Lionel Messi made more history as Barcelona got back to winning ways in LaLiga while Juventus’ unbeaten start to the Serie A season came to an abrupt end after losing 3-0 at home to struggling Fiorentina.
Messi scored for the 644th time for the Catalan giants in a routine 3-0 victory at Real Valladolid, with the Argentinian breaking Pele’s record for the most goals at a single club.
The Barca captain, into his 17th season at the Nou Camp, was teed up by a Pedri backheel midway through the second half before finding the back of the net with a trademark left-foot finish.
By this stage, the visitors were already cruising thanks to first-half goals from Clement Lenglet and Martin Braithwaite as they extended their unbeaten run to four matches.
They were held at home to Valencia at the weekend but took charge on Tuesday night when Lenglet headed home from Messi’s cross after 21 minutes while Braithwaite turned in Sergino Dest’s ball from the right after half an hour.
Messi then ensured he would claim the headlines, having equalled Pele’s record at the weekend, as Barca stayed fifth in the table.
League leaders Atletico Madrid moved three points clear of nearest challengers and city rivals Real after a routine 2-0 victory at third-placed Real Sociedad.
Mario Hermoso struck just after the interval and Marcos Llorente gave the away side breathing room a quarter of an hour from the end as Atletico, who have a game in hand over Real Madrid, consolidated their lead at the summit.
Lionel Messi has scored his 644th goal for @FCBarcelona. He’s beaten @Pele’s record of most goals scored at a single club. This is a record that no one thought would ever be beaten. It will never be beaten again. 👏🏻👏🏻
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 22, 2020
Fourth-placed Villarreal missed the chance to take advantage of Sociedad’s slip-up after being held to a 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao, who took the lead through Inaki Williams only to be pegged back by substitute Yeremi Pino.
Elsewhere, Suso struck nine minutes from time to give Sevilla a 1-0 win at Valencia.
Gonzalo Melero rescued a 1-1 draw for Levante at rock-bottom Huesca, who took the lead through Javi Ontiveros’ first-half penalty only to be denied a second win of the campaign as they conceded after the interval.
Ruben Garcia and Darko Brasanac scored as second-bottom Osasuna twice took the lead at Elche, who claimed a 2-2 draw thanks to goals from Fidel and Guido Carrillo. Osasuna had Inigo Perez sent off late on.
In Serie A, Juventus succumbed to a galling result which leaves the defending champions well adrift of league leaders AC Milan.
The Bianconeri thrashed Parma at the weekend but fell behind after just three minutes following Dusan Vlahovic’s finish while matters worsened for the home side a quarter of an hour later when Juan Cuadrado was sent off.
Andrea Pirlo reshuffled his pack, taking off Aaron Ramsey after 20 minutes, to the chagrin of the Welshman who kicked over a bottle upon leaving the field, but the sacrifice made a minimal impact as Juve struggled with 10 men.
Franck Ribery, whose defence-splitting pass allowed Vlahovic to score the opener, teed up Cristiano Biraghi and his cross was inadvertently turned into the net by Alex Sandro after 76 minutes.
Martin Caceres then added salt into the wounds five minutes later, the former Juventus man completing a simple finish after a low ball across the six-yard box from the Biraghi.
— ACF Fiorentina English (@ACFFiorentinaEN) December 22, 2020
Victory moved Fiorentina five points clear of the relegation zone while Juve, who had won six and drawn six of their 12 games in the Italian top-flight this season, are now seven points off table-topping Milan.
Elsewhere on Tuesday night, Crotone climbed off the foot of the standings as they claimed only their second win of the campaign, edging out fellow strugglers Parma 2-1.
Junior Messias struck in the 24th and 44th minutes, meaning Juraj Kucka’s goal before the hour was a mere consolation for Parma.