Pep Guardiola has reiterated he wants to see Lionel Messi stay at Barcelona.

Barca talisman Messi is out of contract in 2021 and there is fresh speculation the six-time Ballon d’Or winner may wish to leave the club, who have not won the Champions League since 2015.

The forward has often been linked with a move to Manchester City to play under his former Camp Nou coach Guardiola.

But the City boss was reluctant to discuss transfers ahead of Wednesday's Premier League home match against Newcastle United.

He also stressed his stance on Messi has not changed, having previously expressed his hope the Argentine remains with Barca when questioned on the topic.

"I'm not going to speak about transfers until the end of the season," he said. "My wish is that Messi is going to stay in Barcelona."

Asked if a new centre-back was in his plans, he added: "At the end of the season. We still have incredible targets to fight for."

Meanwhile, Guardiola insisted he had no influence on where City's Champions League last-16 second leg against Real Madrid will be played, with a decision due this week.

City lead the tie 2-1 after a win at Santiago Bernabeu before the coronavirus lockdown and reports suggested Guardiola had lobbied UEFA over playing the return leg in Manchester rather than at a neutral venue.

"I am not strong enough to have this impact," he said.

"I am not a president. They have protocols. I have never spoken with UEFA. I have said many times that we want to play in Manchester but we are going to accept wherever UEFA decide to play.

"What I want is to play against Madrid. This is what I want but I didn't make phone calls, I don't have this power."

The club are also getting closer to finding out the verdict from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) as they appeal against their two-year Champions League ban.

"On July 10 it is the [Champions League quarter-final] draw and [July] 13 will be the sentence," Guardiola added.

"After that, I will give my opinion. We wait for the resolution from UEFA. This season is not going to change. It is so beautiful what we have in front of us."

Pirelli chief executive Marco Tronchetti said the Inter shirt sponsor can "help" the Nerazzurri sign Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi but club president Steven Zhang must "make an effort himself".

Messi's future is once again in the headlines amid reports the Barca captain is ready to quit the LaLiga giants once his contract expires in 2021.

Inter have been linked to Messi previously, with former president Massimo Moratti insisting the six-time Ballon d'Or winner relocating to Milan was not a "forbidden dream at all".

Trochetti, however, warned the coronavirus crisis will impact Pirelli's ability to contribute like Italian automobile manufacturer Fiat did when it assisted in Cristiano Ronaldo's move from Real Madrid to Juventus in 2018

"Honestly, at a time like this, we're unable to invest in sports more than we are, between Formula 1, the America's Cup and Inter," Trochetti told Gr Parlamento.

"We have to ask Steven Zhang to make an effort himself. We can help, but we can't do anything significant."

Messi has scored 22 goals and supplied a career-high 19 LaLiga assists for Barcelona this season.

Across all competitions, Messi has scored 27 goals for two-time defending LaLiga champions Barca – who are set to be dethroned by bitter rivals Real Madrid.

Barca are second and four points behind Madrid with four matches left to play.

Inter, meanwhile, are third in Serie A following Sunday's shock loss at home to Bologna.

Antonio Conte's Inter are third in the table – four points behind second-placed Lazio and just a point clear of Atalanta with eight games remaining.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted Lionel Messi has always expressed a desire to retire at Camp Nou amid doubts over his future.

Messi is contracted to Barca until 2021 but a report emerged on Thursday claiming the six-time Ballon d'Or winner wants to leave next year.

The superstar captain put question marks over his future to one side on Sunday, producing a masterclass in Barca's 4-1 LaLiga rout of Villarreal.

Messi reached 19 LaLiga assists for the season – his best tally in Spain's top flight – and Bartomeu was asked about the 33-year-old post-match.

"I am not going to explain the details of what is happening every week. There are negotiations with many players," Bartomeu told Movistar.

"Messi has always expressed that he wants to end his career at Barcelona."

Bartomeu was also asked about under-fire head coach Quique Setien after Barca stayed within four points of bitter rivals Real Madrid with four games remaining.

Two-time defending champions Barca are on track to be dethroned by Madrid this season, with Setien reportedly set to be axed.

But Bartomeu said: "I know there are rumours. It is totally false.

"Quique Setien has the confidence of everyone, of the players, of the board, he is doing a great job.

"There are four games left and then we have the Champions League. We have important games to play this season."

Barca face bottom side Espanyol in Wednesday's LaLiga derby.

Barcelona reached 9,000 goals in all official competitions following their 4-1 rout of Villarreal in LaLiga on Sunday.

Barca celebrated the milestone thanks to teenage sensation Ansu Fati, who came off the bench and scored the team's fourth goal away to Villarreal.

The two-time reigning LaLiga champions, who are four points behind bitter rivals Real Madrid with four matches remaining, netted their first official goal in April 1909.

Just over 111 years later, Barca have scored their 9,000th goal – superstar captain and six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi contributing 630.

Of Barca's overall tally, 6,165 goals have been scored in LaLiga, followed by the Copa del Rey (1,474) and the Champions League (543).

Antoine Griezmann ended his goal drought with a stunning finish and Lionel Messi tormented Villarreal as Barcelona cruised to a 4-1 LaLiga victory on Sunday.

Barca's grip on the title had slipped with back-to-back draws and bitter rivals Real Madrid moved seven points clear at the top with a win at Athletic Bilbao earlier in the day, but the champions responded at Estadio de la Ceramica.

An early Pau Torres own goal put Barca in front and the mercurial Messi set up sensational strikes from Luis Suarez and Griezmann after the in-form Gerard Moreno equalised, with Ansu Fati adding a fourth late on.

Griezmann had gone eight games without a goal, but silenced his critics with a moment of class in a breathtaking attacking display from Barca, with Messi – who had a goal disallowed and hit the crossbar – starring at the end of a week in which his future has been the subject of more speculation.

Previously in-form Villarreal have still not beaten the Catalan giants since 2008 and their first defeat since the season restarted is a blow to their bid for a Champions League spot.

Barca made a blistering start and they were rewarded when Torres turned the ball into his own net just three minutes in with Griezmann waiting to pounce on Jordi Alba's cross behind him.

The Blaugrana were causing the home side all sorts of problems going forward but looked vulnerable on the break and Moreno levelled clinically against the run of play with 14 minutes played after Marc-Andre ter Stegen palmed away Santi Cazorla's strike.

Barca wasted little time in regaining the lead, though, Messi running from just inside the Villarreal half and beating two players before finding Suarez, who picked out the far corner with a sublime first-time finish from the edge of the penalty area.

Arturo Vidal and Suarez came close before Griezmann added a third just before half-time, lobbing Sergio Asenjo with a superb effort after Messi set him up with a cheeky backheel following another penetrating run.

The busy Asenjo denied Suarez and Vidal after the break and Messi had a goal chalked off after VAR ruled he had been offside before tucking in Sergi Roberto's cutback.

Fati came off the bench to put the icing on the cake, cutting in from the left to fire home and Messi rattled the crossbar with a free-kick before Asenjo superbly saved Martin Braithwaite's header following up.

  

What does it mean? Relief for Setien

Barca boss Quique Setien has come under fire, but his players appear to be behind him on the evidence of this performance.

On a day when it was revealed Xavi, linked with the Barca hotseat, will stay at Al-Sadd, the defending champions showed they will not give up their title without a fight with four games to play.

Messi magic, Griezmann shows his class

Griezmann has had a tough first season at Barca, but he showed what he is capable of with the finish of a player who is anything but short of confidence.

It was Messi who was the star of the show, though, yet again, slipping away from defenders with ease and laying on two goals with sheer brilliance and not looking like a man eager to leave Camp Nou.

Semedo all at sea

Barca full-back Nelson Semedo looked vulnerable defensively in the first half and was hooked off early in the second. Setien's men were too open at the back in the first half and Semedo was caught out too often.

What's next?

Barca host lowly Espanyol in a derby clash on Wednesday, with Villarreal facing a tricky trip to sixth-placed Getafe on the same evening.

Quique Setien refused to be drawn into a debate around Lionel Messi's future following reports he will leave Barcelona next year, though the coach was adamant he has not heard the player himself state he wants to move.

Barca were held to a 2-2 draw by Atletico Madrid on Tuesday, and Real Madrid's subsequent win over Getafe on Thursday allowed Los Blancos to go four points clear at the top of LaLiga.

It was the third match in four that Barca have failed to win and reports began to circulate on Thursday that Messi has decided to leave in 2021 when his contract expires.

While some have put that down as a ploy to oust unpopular club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, others are concerned about such an idea taking root and becoming reality, with Messi reported to like the idea of once again linking up with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

Rumours of in-house squabbling and a poor relationship between the players and coaching staff have also developed in recent weeks, but Setien insists he has heard nothing from Messi about his supposed plan to leave.

"I am not going to speculate on this because I have not heard him say anything about it and it is not my job," Setien said in Saturday's pre-match news conference ahead of a meeting with Villarreal.

"I repeat, he looks well to me, Leo. The rest is speculation that does not even enter my consideration; that's what you [the media] are for. I see him training well, nothing more."

Riqui Puig is a Barca player around whom there is much positivity, with the 20-year-old midfielder producing some effective displays since the resumption and that has not been lost on Setien.

"We have all seen his level," he said. "Riqui has taken a very important step and has gained continuity in these games, but I tell him not to rest on what he's doing, but to improve.

"He is aware of the opportunity that has been given him, and this is the way. Then the rest, we'll see."

Barca return to action on Sunday at in-form Villarreal, who have won five and lost none of their six matches since LaLiga resumed last month.

Barcelona suffer on the pitch for having such a wide-ranging club model, former president Sandro Rosell believes.

The Blaugrana have endured a tumultuous season with off-field issues - including an apparent row between Lionel Messi and the board - playing out in the background as their LaLiga title defence stutters.

Barca have not won the Champions League since 2014-15 either and face a battle to progress through a last-16 tie with Napoli this term.

But for all of the club's problems, Rosell suggests Barca would be more competitive if they did not also run teams at various other levels and in a number of other sports.

Joan Laporta's former adviser, who was Barca president himself from 2010 to 2014, even claims the FC Barcelona Foundation saps their resources.

"As an entity, we have to evolve towards a 'mas club' model," Rosell told Sport.

"Barca is too many things. You have to sit down and analyse in depth if you really need the professional sections, the amateurs, the Foundation...

"If we don't, we will lose rope. We cannot cover everything, and everything that is not football causes us to lose competitive capacity with the big clubs in Europe, who are only dedicated to football.

"You have to sit down, discuss it, explain it in an assembly and, if necessary, hold a referendum. Someone has to dare to do it.

"I know it is uncomfortable. The easy thing is to use cheap demagoguery and attack this debate, but it has to be done."

Lionel Messi's future is often a topic of discussion.

Messi has an early break clause in his Barcelona contract.

As Barca look to re-sign Messi, the 33-year-old superstar is reportedly ready to walk away next year.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI WANTS BARCA EXIT

Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona when his contract expires at the end of 2020-21, according to Cadena SER.

Barca captain Messi – previously linked to Inter and Manchester City – has reportedly been in talks over a new two-year deal at Camp Nou.

However, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner and Barca's all-time leading scorer is reportedly tired of being blamed for issues at the club, with the LaLiga champions set to be dethroned by Real Madrid.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Camp Nou and club legend Xavi has agreed to become Barcelona head coach next season. Mundo Deportivo journalist Francesc Aguilar says the Al-Sadd boss has agreed a €6million salary to replace under-fire coach Quique Setien.

- Mundo Deportivo reports Manchester United and neighbours City have asked Barca about the availability of out-of-favour forward Antoine Griezmann. A big-money signing from Atletico Madrid at the start of the season, Griezmann has struggled and found himself on the bench in recent weeks. However, the report claims Barca are not considering a transfer.

Liverpool are poised to sign Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, says Sport. Thiago is out of contract at the end of 2020-21 and the Spaniard is not willing to re-sign. Now, Liverpool are believed to be in advanced negotiations as Bayern seek £31m (€35m) for Thiago.

- Everton full-back Lucas Digne has emerged as a target for City and Chelsea if they fail to land Leicester City star Ben Chilwell, according to ESPN.

Borussia Dortmund have completed the signing of Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham, reports Bild. United were also chasing the 17-year-old sensation.

- After signing Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid, Sky journalist Fabrizio Romano claims Inter have opened talks with Chelsea for Italian full-back Emerson Palmieri.

Juventus are hoping to settle Paulo Dybala's new contract between July and August, says Calciomercato.

- The Telegraph reports Chelsea are ready to step up their pursuit of Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz after Saturday's DFB-Pokal final against Bayern. Havertz has been linked to Bayern, Madrid, United, Liverpool and Barca.

- Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga could be shipped out on loan to Sevilla, claims The Sun. The world's most expensive keeper has been criticised for his performances this season.

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane wants Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi to remain in LaLiga amid speculation of a possible departure.

Messi, 33, is contracted to Barca until 2021 but a report emerged on Thursday, claiming the six-time Ballon d'Or winner is considering an exit.

According to Cadena SER, Messi has halted contract negotiations due to his frustrations with Barca – who are on track to be dethroned by bitter rivals Madrid this season.

Zidane was asked about the rumours regarding Messi after Madrid moved four points clear of two-time defending champions Barca thanks to Thursday's 1-0 win over Getafe.

"I don't know what will happen but we hope not because he is in this league and we want the best in this league," Zidane said post-match.

Sergio Ramos was the hero for Madrid against Getafe, scoring the only goal from the penalty spot in the 79th minute at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium.

The victory was Madrid's sixth in a row as Los Blancos extended their advantage over stuttering Barca with five matches remaining in LaLiga.

Zidane hailed captain Ramos, who took his LaLiga tally to nine goals in 2019-20 following his 450th league appearance for Madrid.

"Our captain is our leader on the field, but also outside," Zidane said of the Spain skipper, who took his career total to 100 goals.

"He is an unrepeatable player. He is unique and we know what he transmits to everyone else. I'm happy for him for his goal because when it comes to shooting a penalty, he has a lot of confidence. 

"It's almost in the 80th minute and Dani Carvajal's effort in goal is from the whole team. We know that with patience and tranquillity we can score goals. This is what happened.

"The last 20 minutes with freshness we claimed a very important result. We have to congratulate all the players because what we are doing is not easy."

Zidane also provided an update on star centre-back Raphael Varane, who took a blow to the head and had to be replaced in the first half.

"Right now he's not right because it's a blow to the neck," Zidane added. "He has gone home and the doctor is going to see him and we will see from tomorrow [Friday]. 

"We are not going to risk anything. It was a strong blow and tomorrow we will see exactly what he has."

Christophe Dugarry has apologised for calling Lionel Messi a "half autistic kid" while laying into Antoine Griezmann.

Griezmann has failed to live up to expectations since joining Barcelona in a big-money move from Atletico Madrid last July.

The France forward this week came in for stinging criticism from his compatriot Dugarry, who suggested his fellow World Cup winner is scared of playing alongside Messi.

Dugarry has come under fire for his comments about the six-time Ballon d'Or winner on RMC Sport following Barca's 2-2 LaLiga draw with Atleti on Tuesday.

The former France striker said: "What is [Griezmann] afraid of? A kid who is 1.5 metres tall and half autistic?

"All he has to do is show some balls at some point. I've been saying for a year that he has a problem with Messi. He has to hit him in the face.

"It's true that Messi could give him more passes, but honestly I am not surprised. Griezmann loses balls, doesn't play with confidence. Griezmann should go and talk to Messi to solve the problem.

"People have been saying for a year that he has a problem with Messi. He has to give himself a slap in the face. Yes, maybe Messi could give him more passes, but it really doesn't surprise me.

"Griezmann loses possession. He plays scared. Griezmann should go and talk to Messi to resolve the problem."

Dugarry apologised for his comments on Twitter, although he later removed the post.

"I am sincerely sorry for the extent and the response to my comments on Lionel Messi," he wrote.

"I did not want to stigmatise people with autism disorders, it was not my intention. I apologise to the people I offended and will [apologise] again at 6 p.m. on Team Duga [Dugarry's radio show] this evening."

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane was more deserving of the Best FIFA Men's Player award in 2019 than Barcelona star Lionel Messi, according to France great Alain Giresse.

After guiding Barca to LaLiga glory and the semi-finals of the Champions League last season, Messi won the accolade for a sixth time back in September – he was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 2009 and claimed four Ballons d'Or while it was backed by world football's governing body.

Mane finished fifth in the voting, behind Liverpool team-mates Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah, and Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

But Giresse, who coached Mane during his time in charge of Senegal between 2013 and 2015, insists the 28-year-old should have finished top after starring for Liverpool on their way to Champions League success.

"I definitely would have put Sadio Mane ahead of Messi, in terms of the season they had last season," he told ESPN.

"When I was head coach of Senegal, Sadio was still young but he had ahead of him an enormous potential, a technical potential, and a moral potential to go on to become a great player, as he has become today."

Giresse, named French Player of the Year three times in the 1980s, was Tunisia head coach until August and should have been eligible to vote.

"I didn't receive the ballot sheet, so it wasn't me who voted [on Tunisia's behalf]. I can't say who did, but it wasn't me," he said. The top pick credited to Giresse was Ronaldo, with Van Dijk second and Messi third.

Former Bordeaux and Marseille midfielder Giresse also managed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at international level with Gabon. 

Aubameyang shared the Premier League Golden Boot with Mane and Salah last season and Giresse believes the Arsenal striker is now among the world's best.

"I launched Pierre-Emerick with the Gabon national team, at the start of his development, his expansion and his progression," he said.

"We can all see his pathway and the level he's reached now. We're talking about [him moving to] Real Madrid, so it shows how this player has reached a world-class level, and you could say the same about Sadio."

Newell's Old Boys vice-president Cristian D'Amico is still hopeful Barcelona star Lionel Messi may one day return to the club.

Messi, 33, left Newell's for Barcelona in 2001 and has developed into one of the best players of all-time, winning a record six Ballons d'Or.

The Argentina captain has spoken about potentially returning to Newell's previously and D'Amico is hopeful, with the club having seen Diego Maradona arrive in 1993 after he starred in Europe.

"I don't know if it's impossible," he told TNT Sports.

"It's a decision exclusively made by him and his family. We have to have the best possible context to help make a decision.

"When Maradona came to Newell's, nobody thought that he would come either. I hope to do something similar with Leo."

Messi is contracted at Camp Nou until next year, although will reportedly extend that deal until 2023.

D'Amico is staying calm about the star's potential return to Newell's, saying: "Obviously, that's not to be selling smoke.

"It's a difficult topic. What Newell's fan would not dream to see the best player in the world with the jersey of their team on? Time might allow such things, you have to be calm."

Quique Setien hailed Lionel Messi after the Barcelona superstar scored his 700th career goal on Tuesday.

Messi celebrated the landmark moment as stuttering titleholders Barca drew 2-2 at home to Atletico Madrid in LaLiga.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner's delicate 'Panenka' penalty put Barca ahead in the 50th minute before Saul Niguez's second spot-kick ensured the points were split.

Discussing captain Messi – who has scored 630 goals for Barca and 70 for Argentina – post-match, Barca head coach Setien said: "I suppose that another 700 goals will not be scored by Leo, but he will continue to score.

"You don't know what the ceiling is for a player of this type."

Diego Costa's 11th-minute own goal had put Barca ahead before Saul's penalty restored parity for Atletico eight minutes later.

Messi converted a penalty of his own five minutes into the second half to bring up his landmark goal, but another Saul spot-kick – in the 62nd minute – secured a draw for Atletico.

Barca are one point behind leaders and rivals Real Madrid, who can move four clear with victory over Getafe on Thursday, as pressure mounts on Setien.

Setien's side have only won one of their past four league fixtures but the Barca boss said: "I'm quite happy with them [the team].

"It's true that we haven't been able to win, but at times we controlled the game well.

"It's not easy against this team. They're disciplined. I'm quite happy with my players' work."

Sergio Busquets conceded Barcelona face an uphill battle to retain their LaLiga crown after a 2-2 draw with Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.

Lionel Messi scored his 700th goal but it was not enough for Barca to claim all three points at Camp Nou, where Saul Niguez scored two penalties to earn Atleti a share of the spoils.

The draw leaves Barca one point behind leaders Real Madrid, who could move four clear with a win over Getafe on Thursday.

There are five games remaining for Barca to turn things around, but midfielder Busquets acknowledged their fate may well now be out of their hands.

"Look, to fight for the title is really complicated if you're dropping two points each two games, but we're going to keep fighting until the end," the Spain international told Movistar.

"We know it's difficult but we're going to try. They're a difficult rival. We dominated and created chances but the two penalties, penalised us – it's been a real shame.

"We were leaders and in a perfect situation before the break. I think it's been difficult for us since – some matches we've played better, others we haven't.

"Dropping points today and at the weekend means we're a little bit further away from our goal, which is to retain the title. I think we played better today but it's a difficult task ahead of us."

Diego Costa's own goal from Messi's corner put Barcelona ahead, before Saul hauled Atleti level from 12 yards – his goal coming after Costa had seen his penalty saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen, only for a VAR check to spot the goalkeeper had moved off his line.

Messi chipped home his landmark goal from the penalty spot shortly after half-time, yet Saul kept his composure with his second spot-kick of the match.

Yannick Carrasco won both of Atleti's penalties, and the Belgian – who returned to the club in January following a stint in China – was buoyed by the visitors' resilience.

"We always want to win, but I think the team played well. It's just unfortunate we couldn't get the three points," he said.

"We have to keep working and think about the next game. We were playing against one of the best teams in the world. A point away from home is always positive but we wanted to win.

"It's the attitude which is the most important facet of this team always. After that we can win or lose, but if the attitude is the correct one then the coach is happy. Today wasn't to be but we can be proud of our performance."

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.

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