With his hat trick against Sevilla, Lionel Messi etched his name in the record book this weekend, breaking the 60-year La Liga all-time goals record of 251.

The Barcelona maestro equaled Telmo Zarra’s long-standing record with a free kick, then added two more goals from open play for good measure.

Zarra needed 277 games to set the record during his time with Athletic Bilbao from 1940-1955. Messi topped the astronomical goal tally in a few more games – 289 – but Messi is still only 27 years old.

Despite all the acclaim, Messi’s style and play deserves to be applauded more than his career numbers and statistics. The greatest players in history aren’t only known for their records, but for the manner in which they played the game, Ray Hudson said on The Football Show Tuesday.

For a player that played himself into the conversation with Pele or Maradona by winning the Champions League, shattering records and winning the Ballon d’Or award four times already, the question is, “What’s next?” In order to last in the long run, Messi needs to change his mentality as he enters the next phase of his carer, according to Tim Stannard of La Liga Loca.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi will always be mentioned together in the game’s history, with the Real Madrid star closely marking most of the Argentine’s records. However, this goal count may be too far out of reach. Messi is nearly three years younger than his rival and currently has 53 more La Liga goals than Ronaldo, who moved to Real Madrid from Manchester United in 2009.

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