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Lionel Messi's 500 career goals: Why the Barcelona star reached landmark two months earlier than people think


It wasn't just the result between Barcelona and Valencia that got supporters talking.
Not only did the loss leave Luis Enrique's side level on points with Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga, but it was also the clash in which the Argentina international reached a landmark of 500 career goals.
But had he reached this tally already?
Messi has 450 goals in 525 appearances for Barca's first team and 50 for his country, Argentina – but this figure doesn't include those netted for his club's second and third team.
In his early days, the 28-year-old scored a combined total of 11 goals for the Catalan giants' B and C teams, in the Spanish third and fourth tiers, bringing his career goal total to 511.
Though Barca B represent the club's reserves and the now defunct C team represented the youth side, both teams were playing senior level, competitive Spanish league football when Messi scored.

To deny those goals from Messi's career statistics is the equivalent of saying, for example, the 16 goals Harry Kane scored while on loan at Leicester, Millwall and Leyton Orient, in the lower divisions, don't count towards his career total.
The only distinction that should be made is between competitive and non-competitive games (ie. friendlies or pre-season competitions shouldn't be counted) and senior and youth level games. Messi's 11 goals for Barcelona B and C were scored in senior-level competitive fixtures.
The Argentine therefore hit the 500 landmark back in Barcelona's 3-1 victory over Sporting Gijon on February 17, 2016.

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