Lionel Messi has broken Gerd Muller’s long-standing record for the most league goals scored for the same club in Europe’s top five divisions.
The Barcelona superstar, who equalled the tally while making his 400th LaLiga appearance for the Calatan giants against Levante last weekend, scored his 366th goal in Spain’s top flight against Real Sociedad on Sunday.
Messi’s left-footed free-kick from 25 yards saw him overtake Muller’s haul of 365 Bundesliga strikes for Bayern Munich.
Germany great Muller set the previous record while representing Bayern between 1964 and 1979, scoring his 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga matches.
All-time leading scorers in Europe’s top-five first divisions
Spain: Lionel Messi (2004–present) – 366 goals
Having eclipsed Telmo Zarra’s Spanish top-flight record of 251 goals back in 2014, Messi has been in a league of his own ever since. Cristiano Ronaldo is now second in the all-time rankings with 289 goals, but, at 32, the Real Madrid man’s chances of overtaking his 30-year-old rival seem slim. “He’s phenomenal,” said Messi’s former team-mate Ronaldinho. “There’s nobody like him. He’s the best of his generation.”
England: Jimmy Greaves (1957–71) – 357 goals
“When I came out onto the pitch at White Hart Lane, Wembley or wherever, I became a totally different person,” recalled England’s foremost first-division marksman. “In a way, when I passed through that tunnel, it wasn’t me any more.” At Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham, Greaves’s strike rate suggested he was indeed a man possessed.
Italy: Silvio Piola (1929–54) – 274 goals
“I still don’t know whether he shoots better with his right foot or his left,” said coach Vittorio Pozzo of the forward who helped his Italy side lift the 1938 FIFA World Cup. “I did not fear anything, a crucial quality in those days,” added Piola, who found the net for Pro Vercelli, Lazio, Torino, Juventus and Novara but never landed a Serie A title.
Germany: Gerd Müller (1965–79) – 365 goals
The ultimate goalmouth predator, ‘Der Bomber’ set a near-impossible target for all future Bundesliga aces with his 365 goals in only 427 games. The prolificacy of the man who hit West Germany’s 1974 World Cup final winner did much to make Bayern a football powerhouse. As Franz Beckenbauer often says: “Without Gerd’s goals, perhaps we would still be working in a little wooden hut on Säbener Strasse.”
France: Delio Onnis (1971–86) – 299 goals
Born in Italy and raised in Argentina, Onnis never made an international appearance yet found the target at a fearsome rate for Reims, Monaco, Tours and Toulon. He is confident his league tally will remain a record “long into the future” but knows that in another age his attacking prowess might have earned him a move abroad. “Ten years in one league is not common nowadays,” he said.