Lionel Messi scored the 500th goal of his career Wednesday, in Barcelona’s 7-0 trouncing of Valencia in Copa del Rey action. Fittingly, the momentous tally came in scintillating, Messi-like fashion.
The Argentinean icon collected a fine back-heel pass from Luis Suarez in the penalty area, then left two defenders on the turf as he dribbled around them before slotting the ball into the right side of the net. The goal showed off Messi’s remarkable ability to keep the ball seemingly glued to his feet as he weaves through traffic, one of the main reasons that he has become an all-time great.
The goal was Messi’s 435th for Barcelona, this after tallying 65 for Argentina’s national team and youth squads. It was also the second of the game for the five-time FIFA Ballon D’Or winner, and he would go on to complete the hat trick at Valencia’s expense.
Messi actually had a chance to score his 500th goal earlier in the game, but he gave a penalty-shot opportunity to Neymar. The Brazilian hit the post with his effort, just about the only thing that went wrong for Barcelona all day.
Not to be outdone, at least on Wednesday, Suarez netted all four of the other goals Barcelona scored. Given that the game was the first leg in a semifinal series, Messi and Co. can feel assured of a spot in the Cope del Rey final, where they will face either Sevilla or Celta Vigo.