Barcelona star Lionel Messi made La Liga history on Sunday. Another La Liga match, another history for Messi, which has become a common feature nowadays.
Lionel Messi has played the most number of Spanish top flight matches as a foreign player. He made his 423rd appearance for Barcelona in the Catalan derby against Girona. He took the top spot from his former Barcelona team-mate Dani Alves, who has played 422 matches.
Cristhian Stuani struck twice at Camp Nou as Girona battled to a deserved 2-2 draw away to Barcelona. They saw their perfect La Liga record end after Clement Lenglet’s first-half red card. The defender caught Pere Pons with his elbow. And after a VAR review he was shown a red card.
Messi gave Barcelona the lead in the 19th minute. It was a fantastic first-time finish from 14 yards out after Arturo Vidal’s fine work. After Lenglet’s red card Stuani scored a brace with goals on either side of the half. Girona looked set for a historic win at the Camp Nou. Messi then clipped the crossbar with a 30-yard free-kick. But at last Gerard Pique rose highest in the penalty area to head home and salvage a draw for Barcelona. Barcelona loose their 1st point of the season. They are now level with Real Madrid but still sits on top of the table because of a better goal difference.
Messi is 31 years old, so it is a great achievement to play 423 matches for a player of his age. He has also scored 389 goals in this time, which is an incredible feat. He has played 15 seasons for Barcelona and has 319 wins, 67 draws and just 37 defeats.
However, there is an unusual case also worth mentioning. Donato has played 466 matches in Spain’s top flight. But he became nationalised and then appeared for Spain, ruling out his foreign identity. It’s different for Messi who, although he holds duel citizenship, plays for Argentina.