A hat trick that moved him atop the all-time Barcelona goalscoring list prompted the Spanish press to stretch its vocabulary in praise of Lionel Messi.
The Mundo Deportivo newspaper described him as "a living legend ... who rides to infinity." La Vanguardia called him "indelible, infinite and eternal." By scoring three goals in a 5-3 defeat of Granada Tuesday in a Spanish League match he increased his goals for Barca to 234, eclipsing the club mark of 232 set by Cesar Rodriguez Alvarez, who played for the club from 1939 to 1955.
Since his debut for the first team in October 2004, Messi has scored 153 goals in La Liga, 49 in the Champions League, 19 in the Copa del Rey, eight in the Spanish Super Cup, one in the European Super Cup, and four in the Club World Cup.
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola likened him to a legend in another sport, former NBA star Michael Jordan. "We have to congratulate Messi, he has scored so many goals and is only 24," said Guardiola. "He does not just score ordinary goals but great goals and we hope he gets lots more for us. We can compare him perhaps to Michael Jordan."