Lionel Messi cemented his place as the Greatest Goalscorer in Champions League History in a typically emphatic fashion by grabbing a hat-trick as Barcelona won 4-0 at APOEL on Tuesday.
Messi’s first, a close-range effort in the 38th-minute, saw him break the record held by former Real Madrid and Schalke star Raul as he claimed his 72nd goal in Europe’s elite club competition. Now, he is only one goal ahead of long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo following the Portuguese talisman scoring against Basel yesterday.
Messi followed it up with two more in the second half: the first a clever chip over the advancing goalkeeper after a nice through ball from Dani Alves; the second a tap-in after Pedro had cut the ball back.
The 27-year-old has accumulated his haul in 91 games for Barcelona in the Champions League, while Ronaldo has scored his 71 in 107 matches. Raul needed 142 appearances to reach 71 strikes.
The battle is raging more than ever before between two of the Greatest players in football history.
Messi do have has a slight advantage over Ronaldo as he is 2 years younger than the Portuguese.