Skip to main content

Magical Messi shows no sign of stopping

Barcelona star Lionel Messi scored for the 18th consecutive league game as Barcelona eased to a 3-1 victory over Rayo Vallecano at Camp Nou. The striker scored twice to take his tally to 55 for the season with 42 of those coming in the league. Barcelona star Lionel Messi scored for the 18th consecutive league game as Barcelona eased to a 3-1 victory over Rayo Vallecano at Camp Nou. The striker scored twice to take his tally to 55 for the season with 42 of those coming in the league.
HIDE CAPTION
Magic Messi
Deadly Diego
Malaga meltdown
Warning Hazard
Berbatov's back
Muscle man
Why always me?
Frankly speaking
Beckham's back
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Lionel Messi scores twice in Barcelona's 3-1 win over Rayo Vallecano
  • Argentina star has now scored in 18 consecutive league games
  • Chelsea move third in EPL as Tottenham slips up
  • Napoli keeps pressure on Serie A leader Juventus

(CNN) -- Records are there to be broken -- but how many more records can one man break?

Lionel Messi extended his goalscoring run in La Liga to 18 consecutive matches after scoring twice in Barcelona's 3-1 win over Rayo Vallecano Sunday.

Messi, the four-time World Player of the Year, scored an unparalleled 91 goals for club and country in 2012, surpassing the previous record of 85 set by Germany's Gerd Muller in 1972.

The 25-year-old, who reportedly earns $14.75 million a year, looked an absolute bargain as he helped Barcelona restore its 13-point cushion at the top of the table.

Read: Messi's left foot -- yours for $5.25 million

Becker: Ronaldo the tennis ace?
CNN FC: English clubs in crisis?
Is there a crisis in English football?

Messi has already scored 55 goals for Barcelona so far this season, 42 of those in La Liga with 13 in other competitions.

An incredible 29 goals have come in his past 18 league games -- a streak which has seen any suggestion of a slump consigned to the garbage.

Consecutive defeats to arch rival Real Madrid and the Champions League first leg defeat in Milan had left question marks over Barcelona's form.

But the 4-0 thrashing of Milan last week proved Barca means business and it could have had five or six against Rayo had it moved out of second gear.

Read: Messi passes another milestone

With coach Tito Vilanova expected to be back in the dug-out for the next game against Celta Vigo following cancer treatment, Barcelona looks in great shape to wrestle the league title back from Real Madrid.

Elsewhere in La Liga, Atletico Madrid kept up the pressure on second place Real with a 2-0 win at Osasuna courtesy of Diego Costa's double.

There was a shock defeat for Champions League quarterfinalist Malaga, which was beaten 2-0 at home by Espanyol, while Sevilla strolled to a 4-0 win over Real Zaragoza.

Read: Beckham shows he can still cut it

David Beckham returned to the scene of his infamous red card in the 1998 World Cup as his Paris Saint-Germain side was held to a 2-2 draw at Saint-Etienne.

Didi Hamann on beating AC Milan
CNN Football Club: Nani's controversial red
Are German teams the best in Europe?

Beckham was sent off during England's last-16 tie with Argentina after kicking out at Diego Simeone -- an incident which led to him being vilified following the team's exit on penalties.

But it was a less eventful evening for Beckham on this occasion, although he did come close to winning the tie late on with one of his trademark free kicks.

PSG had moved into a two-goal lead thanks to strikes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Javier Pastore.

But the home side rallied and an own-goal from Alex halved the deficit before Francois Clerc grabbed an equalizer.

The result leaves PSG five points clear of nearest challenge Lyon at the top of Ligue 1.

Read: Chelsea into Europa League last eight

In the English Premier League, Chelsea moved into third place following a 2-0 win over West Ham at Stamford Bridge.

Frank Lampard's 200th goal for the club and an Eden Hazard effort sealed the points for Rafa Benitez's side.

Chelsea's win took it above Tottenham, which suffered an embarrassing 1-0 home defeat by Fulham.

Managed by former Spurs boss Martin Jol, it was another former employee who did the damage with Dimitar Berbatov scoring Fulham's winner.

Read: 'Mind the gap'

Wigan kept its hope of survival alive with a late 2-1 win over Newcastle in a game which was marred by an awful tackle by Callum McManaman on visiting defender Massadio Haidara.

Haidara was taken off on a stretcher to hospital with suspected ligament damage, while McManaman escaped any disciplinary action from referee Mark Halsey.

"It is an awful challenge. The pictures speak for themselves," Newcastle manager Alan Pardew told reporters.

The death of Dutch amateur linesman Richard Nieuwenhuizen shocked a nation. Niewenhuizen was beaten to death following a youth match, with six teenagers and a father set to face trial over the killing. Nieuwenhuizen's death prompted a rule change in Dutch soccer, meaning that only team captains can speak with referees -- any other player who does so will be booked. The death of Dutch amateur linesman Richard Nieuwenhuizen shocked a nation. Niewenhuizen was beaten to death following a youth match, with six teenagers and a father set to face trial over the killing. Nieuwenhuizen's death prompted a rule change in Dutch soccer, meaning that only team captains can speak with referees -- any other player who does so will be booked.
Tragic death
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
Referees faced with violence Referees faced with violence
Olivier Giroud gave Arsenal the perfect start when he slammed home from close-range after Theo Walcott had got in behind the Bayern defense. Following a 3-1 defeat in the first leg, Arsenal needed a fast start and it got it. Olivier Giroud gave Arsenal the perfect start when he slammed home from close-range after Theo Walcott had got in behind the Bayern defense. Following a 3-1 defeat in the first leg, Arsenal needed a fast start and it got it.
Gem from Giroud
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
>
>>
Bayern clings on Bayern clings on
Leo Messi gave Barcelona the perfect start by curling home an exquisite effort with just five minutes on the clock following a wonderfully intricate team move. Trailing 2-0 from the first leg, Barca laid siege to the Milan goal with Andres Iniesta's shot turned onto the crossbar. Leo Messi gave Barcelona the perfect start by curling home an exquisite effort with just five minutes on the clock following a wonderfully intricate team move. Trailing 2-0 from the first leg, Barca laid siege to the Milan goal with Andres Iniesta's shot turned onto the crossbar.
Magic Messi
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
Barca blows Milan away Barca blows Milan away

"I thought it was a bad challenge and I was 60 yards from the incident. The players knew because they were on top of it and there was a lot of bad feeling about that incident when it goes unpunished."

Elsewhere, Norwich was held to a 1-1 draw at Sunderland.

Read: Inter hit with fine for racial abuse of former striker Balotelli

In Italy, Edinson Cavani's double took Napoli to within nine points of Serie A leader Juventus.

With nine games of the season remaining, Walter Mazzari's side could ill-afford any further slip-ups and had to be at its best to see off Atalanta 3-2.

"I'm happy for Cavani and for (Goran) Pandev after their goals but also for securing the three points," Mazzarri told reporters.

"It remained close right up to the end and it was an edgy finish."

Mario Balotelli scored twice in Milan's 2-0 win over Palermo, while Inter's game at Sampdoria was postponed because of heavy snow and rain.

Francesco Totti scored his 226th Serie A goal as Roma moved up to sixth after a 2-0 win over Parma.

But Lazio suffered a 1-0 defeat in Turin as a late goal by Jonathas secured victory for Torino.

In Germany, Eintracht Frankfurt suffered a 2-1 home defeat by Stuttgart, while Borussia Moenchengladbach defeated 10-man Hanover 1-0.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
CNN Football Club
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
The 1989 Hillsborough stadium tragedy, which claimed 96 lives, brought the red and the blue halves of Liverpool together.
CNN's Don Riddell says the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy has caused irreparable damage to the families of the 96 victims and the survivors.
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
The Champions league trophy stands on show during the draw for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions league at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon on March 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO/FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Two European heavyweights will collide in the Champions League semifinals after Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were drawn together in Switzerland.
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
West Bromwich Albion's French striker Nicolas Anelka looks on during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, central England, on January 1, 2014.
England prides itself on being the home of football, but is the nation dysfunctional in dealing with racist abuse?
March 18, 2014 -- Updated 1339 GMT (2139 HKT)
In a city where football is a religion, Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge is fast becoming a deity.
French former football player Zinedine Zidane reacts during the gala football 'Match Against Poverty' organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on March 4, 2014 in Bern.
Some of the biggest names in football lined up for a charity match, but CNN's Tom McGowan wonders if they can help beat poverty.
March 4, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
"Everyone is scared about war -- they are very nervous," former Ukraine football star Oleg Luzhny says of the rising tensions with Russia.
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 1807 GMT (0207 HKT)
Bayern Munich's present success rests on one key decision, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge tells CNN.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 0922 GMT (1722 HKT)
Neymar
"More than a Club." It is an image Barcelona has carefully cultivated, but could the controversial deal to sign Neymar sour that view?
February 1, 2014 -- Updated 1825 GMT (0225 HKT)
Affectionately known as "the wise man of Hortaleza," Luis Aragones -- who died aged 75 -- left the legacy of helping Spain's ascension to the top.
January 23, 2014 -- Updated 2118 GMT (0518 HKT)
Real Madrid hasn't won the European Champions League in over a decade, but the Spanish club is invincible in one field -- making money.
The naming of the world's best footballer is not all that it seems, says CNN's James Masters.
ADVERTISEMENT