Lionel Messi has sent a classy thank you message to Pele after the Brazil legend congratulated the Barcelona captain on matching his scoring record.
The 33-year-old notched his 643rd goal for Barcelona in Saturday’s 2-2 La Liga draw against Valencia to reach the same amount of goals Pele managed for Santos.
Pele congratulated Messi on his achievement and his “beautiful career at Barcelona” after the game, and the Argentina international has now responded in kind.
Messi wrote on Instagram, “Thank you very much for your kind message, Pele. The truth was that it was nice to see what those words mean coming from someone as great as you were. I send you a big hug!!”
The Barcelona captain will move past Pele’s record with his next strike for his club and will be out on his own when it comes to goals for a single club. The Catalan giants are back in action on Tuesday at Real Valladolid.
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Messi Wins Champion of Peace Award
It’s been a busy week for Messi who also won the ‘Champion of the Peace of the Year’ award for his commitment to social causes and fair play on the pitch. The award is given to an athlete “who has led a significant and sustainable sports initiative towards peace, justice and social inclusion.”
LIONEL MESSI IS OUR CHAMPION FOR PEACE OF THE YEAR! 🌟
It is a great honor to welcome such an incredible athlete and person in our #ChampionsforPeace Club, recognized not only for his fairplay, but also for his social commitment. ☮@TeamMessi @fundacionmessi #PSAWARDS2020 pic.twitter.com/kNFsxrXGGV
— Peace and Sport (@peaceandsport) December 18, 2020
Messi donated €1 million ($1.08m) to help in the battle against COVID-19 earlier this year. The funds were split between the Hospital Clinic Barcelona and a hospital in Argentina, as reported by Reuters.
The Leo Messi Foundation also works to promote “the social inclusion of children and young people around the world through sport” and “focuses on improving the situation and well-being of children affected by war, violence, poverty or disability as well as of all those children affected by severe illness.”
How Many More Barcelona Goals for Messi?
Messi should add to his collection of 643 Barcelona goals between now and the end of the campaign but it remains to be seen if he will still be at the Camp Nou by the time next season swings around.
The Argentine is out of contract in the summer and available to leave on a free transfer. Messi told the club he wanted to leave before the start of the campaign and it’s not clear if he has changed his mind after being denied an exit.
Much may depend on the outcome of January’s presidential elections. Candidate Joan Laporta has told The Guardian he will do all he can to keep hold of Messi if he wins the vote.
I can only imagine him in a Barcelona shirt and I’ll do everything possible to ensure he continues. I know Leo and what he’s interested in is winning. The best players see immediately if the team is competitive. It’s not about money, never has been; if it had, he would have taken very different decisions throughout his career. We have work hard to continue that beautiful story: Leo Messi and Barcelona.
Laporta is aiming to take over at Barcelona for a second time. He previously took charge of the club during 2003-10 when the club enjoyed enormous success at home and in Europe. Presidential elections are scheduled to take place on January 24.