Messi scores again in Barcelona's 3-0 victory against Valladolid

Valladolid 0-3 Barcelona: Lionel Messi stars in win to keep Catalans fifth and close gap on Real Madrid – as Ronald Koeman insists star is ‘happy’ at the club after breaking Pele’s record

  • Manager Ronald Koeman says Lionel Messi ‘looks happy’ at Barcelona
  • The Argentine was linked with a move away at the beginning of the season 
  • He passed Pele’s same-club goalscoring record with his 644th goal

Lionel Messi proved he is in a league of his own again with the goal that takes him past Pele as the player with more goals at the same club in the history of the game.

He matched Pele’s Santos record on 643 at the weekend and with goal 644 he went one past him capping an inspired performance to drive Barcelona to only their second away win of the season.

‘I’ve said it many times recently, he looks happy,’ said a delighted Ronald Koeman after Messi lead the demolition of Valladolid. ‘He is so important to the way we play. And it shows when he has intelligent players around him.’

Lionel Messi scored his 644th goal for the club, surpassing Pele’s same-club record

He set up the first floating the ball on to Clement Lenglet’s head and he glanced a header past Jordi Masip.

It might have been two when Sergino Dest reached the byline and from Martin Braithwaite’s clever flick Masip was forced to make a sharp save.

Messi then tested Masip with a clever first time flick after he had been played in by Pedir. Those two were linking up brilliantly and Barcelona’s new 3-5-2 system was working well with Messi loose alongside Braithwaite and impossible for Valladolid to pick up.

Barcelona doubled their lead when Dest, making the most of his wing-back licence got to the byline again and Braithwaite turned the ball in from a yard out.

Ronald Koeman has been under pressure and his side are still fifth despite the victory

Messi got his record breaking goal on 65 minutes and as well as a landmark strike it was a nod to the future with Pedri slipping the ball through for him to finish – Barcelona supporters are hoping that budding combination has some years left in it.

‘They are both intelligent players so there is no surprise that they have a good understanding,’ said Lenglet after the game. ‘We knew how important this game was,’ he added. Barcelona would have been 11 points behind leaders Atletico Madrid had they not picked up the win.

They could have extended their advantage late on. Both times Philippe Coutinho, on as a sub, and Messi saw shots come back off the foot of the post.

Braithwaite went through too and Messi looked less than happy when he drove the ball into the side netting instead of playing if back to him.

That aside it was smiles all around – not so much from Antoine Griezmann who had been left out of the staying line-up and not called upon as one of the second half changes.

He’ll be pleased at least that on this showing he still plays for a team that could challenge for the title. They remain 8 points off the pace but playing this way there is hope into 2021.

Messi wanted to leave Barcelona in the transfer window, but they’re determined to keep him

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