Barcelona (Spain) – FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi struck a remarkable 600th professional goal for club and country on Sunday by scoring in his side’s Liga home win over nearest challengers Atletico Madrid.
The Argentine slammed a free kick right into the near top corner in the 26th minute to break the deadlock in the top-of-the-table clash.
The goal put league leaders Barca 1-0 up at halftime, and Messi was scoring from a set piece for the third game running.
Messi is the leading scorer in La Liga this season with 24 goals from a total 28 in all competitions, and is also the all-time top marksman in Spain’s top flight.
He is also the top scorer in the history of FC Barcelona and Argentina.
The 30-year-old Argentine has scored 539 goals for Barca in all competitions and 61 for his country.
The win also meant FC Barcelona remain unbeaten in the league this season after scoring 100 goals, and they are now eight points clear of their nearest rivals, Atletico Madrid.
They close in on their ninth title triumph in 14 seasons with 11 games left to play, and remain on course to secure a treble of trophies.
Their UEFA Champions League last-16 second-leg against Chelsea will take place on March 14 and the Spanish Cup final clash against Sevilla comes up next month.(Reuters/NAN)