Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has claimed the Pichichi Trophy for a record seventh time after finishing as the top scorer in La Liga in 2019-20 with 25 goals.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) July 19, 2020
The Barcelona captain has now claimed the award more times than any other player in history, surpassing Telmo Zarra’s record of six, and has also scooped the trophy for the fourth season in a row.
Messi finished off his league season in some style in Barcelona’s 5-0 thrashing of Alaves at Mendizorrotza Stadium. The 33-year-old scored twice and also picked up his 21st assist of the campaign.
HIGHLIGHTS | Messi at the double in 5-0 @FCBarcelona win! 💙🖐️❤️
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) July 19, 2020
Messi finished four goals ahead of his nearest rival, Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and, typically, played down his latest achievement after the game:
Messi on TV "I always say I'm not that fussed about personal prizes. Seventh pichichi would be a lot sweeter if came with the LaLiga title."
— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) July 19, 2020
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Setien Praises Messi
Manager Quique Setien took time out to praise Messi after the match and insisted he has a good relationship with the Argentina international.
“Messi usually decides where he plays and decides well. If he’s closer to the goal, it’s much better because the effort he has to put in is less. The problem is that sometimes there are a lot of defenders and he has to take a step back to connect. His participation is always very unsettling. Let’s hope we can keep enjoying him like we have done for many years.”
Setien’s future has come under scrutiny after Barca lost the league title to Real Madrid, but Barcelona’s performance against Alaves should relieve some of the pressure on the 61-year-old.
Barcelona Turn Focus to Champions League
Barcelona and Messi will now turn their focus to the Champions League which returns in August and represents their only chance of finishing the season with any silverware.
Messi spoke about the competition after the match and explained how his team needs to prepare for the visit of Serie A side Napoli to the Camp Nou in the last-16.
“It’s a key moment because we’re going to play for important things. It doesn’t take being the captain to realize what we’ve done [this season]. We have to be more consistent.
“We have very good spells and we have to maintain that. We need a bit calmer in this break [before Napoli]. There’s nothing more to say. It’s important to clear our heads and come back hungrier than ever. We were self-critical. We have to stabilize ourselves and move on.”
The tie with Napoli is finely-balanced at 1-1 after the first leg. Barcelona’s away goal and home advantage for the second leg gives them the slight advantage, although the game will of course be played behind closed doors.