Lionel Messi broke Pelé’s all-time scoring milestone for their clubs by netting his 644th career goal for Barcelona today, while Atlético Madrid beat Real Sociedad 2-0 to increase its lead of the Spanish league.

Messi, who helped Barcelona win 3-0 at Valladolid, had equaled Pelé’s all-time scoring tally on Saturday. His 643rd career goal for Barcelona since his 2004 debut matched Pelé’s tally for Santos from 1957-74.

For his 644th — Barcelona’s third of the night — Messi had help from 18-year-old Pedro “Pedri” González.

After receiving the ball near the edge of the area, Pedri deftly rolled his boot over the ball to push it behind him to meet the Argentine’s run. The slick pass left Messi clear to finally beat goalie Jordi Masip, who had denied with twice.

“When I began playing, I never thought I would break any record, much less the one I have surpassed today that belonged to Pelé,” Messi wrote on Instagram. “I only want to give my thanks to all those who have helped me all these years, my teammates, my family, my friends and those who support me every day.”

In a meeting between the front-runner and the sensation of the league this season, Atlético put on another dominant performance to show why it is the early title favourite.

Diego Simeone’s team took full advantage of its best scoring opportunities and its defense remained airtight from start to finish.

Mario Hermoso headed in a free kick by Yannick Carrasco to put the visitors at San Sebastián ahead four minutes after halftime. Marcos Llorente put the result beyond doubt in the 74th with a powerful strike from the edge of the area.

Atlético moved three points clear of second-place Real Madrid. Sociedad was left in third place at six points adrift. The Basque Country club had led the league earlier this season but has now gone six rounds without a victory.

Barcelona stayed in fifth place at eight points behind Atlético.

Atlético has one more game to play than both Madrid and Barcelona and three more games to play than Sociedad.

TVNZ

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