Argentina football team captain Lionel Messi became Champion’s all-time top scorer as he fired a hattrick to guide his club Barcelona to a 4-0 win over Apoel Nicosia on Tuesday.
Messi went into the Group F game in Cyprus level on 71 goals with former Real Madrid forward Raul.
Luis Suarez had already opened the scoring with his first goal for the club when Messi diverted Rafinha’s 38th-minute shot past the keeper. Messi netted his second in the 58th-minute with a low right-foot finish before tapping home from close range, a news channel reported.
The striker said that he is happy for having achieved such a nice record in a competition of this importance, but admitted that the really relevant thing is that Barca took the three points.
Messi said that Barca played a great match. It is Messi’s second major record in four days, having scored a landmark 253rd Spanish top-flight goal with a hattrick against Sevilla on Saturday.
Messi’s latest achievement earned him glowing praise from his manager Luis Enrique, with the former Spain midfielder saying that he would again say that Messi is the best ever in the game.
Both teams finished with 10 men on Tuesday, Rafinha sent off for two bookable offences 20 minutes from time before Apoel Nicosia’s Joao Guilherme followed him 14 minutes later, also for a second booking.
It was Messi’s 28th Barcelona hattrick, and his fifth in the Champions League. The Argentine now has 74 Champions League goals in 91 appearances in the competition, while Raul’s 71 goals came in 142 games.
Barca had already qualified for the knockout stages before their visit to Cyprus and they are second in Group F currently with one game to go.
However, they would advance to the last 16 as group winners if they beat current group leaders Paris St-Germain at the Nou Camp on 10 December, the report added.