Champions League, record, history… Five challenges for the rest of Leo Messi’s career

DECRIPTED – The 35-year-old seven-time Argentine Ballon d’Or player returns to duty this Wednesday with PSG against Angers following his World Cup crowning.

Lionel Messi, the return. After about ten days of rest and a handful of sessions to regain his rhythm at the Camp des Loges, the world champion is back on duty with PSG against Angers this Wednesday (21), during the 18th day of Ligue 1. between the leader and the red lantern (here the ranking) who will be particularly scrutinized. And not just because Christophe Galtier’s men lost on the last day of the championship. In fact, we will closely follow the welcome given to Pulga by the public at the Parc des Princes. Audience that has clearly made Kylian Mbappé (still retired) his favorite. “You are the champion“: this is what we read on a banner deployed by the Collectif Ultras Paris for Bondy’s crack during the victory over Strasbourg (2-1) at the end of the year. We imagine that some fans may have been irritated by the immobility of the aforementioned Lionel Messi regarding the inopportune celebrations of some of his Argentine teammates after the Qatar World Cup final, Albiceleste goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez in the lead…

Christophe Galtier has already tried to put out the fire at a press conference. Ditto for Kylian Mbappé, questioned on the issue in the mixed area. According to Le Parisien, no celebrations will be organized by Paris SG. “There is no need or requirement for Leo to be celebrated“, promises the Parisian coach, while the club has already paid tribute to its number 30 on the training pitch. And to add:We are very lucky to have a player like him with us. I dare to hope that it will be celebrated and celebrated by our fans at the Parc des Princes. There’s no reason it can’t“. In the meantime, the current co-best passer in L1 (10) is back in the match, who will have to remobilize after having crowned a lifelong dream by winning the World Cup, the only trophy he still lacked. Several challenges still await Messi for the sunset of an already extraordinary career, both at club level and with Argentina. Furthermore, discussions for a contract extension (see elsewhere) risk reassuring Parisian fans of the motivations of a player who has nothing left to prove, but still hungry.

Become top scorer in C1 ahead of Ronaldo

Assuming Cristiano Ronaldo is done with European football by joining Al-Nassr, Lionel Messi knows what to expect. The Portuguese is top scorer in Champions League history with 141 goals. The Argentine is his distant second place with 129 successes in the most prestigious of European cups. 12 goals to get him, 13 to beat him: not impossible but”CR7» has a considerable margin. Especially since Pulga doesn’t take penalties in Paris. Not often though… That hasn’t stopped him from scoring four times in Serie A since the start of the season. It should be noted that Ronaldo is also the record holder for matches played in the Champions League with 187 appearances, ahead of Iker Casillas (181) and Leo Messi (161). Ronaldo has space here too. Why not ? On the other hand, Messi could double his rival this season in the smugglers’ standings (42 against 40).

Win a fifth Champions League

Like everyone in Paris, Messi “dreamto win the Champions League. So said the 35-year-old world champion during his first press conference in Rouge et Bleu. In fact, he was already trumpeting his dreams when he was still wearing the FC Barcelona colours. His last coronation in C1, the fourth, dates back to 2015. And Cristiano Ronaldo? He has won the Big Ears Cup five times. We imagine that Messi would not mind joining his eternal rival in this field… Rival whom he will also meet in… Saudi Arabia on January 19, during a gala match between Paris-SG and a selection of Al-Nassr players and Al-Hilal. It should be noted that several players are at Ronaldo’s level with five league titles in “Sample’(Maldini, Costacurta, Di Stefano, Zarraga, Kroos, Benzema, Carvajal, Isco, Modric, Casemiro, Marcelo, Bale, Imaz), only one has six: Francisco Gento, Real Madrid legend of the 50s-60s.

Lionel Messi touched the sublime at the 2022 World Cup. KAI PAFFENBACH / REUTERS

The wall of 100 in the selection

If a priori it is unlikely to imagine him defending his title at the 2026 World Cup, Lionel Messi wants “continue to live a few more games being world championas he said on Argentine television. Clearly, no international withdrawal suffered by the Paris Saint-Germain player. Current third top scorer in the national team with 98 goals behind… Cristiano Ronaldo (118) and the Iranian Ali Daei (109), he could already aim for the symbolic bar of 100 goals with Albiceleste. Or even climb the global hierarchy in this area? Note that Messi is also the third most capped player for his country (172) behind Ronaldo and Kuwaiti Bader Al-Mutawa (196).

Exceed the threshold of 1000 goals, like Pelé

The king is dead, long live the king! Pele died a few weeks ago, he who claimed to be”top scorer in history» with 1283 achievements. A fact that causes discussion, knowing that some more or less friendly matches have been counted to arrive at this total. Leo Messi could in any case join the late Brazilian in legend by joining the select club of players with more than 1000 goals. All inclusive, it’s at 793. Of course it won’t be easy. Especially since Messi has more of a role as a passer than a scorer at PSG. However, it is not forbidden to imagine him investigating goals in a more exotic league (MLS?) at the end of his career… Someone even announced (a bit hastily), during the World Cup, that an agreement was close to being reached with the David Beckham’s Inter Miami. “fake news“, we were told at the time. This does not mean that it cannot be done in the medium term.

Become the most successful player in history ahead of Alves

This is a much less difficult record to achieve. After winning the World Cup with Argentina, Lionel Messi can boast 42 trophies in his career. He is only one less than the most successful man in history, a certain Dani Alves, his former teammate at FC Barcelona and one of his predecessors at Paris Saint-Germain. So don’t count on the Argentine to win Ligue 1 or even the French Cup… Also, you can’t reach Messi’s level without having fangs in every match, always, whatever the competition, whatever the context. Shining with the colors of PSG during the second half of the 2022-23 season, Messi could also get his hands on an eighth Ballon d’Or, he who is already the record holder in the matter. If necessary, he would still take the best of who is both his teammate and his biggest rival for this title, Kylian Mbappé.

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