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01.03.2009 10:00

Messi set for 100 league appearances

Berta Brau

Lionel Messi is in line to make his 100th league appearance for FC Barcelona on Sunday if he appears in the encounter against Atlético de Madrid just over four years since he made his first team debut.

The Argentinian played his first official game at the highest level four years, four months and 13 days ago and is preparing to reach the landmark century of games on Sunday in Vicente Calderón.

Becoming a regular

During the 2006-07 campaign, Messi played 26 matches in the first season that he could be deemed to be a regular in the side and he has continued to cement his place at the club. The forward's rise to prominence has seen him become on of the first names on the team sheet, so much so that this term he has played in 21 of the 24 league games for Pep Guardiola's team.

99 parties, 47 goals

ESpanyol-fcb-Messi.jpgIn the league, Messi has played 99 matches and to be more exact, for 6,677 minute, and has netted an impressive tally of 47 goals. His first goal for the team came in his first appearance when he netted against Espanyol in the Estadi Lluís Companys on October 16, 2004.

More games, more goals

fcb-recre-messi.jpgMessi's evolution as a player has coincided with his evolution a goalscorer. In his first season in la Primera he played in seven games and scored just once, but the following campaign, in 2005-06, he scored six times in 17 appearances. He continued to improve and a year later he netted 14 goals in 26 appearances and last term managed ten goals in 28 outings.

Current campaign

messi1.jpgWithout doubt though, Messi's best season is the current one as he already has scored 16 goals in his 21 league games this term meaning that he has an average of 0.76 goals-per-game.

Landmark year

If Messi continues along the same line, then this season will be a campaign that will be remembered for some time to come. Along with scoring the 5,000th league goal in the history of the club in El Sardinero and the 50th goal of the season, against Basel, have already seen him write his name in the history books. Now he goes in to this 100th match needing just three more goals to reach 50 goals in his league career.
Messi set for 100 league appearances
Calderón ovation
The Vicente Calderón is a ground that Messi has fond memories of as he prepared to mark a century of league games for Barcelona. Earlier this term he netted a hat-trick against Atlético de Madrid in the Copa del Rey and was applauded by the home fans.

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