Lionel Messi has 448 goals to score before he can break Pele’s one-club goals record

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Lionel Messi still has 448 goals to score before he can break Pele’s goalscoring record for a single club, according to Santos, the former club of the retired footballer.

The Brazilian club released a statement on Sunday, December 27, to rubbish the highly celebrated feat of the 33-year-old Argentina football superstar which he achieved in December. Messi scored his 644th goal for Barcelona against Real Valladolid on December 22, 2020, to surpass Pele’s world record of 643 official goals for Santos.

The 643 official goals of Pele has remained the highest number of goals an individual scored for a single club since 1974. Ever since then, no goalscorer has come close to achieving such a feat for a single club except Lionel Messi who has been at FC Barcelona since he began playing professional football.

Though Pele has taken to his Instagram page to congratulate the 6-time Ballon d’Or winner for breaking his long-standing record, Santos is not ready to let the record go without being contended against. Hence, the Brazilian club insisted via a statement the club released on Sunday, December 27 that the total number of goals Pele scored for the club was 1,091 goals.

The South American club noted that the goals Pele scored during friendly games were added to the official 643 goals. Hence, Santos stressed that the goals Lionel Messi scored in friendlies should be added to his 644 competitive goals before it can be said that he has broken Pele’s record.

Santos also stressed that all the goals Pele scored during friendlies are as important as the goals he scored during competitive matches, hence, the goals should be added to his official goals, describing Pele as the king of football.

Lionel Messi has 448 goals to score before he can break Pele's one-club goals record
Lionel Messi and Pele at an award ceremony.

Santos’ statement read: “In the accounts of the specialized press, the King of Football scored 643 in competitions and the 448 goals scored in matches and friendly competitions were ostracized as if they had less value than the others.

“Some analysts argue that so many of these 448 goals scored in friendly matches were faced with weak opponents, such as small or regional teams. Even so, the matches were played in official uniforms, with the official rules of the game and with a score sheet.

“We have to remember that clubs could only play friendly matches with the endorsement of regional and national federations, one of the rules imposed by FIFA, the organizer of world football.

“Taking subjective attributes into account, such as the weakness of opponents, is not ideal for compiling statistical data. The numbers are absolute.”

Santos’ statement might not mean much since Pele had already congratulated Lionel Messi for breaking his record which means that Messi may not have to worry about scoring an extra 448 goals to equal or break any record anymore.

However, it will interesting to see the reaction of FC Barcelona against Santos’ claim but that might make no difference since Pele has already settled the matter via his verified Instagram handle.

“Congratulations on your historic record, Lionel”, Pele Wrote. “But above all, congratulations on your beautiful career in Barcelona. Stories like ours, of loving the same club for so long, unfortunately, will be increasingly rare in football. I admire you very much.”