Lionel Messi's remarkable new La Liga scoring record

Lionel Messi has become the first player to score in 15 consecutive La Liga seasons in the 21st century.

The Barcelona captain sent a cheeky free kick under the wall to score the first goal in a 3-0 win over Alaves at the Camp Nou on Saturday night.

His strike was proudly promoted as Barca’s 6000th goal in the league but the more historic league-wide feat went under the radar.

Messi first scored in La Liga in the 2004-05 season – his only goal that year in seven appearances – before his star slowly exploded in the following campaigns.

The Argentine cracked double digits in 2006-07 and has since registered at least 30 goals in seven different seasons.

Messi’s high-water mark came in 2011-12, when he scored a whopping 50 goals – a number he followed up with 46 more the following year.

Lionel Messi’s strike put him down as the first player to score in 15 consecutive La Liga seasons. Pic: Getty

Incredibly, it might not be too long before he has company in his new chapter in the history books.

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos’s scoring record of 55 league goals is far more understated than Messi’s 385 strikes.

But, having first scored in La Liga in 2004-05 when he played for Sevilla, Ramos will become the second player to score in 15 consecutive league seasons the moment he hits the back of the net for Real Madrid.

Despite missing out in the 2-0 win over Getafe on Sunday it should be a matter of time before he gets his name on the scoresheet – and a page alongside Messi.

Past players to reach the record include Real Madrid legend Raul, who scored in 16 consecutive seasons from 1994 to 2010, and Telmo Zarra from 1940 to 1955.

Barcelona brush past Alaves on historic night

Two goals from Lionel Messi either side of a Philippe Coutinho strike allowed Barcelona to start their defence of the Spanish title with a 3-0 win over Alaves at the Camp Nou on Saturday night.

Wearing the captain’s armband following the departure of Andres Iniesta to Japan, Messi stepped up to send a cheeky second-half free-kick under the jumping wall and into the net for the opener, and Barca’s 6000th La Liga goal.

Coutinho, who had come off the bench, lashed in the second goal before Messi added gloss to the scoreline in stoppage time, with the clock having ticked past midnight in Catalonia.

While they took their time to get going, it was an ideal opening result for Ernesto Valverde’s side, who are hoping to once again see off the challenges of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in the battle for the title.

While Cristiano Ronaldo has left Real for Juventus, Messi remains as the figurehead at Barcelona and he won his 33rd trophy with the club in the Spanish Super Cup victory over Sevilla last weekend.

The 31-year-old will be aiming to put behind him the desperate disappointment that was Argentina’s World Cup campaign, and he was unlucky not to get a hat-trick here.

Messi saw a free-kick crash back off the bar late in the first half after going over the wall, so when he was handed another chance from a similar position in the 64th minute, he changed tack.

This time, 22 yards out, he surprised the jumping Alaves defenders by going underneath and giving Fernando Pacheco in goal no chance. He then sent another curling effort off the post soon after.

Coutinho started the match on the bench alongside summer signings Arthur, Malcom, Clement Lenglet and Arturo Vidal. However, he was sent on at the start of the second half and his goal seven minutes from the end effectively killed the game.

The Brazilian had just squandered one chance after being played in by Messi when he picked up a pass from compatriot Arthur before lashing in, ensuring victory on the opening weekend for Barca for the 10th consecutive season.

Messi, the top scorer in La Liga last season, then controlled a ball into the box on his chest before slotting in his second and his team’s third in stoppage time.

with AFP