Neymar, Ronaldinho, and a host of Barcelona legends have paid tribute to Lionel Messi after he matched Xavi Hernandez to become the club’s joint all-time appearance maker,
The Argentine made his 767th outing for the club when he led the team out against Huesca at the Camp Nou in La Liga on Monday night. No player has made more appearances for the club than the two stars.
Barcelona released a video showing players past and present sending messages of congratulations to Messi for his latest incredible achievement.
The club and Messi head into the game knowing a victory will cut the gap to league leaders Atletico Madrid to just four points.
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Xavi, Suarez, and Neymar Congratulate Messi
Xavi was happy to offer some words to Messi after seeing his record equaled. The former midfielder is hoping the Argentine goes on to play many more times for the Catalan giants. He said, “it’s an honor for me that you’ve beaten me in the number of matches played for Barca. I encourage you to keep fighting for many more seasons and matches and the story continues.”
Close friend Luis Suarez also had some words for his former team-mate. The Atletico Madrid man said, “alright big boy, you’re still beating records. I wanted to congratulate you for achieving the maximum number of games for Barcelona. I think that says a lot about you as a player and what you represent for Barcelona.”
Current team-mates Sergi Roberto, Philippe Coutinho, Gerard Pique, and Sergio Busquets also feature in the video. Pique spoke of his pride at having Messi at his team-mate. He explained, “Leo great job for achieving this record. I think it shows everything which you’ve achieved throughout these years while wearing the shirt. Congratulations, I am so proud for what you mean for this club.”
The video also showed a host of players including Puyol, Xavi, Neymar, and Suarez copying Messi’s iconic goal celebration.
Former captain Puyol added, “Leo congratulations for matching Xavi’s record for the official amount of games played for Barcelona. It seemed impossible for anyone to do it. You’ve managed to do it and I applaud you for that.”
Neymar and Ronaldinho Talk Messi
Former team-mates Neymar and Ronaldinho also took time out to send messages to Messi. Neymar missed out on a reunion with Messi and his former team in the Champions League last week due to injury.
Yet the Brazilian was able to offer his congratulations to the 33-year-old. He said, “in our opinion, you are extraordinary, a genius, from another world.” Ronaldinho said, “Hi Leo. I want to congratulate you for all the joy you have given us throughout the years with Barca.”
Messi will move out on his own for Barcelona appearances on his next outing for the club which is likely to come against Real Sociedad on Sunday. La Liga then pauses for an international break with Barca’s next game not until April 4 when Real Valladolid visit the Camp Nou.