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Mar 21, 2012

Barca team-mates revel in Messi record

Barcelona players queued up to sing the praises of Lionel Messi after he broke the club's all-time scoring record, with Gerard Pique and Victor Valdes labelling him the "best ever".

• Messi breaks Barca record
• Lionel Messi: In pictures Photo Gallery

Messi hit a hat-trick in Tuesday night's 5-3 win over Granada to leapfrog Cesar Rodriguez at the top of the Barca scoring charts - the Argentina forward is now on 234 goals to his 232 - though it has taken Messi less than seven years to reach a total that took Cesar 13 years to establish.

The 24-year-old has now claimed a remarkable 54 goals from 45 games this season and should his current strike rate continue for the rest of the campaign, he could feasibly pass the 70-goal mark.

After Tuesday's match, Messi's team-mates revelled in his achievement in surpassing the club's scoring milestone - with Pique among the first to offer his congratulations.

"It's a pleasure to be in the same generation as him," Pique told Barcelona's official website. "I believe he's the best player in the history of the sport.

"It doesn't matter where he plays, if it's cold or hot, he always proves that he's the best.''

Goalkeeper Valdes also offered praise for the Argentina star, claiming "Messi will mark an era. He'll be the best ever", while Andres Iniesta said: "Great win!! Game by game we keep on adding three points! Congrats Leo, topscorer of Barca."

Isaac Cuenca added: "Leo Messi is amazing, he's the best in the world and he proves it on a daily basis. For me, he's the best ever. It will take years to see someone else do something similar to what Messi does. We have to enjoy him and his plays.''

Barca coach Pep Guardiola echoed the sentiments of his players in the post-match conference, agreeing with a reporter's assessment that Messi's domination in football is comparable to Michael Jordan's in basketball.

"You have few players who dominate like this, but he does it. You can compare him perfectly to Jordan," Guardiola said. "We are witnessing the best in every sense.

"He does everything, and he does it every three days. I'm sorry for those that want to sit on his throne, but this lad is the best. Hopefully we can enjoy his football for many more years.''

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