Lionel Messi hits 50-goal mark again for Barcelona and Argentina, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Lionel Messi hits 50-goal mark again for Barcelona and Argentina

Barcelona star has reached magical target for club and country for sixth straight year

Lionel Messi ended the year with a total of 50 goals for club and country for the sixth straight time, as La Liga pauses for its winter break.

Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann and Arturo Vidal also scored as Barcelona comfortably defeated Deportivo Alaves 4-1 on Saturday to open a three-point lead over Real Madrid, who can draw level at the top of La Liga with a win over Athletic Bilbao this morning.

Barcelona have a five-goal advantage over Real.

The two sides drew 0-0 in the first Clasico of the season last Wednesday in a game postponed from October because of a separatist rally in the Catalan capital.

Said Griezmann: "We played only a few days ago, we were a bit tired, but we played a good match. Now we get some deserved time off. "

This is the last round before the break, with the league resuming in the first week of January.

It is the ninth year Messi finished with at least 50 goals overall for club and country - 45 of them this year came for Barcelona, five for Argentina.

He has reached the mark every year since 2010, with the exception of 2013 when he had 45. Messi's highest tally was 91 goals in 2012.

"He gives us a great advantage," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said.

"Leo can suddenly show up and score out of nowhere like that."

Messi's 50th goal came with a beautiful strike from outside the area in the 69th minute after being set up by Suarez.

The goal helped Messi move ahead of Real's Karim Benzema in La Liga's scoring charts with 13 goals, one more than the Frenchman.

Suarez is next with 10 goals. Griezmann has seven, including three in his last four games.

Suarez had a role in all four goals at the Nou Camp, scoring his own via a penalty kick in the 75th minute.

The Uruguay striker had also set up Griezmann's opener in the 14th minute and Vidal's goal on the stroke of half-time.


Alaves, winless in their last four La Liga matches, scored with a header by Pere Pons in the 56th minute.

The visitors had a couple of good chances before Messi's strike dampened their chances of a comeback.

"We knew it was difficult to earn points here," Pons said.

"At one point, we controlled possession and created some good chances, but in the end, we were playing against Barca and against Messi, it's complicated."

Barcelona had two goals disallowed for offside, one by Messi in the first half and another by Griezmann in the second.

Alaves have won only one of their nine away games this season. They are 15th in the standings, five points from the drop zone.

Barcelona extended their unbeaten streak in all competitions to 10 matches. They were coming off two league draws - 2-2 against Real Sociedad and 0-0 against Real Madrid. - AFP