Record-breaking Messi strikes to become all-time leading scorer in Spanish football as Barca cruise ahead of City Champions League tie
Leo Messi warmed-up for Manchester City by becoming the player with the most goals in Spanish football history, passing Athletic Bilbao striker Telmo Zarra, as Barcelona faced the team with the worst defensive record in the league and made that record a little bit worse.
The omens were bad when Rayo Vallecano conceded inside two minutes and from the right-foot of Adriano, who probably won’t even make Barcelona’s starting line-up on Tuesday. The full-back cut inside from the left and buried a shot past Rayo keeper Ruben.
Andres Iniesta almost doubled the lead with a shot from the halfway line and Barca then spent the next half an hour peppering Rayo’s goal, with Messi and Pedro both hitting the frame of the goal.
Should have stayed on your line: Messi chips the ball over Rayo Vallecano’s goalkeeper Ruban Martinez
Messi then sent a free-kick into wall with Alves firing the rebound over. Barcelona were wasting good opportunities with Pedro trying to tee up Messi when he should have finished himself and Barça almost paid for their wastefulness when Rayo raced away and Victor Valdes had to save smartly from Iago Falque and Alberto Bueno in the visitors only chances of the first half.
But Messi was not to be denied career goal number 336 taking him past Zarra for the all-time goals record in Spain in all competitions.
Messi is also rattling through the all-time top scorers in the Spanish league rankings. And the goal he lofted over Ruben from Fabregas’ pass meant he drew level with the second greatest Argentine to every grace La Liga – Alfredo Di Stefano.
Start of the rout: Brazilian defender Adriano, centre celebrates with his team-mates after scoring the first against Rayo Vallecano
High five: Barcelona’s Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez, right, celebrates with Messi after scoring
Messi has 227 goals in 263 games; the former Real Madrid striker Di Stefano scored his 227 goals in 329 games.
Messi released Alexis and he stroked in goal number three seven minutes into the second half. Fabregas then played a one two with Iniesta before screwing the ball back across the face of the six-yard box for Pedro score the fourth prompting the Mexican wave to start up around the Camp Nou – a sure a sign as any that the game is well and truly up, although for Rayo there was still half an hour to negotiate and Barcelona were bringing on Neymar.
Coach Tata Martino’s biggest problem going into Tuesday’s game is who to leave out.
Jumping for joy: Pedro, left, enjoys scoring against Rayo Vallecano with Cesc Fabregas
Surrounded: Messi tries to get past three Rayo Vallecano players
Having rested Xavi for this one, Martinez surely intends to start with him at the Etihad. That will mean Fabregas shifting forward into the front three, but at which player’s expense? Pedro coming off for the Brazilian suggests it will be Alexis who starts from the bench.
That will be tough on Alexis who rolled a pass to Messi for the Argentine to score league goal number 228 which inevitable saw him reach another milestone.
He is now the all-time third leading goalscorer in the history of the Spanish league drawing level with Raul – the difference being that Raul scored his 228 goals in 551 games and Messi has matched that in just 263 games.
Those selection problems for Martino were then made that little bit more difficult when Neymar, in his first game for a month after an ankle injury, scored from 30-yards out to make it six from an Iniesta pass.
Barcelona will feel they are going into their biggest match of the season, in their best form
Source : Daily Mail