Lionel Messi hit yet another impressive goalscoring landmark on Wednesday with a strike in Barcelona’s 2-1 win over Rayo Vallecano in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey.
The captain was back in the team after serving a two-match suspension and also back on the scoresheet, equalizing in the 69th minute from a cross by Antoine Griezmann after the hosts had taken a shock lead through Fran Garcia.
Messi’s goal was his 15th of the season in all competitions for Barcelona, a number he has reached for the last 15 seasons in a row.
The Barcelona captain was also involved in his team’s winner. The forward released Jordi Alba down the left to cross for midfielder Frenkie de Jong to convert from close range and send the Catalan giants into the quarter-finals of the competition.
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Messi Takes Barcelona Record
Messi also claimed another record on Wednesday as he made his 76th appearance for Barcelona in the Copa del Rey. The forward has now featured in the competition for the club more times than any other player.
The 33-year-old does still have some way to go if he is to become Barcelona’s all-time top scorer in the Copa del Rey. Wednesday’s goal means he’s now scored 54 times for Barca in the competition but he’s still some way behind Josep Samitier who tops the charts with 64.
Messi is no stranger to scoring goals and he does tend to find the back of the net when he faces Rayo Vallecano. The captain has now scored an incredible 18 times in 11 appearances against the team from Madrid.
Messi Last off the Pitch
The Barcelona captain was in no hurry to leave the pitch after helping his side progress to the quarter-finals. Messi was spotted taking pictures with the Rayo Vallecano ball boys after the final whistle.
Messi’s latest strike continues a hot streak in front of goal for the Argentine. He now has eight goals and two assists in his last nine appearances for the Catalan giants in all competitions.
Next up is a visit from Athletic in La Liga which should prove an intriguing clash given the two teams have already played each other twice this month in La Liga and in the final of the Spanish Super Cup.
Messi scored twice in a 3-2 win for Barca at San Mames at the start of the month but was subsequently sent off in extra-time in the Super Cup after lashing out at Asier Villalibre.
Athletic went on to win 3-2 to lift the trophy which means they certainly won’t lack for confidence heading to the Camp Nou on Sunday. Marcelino’s side also warmed up for the trip to Barca with a 5-1 thrashing of Getafe on Monday.
However, they will have less rest than Koeman’s side as they play their Copa del Rey last 16 fixture on Thursday against third-tier side Alcoyano. Athletic will be hot favorites to progress but will be aware their opponents produced a shock in the last round by dumping out Real Madrid.