It was a great experience. I really enjoyed having that game-like setting.

"The introduction to kind of like the NFL, the whole game, it's great for everybody, no matter how much football you've played, it was awesome to get out there."

Fields fell to the 11th pick in the draft, with the Chicago Bears trading up to select him, and they will be more confident in that decision after he threw for one touchdown and ran for another against the Miami Dolphins.

An uneven opening gave way to a performance that will increase calls for him to start over veteran Andy Dalton and afterwards Fields said of the speed of the game: "It was actually kind of slow to me, to be honest.

"I think I was expecting it to be a little bit faster but practicing game speed, going at it with my team-mates every day, of course, you know, we have a great defense so, me going against them every day, it definitely slowed the game up a little bit for me. So, I felt comfortable out there.

"Of course, I have room to grow, so I'm just gonna try to get better each and every day."

Jodi Munn-Barrow on Thursday was elected the first-ever female president of the 96-year-old Jamaica Golf Association and promised to expand the reach of the sport. Munn-Barrow replaces Peter Chin, who did not seek re-election after serving as president for the last decade.

Her executive includes Vice President Dr. Mark Newnham, Honorary Secretary Fred Sutherland, Assistant Secretary Bruce Lopez and Treasurer William Brown. Alison Reid is the junior golf chairperson while Dave Lyn, Michael Bradford, William Knibbs, Rowena Coe and Vikram Dhiman are committee members.

Munn-Barrow said she never dreamed of becoming president of the JGA which was formed in 1925.

"When I started my golfing career some 30-odd years ago, I never envisioned that I would ever take over the helm of this august body,” she said.

“I remember all of those who have done this before me and I have always looked up to them throughout my career.  I hope that I can make them proud as well as the members of the association and I look forward to working with all of the members in ensuring that the game of golf grows and continues to be very successful."

She said she wants to raise the profile of the sport so as to be able to attract international partnerships.

"I will endeavour to increase the optics of golf in Jamaica.  Some of the areas I would like to focus on include marketing Jamaica as a golfing destination through dialogue with the ministries of Sports and Tourism, reaching out again and having dialogue with the member clubs, trying to bring an AJGA (America Junior Golf Association) event to Jamaica thus lifting the image of our junior golf programme and also increasing the membership of the association by speaking with the presidents of other sporting bodies to try to get their members interested in golf as a second sport," she said.

 

 

Brad Binder claimed a remarkable victory in a chaotic Austrian Grand Prix, nursing his bike to the finish on slick tyres in pouring rain as changeable conditions wreaked havoc at the Red Bull Ring.

Jorge Martin had won from pole at the same circuit last time out to claim victory in the Styrian Grand Prix and he started from the front of the grid again, the rookie playing his part in an incredible race that saw Binder prevail as his gamble to stay on dry tyres paid off.

It looked as if Francesco Bagnaia was set for an enthralling duel with Marc Marquez for the win in the closing laps, but the rain that had threatened throughout the race finally arrived and instantly shuffled the pack.

A downpour prompted the top six to dive into the pits for a bike swap with four laps remaining yet, while they all switched to a wet set-up, Binder took the risk of staying out.

The Red Bull KTM rider succeeded in keeping his bike upright to triumph for his team at their home circuit, his first win since the Czech Republic last year.

Behind him, Bagnaia eventually surged through the field to take second, running out of time to pass Binder, while Martin also profited from his decision to swap bikes by claiming third and his second successive podium.

Marquez, by contrast, crashed after his trip to the pits to end his hopes of victory, while championship leader Fabio Quartararo finished down in seventh for Yamaha.

Quartararo's lead at the top of the championship, which was 40 points at the start of the race, is now up to 47, with Johann Zarco losing ground as the Ducati rider crashed out at turn 9 before the late drama.

With seven races remaining, Quartararo is the favourite to dethrone Joan Mir, but Sunday's race belonged to Binder after his brave and ultimately brilliant gamble.

Romelu Lukaku has penned an emotional farewell letter to Inter supporters following his return to Chelsea.

Lukaku re-signed for Chelsea – the club he left in 2014 – on Thursday, joining the European Champions on a five-year deal for a reported fee of £97.5million (€115m).

The 28-year-old scored 24 goals in 2020-21 as he spearheaded Antonio Conte's attack, leading Inter to their first Serie A title in 11 years.

Lukaku spent two seasons in Serie A and swiftly became a fan favourite in San Siro, netting 64 goals across all competitions. 

On Sunday, Lukaku said goodbye to Inter, posting a statement to his official Twitter account.

"Thank you for loving me as one of your own. Thank you for making me and my family feel at home in Milano," Lukaku wrote.

"Thank you for the unconditional support and love on a daily basis. Thank you for motivating me even more after the first season.

"When I came to Inter, I immediately felt that I would do well for this club. The love and reception I first received at Malpensa airport was the start of a beautiful story.

"I made it my mission to never let you down every time I wore the Inter shirt. I gave 100 per cent in every training session and every game so that I could make you proud.

"Our first season ended in the toughest possible way, but you guys gave me the strength to continue to keep pushing and we did as a team. That's why we became champions together."

He also revealed his reasons for leaving, stating he felt a move back to Chelsea was an opportunity that he could not refuse.

"I hope you guys understand my decision to move on to Chelsea. It's the chance of a lifetime for me and I think at this time of my career it is a chance that I always dreamed of," the statement continued.

"One thing is for sure and that is I will always remain an Interista, because without you I wouldn’t be the player or man I am today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

Lukaku represents the second big sale of the transfer window by Inter, who also saw Achraf Hakimi depart for Paris Saint-Germain.

The Italian champions needed to ease financial difficulties that were compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, with player sales required. Lautaro Martinez is also a reported target for Tottenham, though a move for the Argentina international may depend on the future of Harry Kane.

Inter moved to replace Lukaku by signing Edin Dzeko from Roma, while right-back Denzel Dumfries – who impressed for the Netherlands at Euro 2020 – has also joined the Nerazzurri. 

Meanwhile, with Lukaku on board, Chelsea have reportedly agreed to sell Tammy Abraham to Roma, with the England international travelling to Italy on Sunday to complete the transfer said to be worth up to €45m (£38.3m).

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers did not mount much of a title defence last season, but he is already working with one of their high-profile reinforcements as they prepare to try to regain the crown in 2021-22.

James and the Lakers were eliminated in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs by the Phoenix Suns having defeated the Golden State Warriors in the play-in tournament.

They rarely looked a threat to defend the Larry O'Brien Trophy, with an injury-hindered season for James not aiding their cause, but the Lakers responded to last season's disappointment by making a number of major additions.

Westbrook's acquisition via a five-team trade was the one that grabbed the headlines, the former MVP arriving after a hugely productive season with the Washington Wizards.

He finished tied with MVP Nikola Jokic for the league lead with 45.5 combined points, assists and rebounds per game.

Westbrook and James are already focused on developing their connection, with LeBron sharing photos of the two working out together on Instagram.

James is entering his 19th season in the NBA and, in addition to a fifth title, will have his sights set on surpassing 36,000 career points and moving closer to Karl Malone, who occupies second on the all-time list.

LeBron has 35,367 to his name, 1,561 shy of two-time MVP Malone on 36,928. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leads the standings with 38,387.

Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard is confident he can push on this season after an injury-hit first two years in LaLiga.

Hazard signed for Madrid from Chelsea for a reported fee of an initial €100million (£89m), though there was potential for the deal to rise significantly due to additional bonus payments.

However, the Belgium attacker has hardly made an impact in the Spanish capital and is reportedly one of the players Madrid are open to selling as they look to ease their financial difficulties in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Niggling injuries have derailed Hazard's Madrid career, restricting him to just 43 appearances in total across all competitions over the 2019-20 and 2020-21 campaigns, with 31 of these being starts.

Yet the 30-year-old, who featured for Belgium at Euro 2020 after overcoming an ankle problem, looked sharp as Madrid thrashed Deportivo Alaves in Carlo Ancelotti's first game back in LaLiga on Saturday, his deft flick teeing up Karim Benzema for Los Blancos' opener in the 4-1 win.

That assist was one of a game-leading three chances created by Hazard, who lasted 66 minutes before being replaced by Vinicius Junior.

"I have nothing but good feelings for me and for the team," Hazard told Movistar+. 

"The feelings are good, I'm feeling good, we want to win LaLiga this season.

"My ankle injury is a thing of the past, it's already out of my head. I am going to give everything this season."

Hazard started in a front three alongside Gareth Bale and Benzema, who the Belgian found six times in total on Saturday, with only Luka Modric (13), David Alaba and Federico Valverde (both eight) picking out the France striker on more occasions.

"I enjoy playing with Benzema, we know each other very well and it's easy to play with him," Hazard added.

A trip to Levante is next up for Madrid in a week's time.

Philippe Coutinho, Miralem Pjanic and Samuel Umtiti have all been left out of Barcelona's squad for the LaLiga opener against Real Sociedad.

New recruits Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia are set to make their debuts for the club on Sunday, Barca finally able to register the duo - as well as Rey Manaj - after Gerard Pique accepted a reduced salary.

All three are in a 23-man squad named by Ronald Koeman ahead of Sunday's fixture at Camp Nou, as well as another offseason signing in Emerson Royal.

However, a trio of players reportedly available for transfer will not be involved.

Brazilian Coutinho – who made just 12 league appearances before missing the season half of the 2020-21 season through injury – is a notable absentee from the list.

There is no Pjanic either, the midfielder seemingly surplus to requirements after just one season with Barcelona. He has been linked with a return to Juventus.

Defender Umtiti, meanwhile, misses out with fellow centre-back Clement Lenglet fit to feature. Frenkie de Jong has also been cleared to play, but Sergio Aguero is among those ruled out out through injury.

Koeman will also have to do without Ansu Fati, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Ousmane Dembele for Barca's first competitive game since the departure of Lionel Messi, now at Paris Saint-Germain after financial restrictions prevented him from signing a new deal.

Last year, Tyler Gilbert was working as an electrician with his father. On Saturday, he lit up Chase Field with a historic no-hitter for the Arizona Diamondbacks in their win over the San Diego Padres.

Gilbert became only the fourth pitcher in MLB history to throw a no-hitter in his first major league start, inspiring the lowly Diamondbacks to a 7-0 victory.

He gave up only three walks and delivered five strikeouts across 102 pitches as he followed in the footsteps of Ted Breitenstein (1891), Bumpus Jones (1892) and Bobo Holloman (1953).

It was a far cry from days spent working with his dad in Northern California, with Gilbert forced to find another job to make ends meet after the 2020 minor league season was cancelled.

He should be employed in MLB for some time after etching his name into the history books with a calm that belied the magnitude of the moment.

"It was just one of those days," Gilbert said. "I know balls were getting hit around, but they were getting hit to guys.

"And then I was making good pitches. It was just kind of a rush the whole time, to be honest.

"It was weird. I wasn't nervous at all, and I felt like I should have been. I don't know why, but I kept just going out there and doing my thing.

"I was really nervous before the game leading up to the game, but after the three-pitch eighth inning, I was like, 'Okay, this is going to happen.' But, no, I just kind of stayed level-headed and then kept making pitches."

"I did think it was going to go down [for a hit], but it kind of carried a little bit," Gilbert added of the final out, Tommy Pham's cut fastball to Ketel Marte.

"I saw it hanging in the air, and I'm like, 'Okay, this is it.' That's happening. So that's cool.

"It's crazy. I'm happy to be here. I'd rather be doing this than pulling wires. No offence, Dad."

Lionel Messi is a Paris Saint-Germain player. Even though we've had a few days to let that sink in, it still seems such a perplexing scenario.

Messi has signed a two-year deal at the Parc des Princes and will form probably the most-feared front three in world football alongside Kylian Mbappe and his old friend Neymar.

Barcelona's dire financial situation meant they could not bring their greatest ever player back under LaLiga's salary restrictions, meaning they begin their 2021-22 campaign on Sunday against Real Sociedad with a gaping void in their team.

This will be the first season since 2003-04 that Barca haven't been able to call upon the Argentina superstar, and his absence is sure to leave a lingering sense of astonishment that won't clear for a while, particularly if the Blaugrana endure a difficult start to the campaign.

Of course, Barca's hands were ultimately tied in this shocking saga, their financial state so rocky that signing Messi up to a new contract after his previous deal expired was literally impossible. Although the two parties had an agreement, the numbers simply wouldn't work.

The world will now watch on with fascination as Messi represents a new club for the first time in his career, while back in Catalonia, Barca must carry on like nothing's happened.

That'll be difficult to do. Using Opta data, Stats Perform looks at some of the incredible feats that make Messi irreplaceable.

 

Messi played 778 games for Barcelona in all competitions, scoring 672 goals and providing 265 assists across those games. That amounts to 937 goal involvements during his Barca career, which began as a 17-year-old.

Previously a one-club man, his first appearance for Barcelona came under Frank Rijkaard against Espanyol in October 2004, while his first goal arrived seven months later with a clever lob against Albacete at Camp Nou from a Ronaldinho assist.

Brazil great Ronaldinho was the last Barcelona player to wear the famed number 10 before Messi took that shirt in 2008 and made it his own.

But Ronaldinho does not feature among the top assisters for Messi goals, a list that is led by Luis Suarez (47)Dani Alves assisted 42 of the attacker's goals and third is Andres Iniesta with 37, six more than fellow legendary midfielder Xavi.

 

Messi played under eight different coaches during his time with Barcelona. Of those, he featured most often (219 appearances) and scored the most goals (211) during Pep Guardiola's tenure.

However, the 60 goals Messi scored in 50 games under the late Tito Vilanova – an average of 1.20 goals per match – was his best goals-per-game return with a single coach.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Messi's lowest average goals-per-game ratio was during the Rijkaard era at the start of his career (0.38), followed by the 0.63 managed under Quique Setien between January and August 2020.

 

Messi's most prolific season as a Barcelona player was in 2011-12 when scoring a remarkable 73 goals in all competitions and providing a further 28 assists, setting a personal record in both categories.

Indeed, the forward netted 79 goals for his club across the calendar year in 2012, which is a record amount by a single player. His next most prolific year was 2010 when registering 58 times.

In more recent years, Messi managed 51 goals in 2016, 50 goals in 2017, 47 goals in 2018, 45 goals in 2019 and 26 goals in 2020 – a steady decline that he has already rectified this year, having scored 28 times in the first half of 2021.

He is the only player to have scored 10 or more goals in 15 consecutive LaLiga seasons.

 

Messi's 672 goals for Barcelona were scored against 82 different teams. Sevilla were his favourite opponent, finding the net against them 38 times in 43 appearances.

Atletico Madrid were next on that particular list, with Messi bagging 32 goals in that fixture, followed by Valencia (31), Athletic Bilbao (29) and bitter rivals Real Madrid (26), making him the all-time leading scorer in El Clasico.

In terms of individual goalkeepers, Diego Alves was Messi's most frequent victim, the former Almeria and Valencia man having conceded 21 goals against the Argentina superstar.

Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas was joint-third with 17 goals against, one fewer than the 18 Messi put past Gorka Iraizoz.

 

Messi is of course synonymous with Camp Nou, a ground where he has scored 394 goals in 381 games at an average of 1.03 per match. Madrid fans will be particularly sick of him as he has scored 15 times in 22 games at the Santiago Bernabeu – his second favourite venue.

That is followed by the Vicente Calderon, Atletico's old home (14 goals in 20 appearances). Deportivo La Coruna's Riazor (13 in eight) and Sevilla's Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan (13 in 18) complete the top five.

It's fair to say Barca have an almighty task on their hands in replacing him.

 

Messi's other notable records and achievements

– Messi is LaLiga's all-time leading scorer with 474 goals and is the second-highest scorer ever in Europe's top five leagues behind Cristiano Ronaldo (476).

– He scored in 21 consecutive LaLiga games between November 2012 and May 2013, a record for a player in the competition's history.

– Messi is one of only two players to reach 100 goals in Champions League history (120), alongside Cristiano Ronaldo (134).

– He was the first player to score five goals in a Champions League match, doing so against Bayer Leverkusen in March 2012 at Camp Nou.

– The Argentina forward is one of six players to score more than 50 goals in the Copa del Rey's history and the only one to score in six different finals in the tournament (Telmo Zarra scored in five).

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.