Lionel Messi has set a new Champions League scoring record after finding the net in Paris Saint-Germain‘s 1-1 draw away against Benfica on Wednesday night.
The 35-year-old curled a delightful strike into the top corner to put the French giants in front in the 22nd minute, finishing a brilliant team move which involved both Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
However, it was Benfica who had the last laugh at the Estadio da Luz, as Danilo Pereira put the ball into his own net four minutes before the interval, with both sides eventually forced to settle for a share of the spoils.
Nevertheless, Messi’s goal saw him break a Champions League record, with the Argentine becoming the first player in the competition’s history to score against 40 different teams.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has now moved two clear of Cristiano Ronaldo, who previously held the record after scoring against 38 different Champions League clubs.
His name is Lionel Messi.pic.twitter.com/fnxlx5sUn9
— BT Sport (@btsport) October 5, 2022
Messi broke a different Champions League record in PSG’s previous Group H fixture against Maccabi Haifa, as his strike against the Israeli outfit saw him become the first player to score in 18 successive campaigns in the competition.
The former Barcelona man still has some catching up to do if he is to overtake Ronaldo at the top of the all-time scoring charts in the Champions League.
Messi’s strike against Benfica has moved him onto 127 goals in the competition, 13 behind Ronaldo’s total of 140, although the Manchester United forward is unable to add to his tally this season as the Red Devils are competing in the Europa League.
Messi lasted for 81 minutes against Benfica before requesting to be taken off due to fatigue, according to manager Christophe Galtier.
“He signalled that he wanted to come off. On the final sprint, he felt tired,” Galiter told reporters after the match.
“He came off as he was tired and a fresher teammate was a far more interesting option at that moment.”
Messi has now contributed with eight goals and eight assists in 13 games for PSG across all competitions, but his long-term future at the Parc des Princes continues to be speculated amid interest from Barcelona.
A recent report claims that the Argentina international is open to re-joining the Catalan giants when his contract in Paris expires at the end of the season.
It is thought that the potential departures of Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba could help facilitate Messi’s return to Camp Nou ahead of the 2023-24 campaign.
Messi recorded a remarkable 672 goals and 303 assists in 778 appearances for Barca across all competitions, as well as winning a total of 35 trophies during his 21-year career in Catalonia.