Messi joins 100 club
BARCELONA, Spain (AP):
Lionel Messi has joined Cristiano Ronaldo in the exclusive club of players who have scored 100 goals in European competition.
Messi hit the century mark in UEFA club competitions yesterday when he scored from a free kick to lead 10-man Barcelona to a 3-1 victory at home over Olympiakos.
Messi curled his strike over the wall in the 61st minute. Goalkeeper Silvio Proto got a hand on the ball but couldn't keep it out as Messi took his career tally in the Champions League to 97 goals. His other three were in the European Super Cup.
Messi managed the feat in 122 European matches, 21 fewer than Ronaldo needed to score his 100th European goal in April. In total, Ronaldo has now scored 113 times in 151 European club matches after his goal earned Madrid a 1-1 draw with Tottenham on Tuesday.
The next highest scoring player in European competition after Ronaldo and Messi is former Real Madrid forward Raul Gonzalez, who scored 76 times.
"The numbers reinforce what we see day in, day out," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. "(Messi) keeps on hitting milestones that before seemed impossible."
After Barcelona had gone ahead thanks to an own-goal by Dimitris Nikolaou in the 18th, the hosts were left a man down three minutes before halftime after Gerard Pique got a second booking for using his arm to steer the ball into the net. The strike was disallowed.
However, Barcelona continued to outclass the Greek visitors despite playing with 10 men.