Lionel Messi eclipsed Pele’s long-standing record of goals for a single club with his 644th strike for Barcelona in the 3-0 La Liga win at Real Valladolid.
Messi’s second-half goal saw him overtake the mark which the Brazil great had amassed over 19 seasons for Santos.
Clement Lenglet’s header from Messi’s cross had given Barcelona the lead after 21 minutes, with Martin Braithwaite, given a start ahead of Antoine Griezmann, knocking in a second before half-time.
Ronald Koeman’s men closed out for a first away La Liga win since the start of October to sit fifth in the table, eight points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, who had earlier won at third-placed Real Sociedad.
How Messi broke Pele’s long-standing record…
Messi eyed an early chance to break the record during the opening exchanges at Estadio Jose Zorrilla, his curling shot from the edge of the penalty area dropping just wide. The Argentina playmaker saw another effort tipped over by Valladolid goalkeeper Jordi Masip before Barcelona took the lead in the 21st minute.
Messi was the creator this time, floating a cross into the centre of the penalty area, where Lenglet powered a header into the net.
The Barca players used the goal celebration by holding up a shirt to pay tribute to right-back Moussa Wague, the 22-year-old having suffered a serious knee injury while playing on loan at Greek club PAOK.
Before Valladolid could regroup, the home side found themselves 2-0 down after 25 minutes.
Messi held off three opposition players before feeding the ball down the right for Serginho Dest and his low cross was slid past Masip by Braithwaite.
Barcelona maintained their momentum at the start of the second half, as Braithwaite stabbed an early chance wide.
At the other end, Pablo Hervias’ angled free-kick was just off target of Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s goal.
Masip then denied Messi again as the hour mark approached with another decent reaction save.
Barcelona’s talisman, though, got his record-breaking goal after 65 minutes when played in by a neat backheel from Pedri.
18y 27d – Pedri has been 121 days youngest than Lionel Messi to be the youngest third @FCBarcelona‘s player to assist in LaLiga since at least 1998/99 season (18 years & 27 days). Both players were only surpassed by Fati (16y & 318d) & Bojan (17y & 180d). Partner#FCBarcelona pic.twitter.com/9Bo08uIEgP
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 22, 2020
Despite the scoreline, Valladolid came to life again as substitutes Fabian Orellana and Kike Perez both forced Ter Stegen into action.
Barca substitute Philippe Coutinho drilled a low, 20-yard effort against the base of the post. Valladolid were again saved by the woodwork in stoppage time when Messi charged through, only to see his angled shot come back of the upright.
The Argentina playmaker looked determined to increase his record tally, but Masip produced another fine save to keep the scoreline down.
Atletico extend lead at top
League leaders Atletico Madrid moved three points clear of nearest challengers and city rivals Real after a routine 2-0 victory at third-placed Real Sociedad.
Mario Hermoso struck just after the interval and Marcos Llorente gave the away side breathing room a quarter of an hour from the end as Atletico, who have a game in hand over Real Madrid, consolidated their lead at the summit.
Fourth-placed Villarreal missed the chance to take advantage of Sociedad’s slip-up after being held to a 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao, who took the lead through Inaki Williams only to be pegged back by substitute Yeremi Pino.
Elsewhere, Suso struck nine minutes from time to give Sevilla a 1-0 win at Valencia.
Gonzalo Melero rescued a 1-1 draw for Levante at rock-bottom Huesca, who took the lead through Javi Ontiveros’ first-half penalty only to be denied a second win of the campaign as they conceded after the interval.
Ruben Garcia and Darko Brasanac scored as second-bottom Osasuna twice took the lead at Elche, who claimed a 2-2 draw thanks to goals from Fidel and Guido Carrillo. Osasuna had Inigo Perez sent off late on.
Serie A: 10-man Juve suffer first defeat of season
In Serie A, Juventus succumbed to a galling result against Fiorentina which leaves the defending champions well adrift of league leaders AC Milan.
The Bianconeri thrashed Parma at the weekend but fell behind after just three minutes following Dusan Vlahovic’s finish while matters worsened for the home side a quarter of an hour later when Juan Cuadrado was sent off.
Andrea Pirlo reshuffled his pack, taking off Aaron Ramsey after 20 minutes, to the chagrin of the Welshman who kicked over a bottle upon leaving the field, but the sacrifice made a minimal impact as Juve struggled with 10 men.
Franck Ribery, whose defence-splitting pass allowed Vlahovic to score the opener, teed up Cristiano Biraghi and his cross was inadvertently turned into the net by Alex Sandro after 76 minutes.
Martin Caceres then added salt into the wounds five minutes later, the former Juventus man completing a simple finish after a low ball across the six-yard box from the Biraghi.
Victory moved Fiorentina five points clear of the relegation zone while Juve, who had won six and drawn six of their 12 games in the Italian top-flight this season, are now seven points off table-topping Milan.
Elsewhere on Tuesday night, Crotone climbed off the foot of the standings as they claimed only their second win of the campaign, edging out fellow strugglers Parma 2-1.
Junior Messias struck in the 24th and 44th minutes, meaning Juraj Kucka’s goal before the hour was a mere consolation for Parma.