Another week, another Lionel Messi milestone.

The Barcelona forward has scored his 700th career goal just a little over two years since reaching 600 for club and country.

It's another remarkable feat for a footballer who continues to break new ground after turning 33.

Here, we look at the details behind the incredible numbers to see when, where and how he tends to find the net, who likes to set him up, and who is sick of the sight of him...

 

FOR BARCELONA:

- Messi has scored 630 goals in 724 appearances for Barca in all competitions - that's 0.87 per game on average. 

- His first goal came on May 1, 2005 against Albacete in LaLiga. Since then, he has reached 441 goals in 480 matches in Spain's top flight, at least 130 more than any other player in history.

- He has scored 114 goals in the Champions League, 53 in the Copa del Rey, 14 in the Supercopa de Espana, three in the UEFA Super Cup, and five in the Club World Cup.

 

FOR ARGENTINA:

- Messi has scored 70 senior international goals. His first came on March 1, 2006 in a friendly against Croatia, and his most recent was in a friendly last November against Uruguay.

- He has scored 34 goals in international friendlies, 21 in World Cup qualifiers, nine at the Copa America, and six at the World Cup.

 

PER YEAR:

- In each of the past 11 calendar years, Messi has scored at least 40 goals for club and country. In nine of the last 10, he has reached at least 50.

- His best record in a single year came in 2012, when he scored 91, breaking the previous record of 85 held by Germany great Gerd Muller. He already has 12 in 2020, despite the COVID-19 disruption.

 

HIS FAVOURITE OPPONENT:

- Messi has scored 37 goals in 39 games against Sevilla in all competitions. Next up are Atletico Madrid (32 in 41 games).

- He has managed 26 in 43 games against Real Madrid, making him the all-time top goalscorer in Clasico history.

- Messi has faced 40 different LaLiga teams and scored at least once against 37 of them. Last November, he became the first player to score against 34 different Champions League opponents, surpassing Cristiano Ronaldo and Raul on 33.

 

HIS LEAST FAVOURITE OPPONENT:

- Only three LaLiga teams have ever avoided conceding a goal to Messi: Xerez, Real Murcia and Cadiz.

- Xerez are the only team Messi has faced more than once without scoring. He has played against them twice.

 

WHEN AND HOW HE SCORES:

- Messi has scored 43.32 per cent of his goals in the last 15 minutes of the first half or last 15 minutes of the second.

- He has scored 142 times from set-pieces: 90 penalties and 52 free-kicks.

- Only 24 of his career goals are headers. The most recent was back in March 2017 against Sporting Gijon. 

- Messi has scored 83.1 per cent of his goals (582) with his left foot, and 82.8 per cent (580) from inside the box.

- He has scored 36 LaLiga hat-tricks, which is a record. He has scored three or more times in 54 different matches, the most being five against Bayer Leverkusen in March 2012.

- His tally of 50 for the 2011-12 LaLiga season is a record.

 

WHO SETS HIM UP:

- Luis Suarez has assisted more Messi goals than any other player: 47 in six seasons with Barcelona. Messi has returned the favour 36 times. (CHECK WHO SETS UP ATHLETIC GOAL)

- The other players with the most assists for Messi are Dani Alves (42), Andres Iniesta (37), Xavi (31), Pedro (25), Neymar (22) and Jordi Alba (20).

- Messi has 247 assists for Barca. Since his first goal for the club, he has been involved in 879 of their 2,183 goals in all competitions, or 40.2 per cent.

United States Soccer has lifted its ban on kneeling during the national anthem having admitted it was wrong to prevent Megan Rapinoe from doing so.

Four years ago, Rapinoe took a knee prior to the women's team's game against Thailand, following the lead of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who did so to protest police brutality and racial injustice.

Kaepernick was heavily criticised by president Donald Trump for kneeling and U.S. Soccer's board of directors passed a law in 2017 which made it mandatory for its players to stand for The Star-Spangled Banner prior to games.

However, given there has been a renewed focus on the issues Kaepernick was protesting following the death of George Floyd in police custody last month, USA's women's team had called for the ban to be removed.

U.S. Soccer has now revised its law and apologised to its players for passing the rule in the first place.

"U.S. Soccer affirms Black Lives Matter, and we support the fight against racial injustices," the federation said in a statement.

"The U.S. Soccer Board of Directors voted yesterday afternoon to repeat Policy 604-1, which required our players to stand during the national anthem.

"The policy was put in place after Megan Rapinoe kneeled in solidarity with the peaceful protest inspired by Colin Kaepernick, who was protesting police brutality and the systematic oppression of black people and people of colour in America. 

"It has become clear that this policy was wrong and detracted from the important message of Black Lives Matter.

"We have not done enough to listen - especially to our players - to understand and acknowledge the very real and meaningful experiences of black and other minority communities in our country.

"We apologise to our players - especially our black players - staff, fans and all who support eradicating racism.

"Sports are a powerful platform for good, and we have not used our platform as effectively as we should have. We can do more on these specific issues and we will."

U.S. Soccer's decision comes after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted that league was also wrong to not listen to its players when they peacefully protested.

UEFA has postponed all national team matches scheduled to be played under its auspices in June, including the play-offs for the delayed Euro 2020 finals.

European football's governing body held a video conference on Wednesday with representatives from all 55 member associations.

Those involved considered recommendations made by the working groups UEFA set up last month to address the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

After that meeting on March 17, it was confirmed Euro 2020 would be moved to June and July of next year, although play-off games were still slated to take place during the international break at the scheduled end of the 2019-20 season.

However, all UEFA matches are now postponed until further notice, while deadlines relating to the 2020-21 campaign for the organisation's club competitions are similarly on hold, with the prospect of football's shutdown going beyond the June 30 date where player contracts typically expire alluded to as a potential complication.

"The deadlines related to all 2020-21 UEFA club competitions are postponed until further notice, in particular as regards the admission process and the registration of players," a press release read. “UEFA will set new deadlines in due course."

At the initial meeting, UEFA made a commitment to try and complete all European and domestic club competitions by the end of June – a prospect that appears increasingly fanciful as leagues across the continent remain suspended with little sign of a resumption.

UEFA has also stated it will relax Financial Fair Play and club licensing measures related to its 2020-21 competitions as clubs deal with unprecedented times.

"The Executive Committee reiterated its full commitment to club licensing and Financial Fair Play and agreed that the current exceptional circumstances necessitate some specific interventions to facilitate the work of member associations and clubs," the statement read.

"It supports the proposal to give member associations more time to complete the club licensing process, until the admission process for next season’s UEFA club competitions has been redefined.

"As a result of the increasing uncertainty generated by the ongoing extraordinary events, the executive committee also decided to suspend the club licensing provisions that relate to the preparation and assessment of clubs' future financial information. This decision applies exclusively for participation in the 2020-21 UEFA club competitions."

Additionally, UEFA cancelled its European Under-17 Championship and European Women's Under-19 Championship, scheduled for May and July respectively.

The corresponding European Under-19 Championship and European Women's Under-17 Championship are postponed with the aim of rearranging, given they double up as qualifying competitions for FIFA's U-20 World Cup and U-17 Women's World Cup.

Next month's UEFA Futsal Championship League finals have also been postponed until further notice.

Italy's scheduled upcoming friendly in Germany has been cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic, the German Football Association (DFB) has confirmed.

Sport in Italy - including Serie A - has been shut down until April 3, with the country suffering over 17,000 confirmed cases of the virus and 1,266 deaths - the worst figures outside of China.

Meanwhile, the Bundesliga has also been suspended. Germany has close to 4,000 cases and eight deaths.

International football has been allowed to continue, in theory, although FIFA has recommended the postponement of fixtures.

An international break is set for the weekend before April 3, yet clubs will no longer be required to release their players following a FIFA Council decision.

And with events of more than 100 people banned in Nuremberg, where Italy were set to face Germany, the March 31 fixture has unsurprisingly been called off.

Italy's friendly meeting with England was postponed on Friday.

Further calls on international fixtures are anticipated, with World Cup qualifiers in Asia and South America already pushed back.

Top-flight football is continuing behind closed doors in Serbia, but Football Association of Serbia (FSS) president Slavisa Kokeza has now tested positive for coronavirus.

"We want to emphasise that the president of the football organisation is under medical supervision and is well and the Football Association is continuing its regular activities," a statement from the FSS read.

Serbia have a Euro 2020 play-off against Norway in the diary for March 26, although UEFA is set to make a call on the scheduling of the finals in a meeting on Tuesday.

Clubs will not be forced to release their players for international duty in March and April amid the coronavirus crisis, with FIFA recommending fixture postponements.

Football has largely come to a standstill worldwide as associations attempt to combat the spread of a virus that has already led to over 5,000 deaths.

The Champions League and Europa League have notably been suspended, along with each of Europe's top five leagues.

Fixtures in MLS, the Scottish Premiership and the English Football League are also all off.

The Premier League, Serie A and LaLiga have paused play until after the scheduled upcoming international break, while the Ligue 1 season has been postponed until further notice.

International football now appears unlikely to continue, too, as clubs - usually powerless to prevent call-ups – have received permission to keep their players following a FIFA Council decision.

FIFA will not impose the postponement of all forthcoming fixtures but is encouraging such measures.

A statement read: "FIFA understands that to hold the matches under current circumstances might not only present potential health risks to players (and to the general public) but would also, most likely, compromise the sporting integrity of such matches insofar as certain teams may be deprived of their best squads whilst others may not.

"To avoid any unnecessary health risks and also situations of potential sporting unfairness, we therefore recommend that all international matches previously scheduled to take place in March and April should now be postponed until such time that they can take place in a safe and secure environment, both for players and for the general public.

"The final decision on this issue rests with the respective competition organisers or relevant member association in case of friendlies."

World Cup qualifiers in Asia and South America have already been pushed back, along with the cancellation of some international friendlies.

UEFA is yet to call off the Euro 2020 play-offs set for the coming weeks, although the tournament's existing schedule appears to be in doubt ahead of a meeting next Tuesday.

The Danish Football Union (DBU) expects its national team's friendly game against England on March 31 to be cancelled following measures taken to address the spread of coronavirus in the Scandinavian country.

On Wednesday, Denmark's prime minister Mette Frederiksen announced all public activities should be restricted or shut down for two weeks, leading the DBU to cancel all domestic football commitments until March 29.

Denmark have a scheduled match against Faroe Islands in Herning on March 27 before the scheduled trip to Wembley four days later.

In a statement, the DBU said it was prepared for both of those fixtures to be called off.

DBU statutory director Kenneth Reeh added: "Denmark is in a sad and special situation, which of course also affects Danish football. Like everyone else in society, we take the situation very seriously and, of course, take the necessary precautions. That is why we are closing down as many football activities as possible over the next few weeks.

"We do not want to risk passing the infection on to the weakest in the community, nor risk anything for our national team players, our fans or others who work with our national team. We are in dialogue with UEFA regarding the practicalities of both the youth tournaments and the matches of the men's team and expect clarification as soon as possible."

England remain scheduled to face Italy at Wembley on March 27 at this stage, despite the latter reporting the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Europe and being placed on lockdown.

PSV teenager Mohamed Ihattaren has received his first Netherlands senior call-up as part of Ronald Koeman's provisional squad for the scheduled friendlies against the United States and Spain later this month.

Ihattaren, 18, has enjoyed a breakout season in the Eredivisie this term.

Although he has represented the Dutch international side at every age group from Under-15 upwards, he is also eligible to represent Morocco.

Uncapped duo Teun Koopmeiners and Owen Wijndal have also been selected, taking the AZ contingent in Koeman's 30-man party up to five.

Defenders Matthijs de Ligt, Stefan de Vrij and Hans Hateboer, midfielder Marten de Roon and forward Justin Kluivert all feature despite playing their club football in Italy, a country which has recently introduced lockdown measures in an attempt to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

Feyenoord midfielder Leroy Fer is back in the international reckoning for the first time since 2014.

Provisional Netherlands squad to face the United States and Spain:

Jasper Cillessen (Valencia), Jeroen Zoet (FC Utrecht), Tim Krul (Norwich City), Marco Bizot (AZ); Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace), Nathan Ake (Bournemouth), Daley Blind (Ajax), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Denzel Dumfries (PSV), Hans Hateboer (Atalanta), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus), Stefan de Vrij (Internazionale), Owen Wijndal (AZ); Donny van de Beek (Ajax), Leroy Fer (Feyenoord), Mohamed Ihattaren (PSV), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Teun Koopmeiners (AZ), Davy Propper (Brighton & Hove Albion), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Kevin Strootman (Olympique Marseille), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool); Ryan Babel (Ajax), Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord), Myron Boadu (AZ), Luuk de Jong (Sevilla), Justin Kluivert (AS Roma), Quincy Promes (Ajax), Calvin Stengs (AZ) and Wout Weghorst (Wolfsburg).

Tite rejected criticism of his decision to play Rodrygo Goes for just two minutes in Brazil's 3-0 win over South Korea on Tuesday.

The Brazil coach said on Monday he would be patient with the teenage forward, who has made an impressive start to life at Real Madrid.

Rodrygo has scored twice in four LaLiga appearances for Madrid and notched a hat-trick in their 6-0 Champions League demolition of Galatasaray this month.

The 18-year-old got 19 minutes on his debut in the 1-0 loss to Argentina on Friday and received even less playing time in Abu Dhabi.

"It's one thing to throw Rodrygo into a system that's already structured, like Real's. It's another thing to put him in a team that is being reassembled, even if he was doing the same job in the same position," said Tite.

"It was so hard to organise for the team for today and they responded well. They were close to scoring a fourth and a fifth.

"It was a chance for Fabinho, Renan Lodi and Militao. They earned the chance and asserted themselves. Could it have been Rodrygo? Yes, but I preserved the continuity and the good moment of the team in the game."

Brazil eased the pressure on Tite as they ended a five-match winless run with a comfortable 3-0 win over South Korea on Tuesday.

Tite has come under scrutiny as Brazil have failed to claim a victory since winning the Copa America in July.

Their miserable run included a 1-0 loss to arch rivals Argentina on Friday, but they bounced back in style in Abu Dhabi.

Lucas Paqueta opened the scoring early on and a brilliant Philippe Coutinho free-kick doubled the lead for Brazil, who secured a routine triumph through Juventus defender Danilo's second-half goal.

Paqueta broke the deadlock in the 10th minute, meeting Renan Lodi's superb cross with a stooping header after the Atletico Madrid full-back had been played in down the left by Coutinho.

Lodi continued to cause problems going forward but South Korea also threatened in an entertaining first half.

Son Heung-min bent an effort narrowly wide but South Korea's task was made considerably harder when Coutinho doubled their deficit in style.

The Bayern Munich winger found the top-left corner with a stunning free-kick from 25 yards after Hwang Ui-jo hacked down Fabinho.

South Korea were almost gifted a lifeline in an incredible passage of play as Alisson fumbled Jung Woo-young's low free-kick, with Coutinho kicking the ball against his own post in the resulting scramble before clearing behind for a corner.

However, Brazil made the game safe on the hour mark as Danilo met Lodi's pull back with a rasping drive that Cho Hyun-woo could not handle despite getting both hands to the shot.

Brazil took their foot off the gas thereafter, with South Korea reduced to efforts from distance as they failed to score for the third successive game.


What does it mean? Relief for Tite

Brazil will not play another international until the start of the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers in March, and the manner of their victory will make Tite breathe a little easier following a troubling run of form. South Korea were always second best but there was nothing in their performance that suggested they will fail to progress to the third round of AFC qualifying. South Korea have yet to taste defeat in the second round.

Renan carries the Lodi

Lodi was excellent down the left for Brazil, he carried a constant threat and was rewarded with two assists. Atletico will want to see more of the same from Lodi when he returns to club action.

Hot-headed Hwang

South Korea were still very much in the game at 1-0 down but Hwang's rush of blood afforded Coutinho the opportunity to give them a mountain to climb and he took it in magnificent fashion.

What's next?

Brazil will learn their first opponents in qualifying when the draw is made next month. South Korea will compete for the East Asian title in December before returning to qualifying action in March.

Brazil can feel the confidence Liverpool midfielder Fabinho has brought to the squad, according to coach Tite.

Fabinho made his 11th appearance for Brazil off the bench in a 1-0 loss to Argentina on Friday, having made an impressive start to the Premier League season.

Tite said the 26-year-old had added plenty to Brazil, who are on a five-match winless run ahead of facing South Korea on Tuesday.

"Fabinho has built a positive growing. All the times he played, he played very well," he told a news conference.

"And he brings confidence from his club to the Brazil national squad. In a natural way, and we can feel it. It's not that you can only see it, you can feel it.

"Fabinho is playing his normal football in a role that he also has at Liverpool."

Brazil are winless since lifting the Copa America trophy in July, putting some pressure on Tite at the helm.

Tite was criticised by Rivaldo after the loss to Argentina, the Brazil great unhappy with the decision to give Lucas Paqueta – who was substituted at half-time – the number 10 shirt.

However, Tite would not be drawn into firing back at Rivaldo, instead speaking of his respect for the former Barcelona star.

"I respect opinions, I don't give opinions on them. I learnt to respect them," he said.

"And I also have a very clear opinion on Rivaldo. He was a great player and the image that comes to me is of him controlling the ball on the chest and scoring in Barcelona. The most beautiful thing in this world. That's my opinion."

Lionel Scaloni is satisfied with Argentina's progress after a friendly draw against Uruguay on Monday.

Argentina came from behind twice to secure a 2-2 draw in Tel Aviv, where Lionel Messi's stoppage-time penalty cancelled out Luis Suarez's goal after Edinson Cavani and Sergio Aguero had struck earlier.

It extended Argentina's unbeaten run to seven matches as they continued preparations for 2022 World Cup qualifying, which begins next year.

Scaloni is pleased with Argentina's development, although the coach still sees room for improvement.

"At the level of results, we are fine. At the level of the game, it can be improved," he said, via Ole.

"The team feeling is the best we have. The important thing is that the players who play do it well. Some make a difference and others support."

Scaloni acknowledged the challenge awaiting his team, describing the CONMEBOL qualifiers as the toughest in the world.

"Now we have to think about what we did well and what we can correct. What is coming is difficult," he said.

"I spoke with people from Uruguay. It will be difficult in the qualifiers. Those in South America are the most difficult in the world.

"We have a good base."

Tite has dismissed Lionel Messi's credentials as the greatest footballer of all time after insisting comparisons between him and "phenomenal" Brazil legend Pele have "no credibility." 

The Brazil coach and Messi exchanged words in Friday's game against Argentina, with Tite claiming the Barcelona forward told him to shut up during the friendly defeat in Riyadh.  

Tuesday marks the 50th anniversary of Brazil legend Pele scoring his 1,000th goal and, speaking ahead of his side's clash against South Korea in Abu Dhabi the same day, Tite says three-time World Cup winner Pele remains out in front when it comes to the question of whether he or Messi is best.

He said: "Pelé is incomparable. Anybody who wants to compare Pelé to any other athlete...do you know what I do? I hear but I don`t listen.

"It's as if this person doesn't know the history of this man's quality... this guy was phenomenal. Once I said that Messi is extraordinary.

"I meant he's extraordinary to the present time and among humans, with his creativity. Pele is out of normal patterns and I'm not saying this because I'm a Brazilian. You can't find a defect.

"If somebody comes to me and starts to make comparisons, for me it has no credibility."

The loss to Argentina meant Brazil are now five matches without victory, yet Tite remains philosophical over the Copa America winners' form.

He added: "I'm not desperate to win. I'm happy to be where I am. I'm aware of the pressure but I have no desperation. I don't have any of this. What I do want is to make a great game."

Tite has warned South Korea's threat extends far beyond just that of Tottenham forward Son Heung-min.

He added: "We know about Korea's strengths, on their important victory against Germany [in the World Cup] and we respect them. We know about their individual forces, not only Son, but others and the team as a whole."

Lionel Messi scored a stoppage-time penalty to secure Argentina an entertaining 2-2 draw with Uruguay in Tel Aviv on Monday.

Argentina fell behind when Edinson Cavani, who scored in Uruguay's 2-1 win over Hungary on Friday, notched his 50th international goal in the 34th minute.

That lead was cancelled out when Sergio Aguero headed home a set-piece delivery from Messi, before Luis Suarez restored La Celeste's advantage five minutes later with a superb free-kick.

Messi missed a penalty and scored on the rebound in a 1-0 win over Brazil three days ago, but he made no mistake from the spot on this occasion and clinched the draw in the 92nd minute.

Lionel Messi was delighted with Argentina's win over Brazil, saying the rivalry between the South American nations was stronger than ever.

On his international return, Messi scored the only goal of the game in Riyadh as Argentina recorded a 1-0 friendly win.

The star tapped in a rebound after his penalty was saved by Alisson, while Gabriel Jesus earlier put a spot-kick wide for Brazil.

The win over Brazil was Argentina's first against their rivals since 2017 and Messi talked up the significance.

"The rivalry is lived more than ever and it is always good to beat Brazil," he said, via Ole.

"When you win, you work better. The ideas of the coach are carried out on the pitch in another way and it is positive for what is coming."

Argentina face Uruguay in another friendly on Monday as they continue preparations for the start of the gruelling CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying beginning in March next year.

Messi praised the defensive efforts of Lionel Scaloni's side, who stretched their unbeaten run to six games.

"There is little left for the qualifiers. There is a good team feeling," the Barcelona star said.

"On the defensive level we made a big effort."

Brazil head coach Tite said he was told to shut up by Argentina captain Lionel Messi in the friendly clash between the South American rivals.

Messi returned from a three-month international ban to lead Argentina past Brazil 1-0 thanks to his 13th-minute goal in Riyadh on Friday.

Argentina star Messi missed Argentina's previous four matches due to a suspension for accusing CONMEBOL of favouring hosts Brazil – who won their semi-final meeting – at the Copa America and he was in the thick of the action against Tite's Selecao.

Messi and Tite exchanged words in the opening half, with the Barcelona superstar seen putting his fingers to his lips as the Brazil boss complained to the referee.

"I complained because he [Messi] should have been shown a yellow card and he told me to shut my mouth and I told him to shut his mouth," Tite said. "And that was it."

Tite added: "I don't want to answer anymore on it. You need a strong referee because he'll swallow you… It should have been a card, I was right to complain."

Messi's goal condemned Brazil – who have struggled since lifting the Copa America trophy – to their fifth consecutive match without victory.

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