Turns out there’s still a La Liga record Lionel Messi still doesn’t own. Or didn’t, at least.
Messi’s assist on Arturo Vidal’s first-half goal Saturday made him the first player in La Liga history to record 20 goals and 20 assists in a single season. Barcelona beat Valladolid 1-0.
Messi has 22 goals total this season and now 20 assists. He’s just the second player this century to accomplish the feat in one of Europe’s top five leagues, and he did it in six less games than Thierry Henry did for Arsenal in 2002-03.
Messi is also the first player in La Liga to reach 20 assists since former Barcelona teammate Xavi in 2008-09.
Messi’s nifty flick and Vidal’s impressive composure and finish came at a key juncture for Barcelona, which needed a win to stand a reasonable chance of catching Real Madrid in the La Liga title chase this season.
Barcelona now trails by a single point but has also played one more game than its El Clásico rival. Real Madrid visits Granada on Monday, and while it’s been in fine form since the restart, Granada has only lost twice during that period as well.