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

DECRYPTION – The seven-time 35-year-old Argentinian Ballon d’Or returns to duty this Wednesday with PSG, against Angers, after his World Cup coronation.

Lionel Messi, the return. After a dozen days of rest and several sessions to get back into rhythm at the Camp des Loges, the world champion will return to service with PSG against Angers this Wednesday (9 pm), on the 18th day of Ligue 1. A clash of extremes between the leader and the red lantern (the ranking here) will be analyzed in particular. And not just because Christophe Galtier’s men lost their last league outing. In fact, we will strictly follow the reception that will be given to Pulga by the public at the Parc des Princes. Publicly clearly made Kylian Mbappé (still resting) his lover. “The champion is you“: this is what we read on a banner spread 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 supporters may be irritated by the inaction of the said Lionel Messi regarding the inappropriate celebration of some of his Argentina teammates after the final of the Qatari World Cup, leading Albiceleste goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez …

Christophe Galtier has already tried to put out the fire in a press conference. Ditto for Kylian Mbappé, asked on the subject in the mixed zone. According to Le Parisien, Paris SG will not celebrate. “There is no need or demand to celebrate Leo“, promised the Parisian coach, as the club paid tribute to its number 30 at the training ground. And add:We are very lucky to have a player like him with us. I dare to hope that this will be celebrated and celebrated by our supporters at the Parc des Princes. There’s no reason it can’t“. In the meantime, back to the game for the current co-best passer in L1 (10), who needs to remobilize after fulfilling a lifelong dream by winning the World Cup, the only trophy he still lacks. There are many challenges still await Messi for the twilight of an extraordinary career, whether at club level or in Argentina.Furthermore, discussions for a contract extension (see elsewhere) are likely to reassure those Paris fans about the motivation of a player who has nothing left to prove, but is still hungry.

Be the top scorer in C1 before Ronaldo

Assuming Cristiano Ronaldo is done with European football by joining Al-Nassr, Lionel Messi knows what to expect. The Portuguese sits at the top of the list of top scorers in Champions League history with 141 goals. The Argentinian is his distant runner-up with 129 victories in the most prestigious European cups. 12 goals to catch him, 13 to overtake him: not impossible but “CR7» has a large margin. Especially since the Flea doesn’t take penalties in Paris. Not often… That hasn’t stopped him from scoring four times in C1 since the start of the season. Note that Ronaldo also holds the record for matches played in the Champions League with 187 appearances, ahead of Iker Casillas (181) and Leo Messi (161). Here too, Ronaldo has a room. But why not? On the other hand, Messi can double his rival this season in the classification of smugglers (42 against 40).

Win a fifth Champions League

Like everyone in Paris, Messi “dreamto win the Champions League. This is what the 35-year-old world champion said in his first press conference at the Rouge et Bleu. In fact, he was already whispering his dreams about it when he was still wearing the colors of FC Barcelona. His last C1 coronation, the fourth, started in 2015. And Cristiano Ronaldo? He has won the Big Ears Cup five times. We think it would not be bad for Messi to catch up with his eternal rival in this area… Rivals he will also meet in … Saudi Arabia on January 19, in a gala match between Paris-SG and a selection of players from Al -Nassr and Al-Hilal. Note that few players are on Ronaldo’s level with five crowns in “champion(Maldini, Costacurta, Di Stefano, Zarraga, Kroos, Benzema, Carvajal, Isco, Modric, Casemiro, Marcelo, Bale, Imaz), only one has six: 50s-60s Real Madrid legend Francisco Gento.

Lionel Messi touched the wonder at the 2022 World Cup. KAI PFAFFENBACH / REUTERS

The wall of 100 to choose

If it is a priori far-fetched to think that he will defend his title in the 2026 World Cup, Lionel Messi wants “continue to survive a few more matches as the world championas he said on Argentine television. Clearly, there is no international retirement anytime soon for the Paris Saint-Germain player. Currently the third leading scorer in the national team with 98 goals behind… Cristiano Ronaldo (118) and the Iranian Ali Daei (109), he can now aim for the symbolic bar of 100 goals with the Albiceleste. Or even climb the global hierarchy in this area? Note that Messi is also the third most capped national team (172) behind Ronaldo and Kuwaiti Bader Al-Mutawa (196).

Pass the 1000 goal mark, like Pelé

The king is dead, long live the king! Pelé died a few weeks ago, he who said “leading scorer in history» with 1283 realizations. A figure that is debatable, knowing that more or less friendly matches are counted to reach this total. Leo Messi in any case can join the late Brazilian legend by joining the closed club of players with more than 1000 goals. All inclusive, it’s at 793. It’s obviously not going to be easy. Especially since Messi has more of a role as a passer than a scorer at PSG. However, it is not forbidden to think that he is investigating goals in a more exotic championship (MLS?) at the end of his career… Some have also announced (rather hastily), during the World Cup, that it is close an agreement. to reach Inter Miami by David Beckham. “fake news“, we were told then. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done in the medium term.

Be the most successful player in history before Alves

This is a record that is not that difficult to achieve. After winning the World Cup with Argentina, Lionel Messi can claim 42 career trophies. 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 Argentinian to take Ligue 1 or even the Coupe de France over the leg… Besides, you can’t reach Messi’s level without fangs in all matches, all the time, regardless of competition, regardless of context. By shining in PSG’s colors in the second half of the 2022-23 season, Messi could also get his hands on an eighth Ballon d’Or, the record holder in the matter. If necessary, he will still make the best of one of his teammates and his biggest rival for this title, Kylian Mbappé.

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