Argentine soccer paragon Lionel Messi reached a new level of perfection by scoring a record five goals for Barcelona against Bayer Leverkusen Wednesday night, a feat never achieved in a Champions League match.
With Messi leading the onslaught, Barcelona decimated German team Bayer Leverkusen 7-1 and will advance to the quarterfinals with a 10-2 win record.
Without Messi, Barca is the best team, Leverkusen coach Robin Dutt said, AP reported. And with him, they are in another galaxy.
The 24-year-old goal-scoring phenom netted the first three goals of the match, scoring in the 25th, 42nd and 49th minutes and earning his 17th career hat trick for Barcelona, seven in this season alone. Messi topped it off with two more in the 58th and 84th minutes, setting a new Champion's League record and a personal one as well with the first five-goal game of his professional career.
I can't remember the last time I scored five goals, so I'm very happy, Messi said, AP reported. It's nice to score five goals.
Messi has racked up 48 goals for Barcelona this season, 12 of which were scored in the Champions League. He has now scored 49 goals over the course of his Champions League career, tying fellow Argentine player Alfredo Di Stefano, long retired, for fourth on the European Cup/Champions League career list, AP reported.
At 5 feet 6-and-a-half inches (1.69 meters), Messi is still a powerhouse and a legend in the making. Since he first joined Barceloa, he has accumulated 228 goals, seven away from tying César Rodríguez for the club's all-time top career scoring record, AP reported.
He's the best. There is no other like him, Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said, AP reported. The numbers speak for themselves. One day he'll score six. We're very fortunate to have Messi, so we have to take advantage of him.
We'll never see a player like him again, Guardiola added. He is one of a kind.
Watch video of the match highlights and Messi's goals here: