Lionel Messi Moves Ahead Of Cristiano Ronaldo As Top Goalscorer In Europe’s Top Five Leagues
Lionel Messi has officially moved ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo as the all-time top goalscorer in Europe's top five leagues.
That's according to data collected from OptaJose, which puts the Barcelona captain on 415 goals and the Juventus ace on 414.
Of course, it's worth putting those stats into context. The 31-year-old Argentine ace reached this incredible feat in 446 matches, with all of his goals obviously coming in La Liga with the Spanish club.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo has played 514 matches across La Liga, Serie A and the Premier League with Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United respectively, finding the back of the net on 414 occasions.
It's worth remembering that the 34-year-old Portuguese footballer also scored three times in 25 appearances for Sporting CP, but as the Primeira Liga isn't part of the top five European leagues, it has allowed the Argentina captain to claim the top spot.
To put things into even more perspective, Messi has reached his goalscoring accomplishment in 68 fewer matches than Ronaldo.
Messi moved ahead of Ronaldo in the goalscoring ranks in Europe's top five leagues after his superb performance against Villarreal on Tuesday.
The reigning La Liga champions were 2-0 ahead after Philippe Coutinho, who has been linked with an exit from the club in the summer, opened the scoring and Malcom doubled their lead in the opening 20 minutes.
Samuel Chukwueze pulled one back for Villarreal in the first half, while the second half saw Javier Calleja's men make a spectacular comeback.
Barça manager Ernesto Valverde turned to the bench and brought on Messi for Coutinho, but then Villarreal took a 4-2 lead thanks to Karl Toko Ekambi, Vicente Iborra and Carlos Bacca adding their names to the scoresheet.
When Álvaro González was sent off in the dying stages of the match, Barcelona took advantage of a ten-men Villarreal as Messi worked his magic by scoring from a free-kick.
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Luis Suárez salvaged a point for Valverde's men when Sergio Asenjo was unable to keep out his 20-yard injury-time strike.
Despite dropping two points and leaving Atlético Madrid eight points behind them in second place, the Barcelona head coach couldn't overlook the importance of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner to his side.
"Of course, there is a Messi dependence, of course it exists, he is the best in the world," he told reporters after the match (via Goal).
"But we must know that when he isn't playing, we must play the same way, like in the first half.
"There was no Messi dependence [in the first half] and the team was fine and [should have been] able to win the match.
"This game has helped us a lot, especially for the games that are to come.
"It makes people realise that the league is complicated, the teams are good and they have a spirit to fight.
"They [Villarreal] are a good team and they have troubled us.
"We must improve so that the opponents do not take us lightly, because we will play against teams that play for the league and the Champions League, and against those teams you cannot do that."
Barcelona host Atlético at the Camp Nou on Saturday, following it up with a trip to Old Trafford on Wednesday against Manchester United in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash.
Who will progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League out of Barça and United?
Let us know in the comments.
Featured Image Credit: PA