Lionel Messi has moved level with Xavi as Barcelona’s record appearance maker in La Liga in his side’s 5-1 win over Alaves on Saturday.
The Argentine matched his former captain’s tally of 505 league appearances for the club and is likely to hold the record by himself when Barcelona play Cadiz on February 21 in their next La Liga assignment.
Messi’s current teammate Sergio Busquets sits fourth in the list with 399 appearances, behind Andres Iniesta, while Gerard Pique also features in the top ten.
Xavi also holds the record for most Barcelona appearances across all competitions with 767, a figure which Messi is now just eight games short of himself.
It is over 16 years since Barcelona’s star man his debut for the club, off the bench against Espanyol in October 2004.
Since then he has scored 651 times, winning ten La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues while cementing his status as one of the best to ever play the game.
It is uncertain how much longer the Argentine will remain at Barcelona though, as he came closer than ever to leaving last summer and his desire to find a new club appears unlikely to have disappeared.
As has come to be expected of the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, Messi celebrated the appearance milestone in style with two goals in a comfortable Barcelona win.
The 33-year-old was initially denied a goal when he had one chalked off for offside, but he soon got on the scoresheet from 25-yards with Barcelona’s second goal.
He has scored in each of Barcelona’s last five matches, and he doubled his tally on the night from a similar range to his first with a superb curling strike.
The win leaves the Spanish giants second in La Liga, above Real Madrid on goal difference, but still eight points behind Atletico Madrid who have a game in hand over both clubs.