Lionel Messi hits 301 career goals mark in Rayo rout

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi took his senior career goals tally to 301 as he scored twice in Barcelona’s 5-0 victory at Rayo Vallecano, which put them three points clear at the top of La Liga on Saturday.

The World Player of the Year got Barca’s second just after half time and finished off the rout with another at the end.

The 25-year-old has now scored 270 goals for his club and 31 for Argentina.

Spain players David Villa, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas scored the others as Barcelona continued their unbeaten start under new coach Tito Vilanova and moved on to 25 points from nine games.

“We are delighted for Lionel,” Vilanova told a news conference. “He has scored a couple of goals but I prefer to remember the moment when he ran 30 metres to help out in defence in the 89th minute. I love the goals, but I like this more.”

Malaga are third with 18 points after a disappointing 0-0 draw at struggling Espanyol, while Real Betis beat Valencia 1-0 to
move up to fourth on 16 thanks to Salva Sevilla’s early goal.

Second-placed Atletico Madrid, with 22 points host bottom club Osasuna on Sunday when champions Real Madrid, in fifth with
14 points, travel to Real Mallorca.

Barca, with midfielder Sergio Busquets and fullback Adriano Correia deputising in central defence, were under a lot of pressure
from hard-running Rayo before taking control in Vallecas.

NAN/REUTERS

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