Lionel Messi became the leading goal scorer in UEFA Champions League history on Tuesday when he struck his first of three goals in a 4-0 win over APOEL in Group F.
The prolific Argentina forward became the highest scorer in La Liga history with a hat trick in a 5-1 hammering of Sevilla on Saturday and broke yet another record in Nicosia three days later.
Messi passed Real Madrid legend Raul’s Champions League tally of 71 goals when he diverted Rafinha’s strike into the back of the net after 38 minutes against the Cypriot champions. He sealed the hat trick with a pair of goals in the second half.
The race to break that goal mark has dominated European football for several weeks, with Messi battling with rival and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo to claim the crown.
Ronaldo had seemed set to reach the mark first after scoring in five consecutive Champions League matches, but his shutout against Liverpool last time out means he is still stuck on 70.
Messi went close as early as the second minute on Tuesday, before Luis Suarez threatened to steal the headlines with his first cimpetitive goal in a Barcelona shirt.
However, with seven minutes to go until the break, Messi stepped into the spotlight with a typically instinctive finish to write his name into the history books.