There is always a constant debate about who is the best player in the world; whether it is Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. Regardless of which side you stand, there is no question the Argentine is one of the great players in the history of the game.
His individual and collective achievements speak for themselves as he looks to continue adding to his already amazing collection of awards with Barcelona. Messi has had many iconic moments throughout his career, but we want to focus on his achievements throughout the past couple of seasons as he has won several awards.
Most of these achievements on our list are individual awards, but there some collective achievements included as well. Sit back and enjoy Lionel Messi’s most successful achievements since 2015 season.
25. Performance against Liverpool
After eliminating Manchester United in the quarterfinals, Barcelona took on Liverpool in the semifinals of the 2018/2019 Champions League edition, which the first league being played in the Camp Nou stadium. The tie was seen as a tight encounter which could go either way.
However, the Blaugranas would draw first blood by winning the first leg 3-0 with two goals by Messi, which included a brilliant free kick goal. Although Liverpool would overturn the result and go on to win the second leg at Anfield 4-0 and advanced to Champions League final, the first leg game was one of Messi best overall performances.
24. Goal against Betis
Another spectacular goal in Messi’s career came during the 2018/2019 season in a league game in Sevilla against Real Betis. Barcelona would win the game by a score of 0-5 and Messi would get three goals, but all the talk after the game was about his incredible third goal.
In the second half, with Barcelona leading, Messi was given a simple pass at the edge of the box when he easily kicked it and lobbed it over the head of the keeper. He even received a standing ovation by the Betis fans. A goal that is sometimes overlooked, but is arguably one Messi’s greatest individual goals he has scored in his career.
23. Performance against Tottenham
In the 2018/2019 Champions League campaign, Messi played one of his best European games of his Barcelona career. It was a group stage game against Tottenham and the match took place at the legendary Wembley Stadium.
Throughout the game, Messi was constantly a threat as Tottenham defenders struggled to stop him. It was seen as a tough encounter for Barcelona, but the Blaugranas quickly opened the score and took full control. Messi would score two goals and was involved in every dangerous opportunity, which would see Barcelona win by a 4-2 scoreline.
22. La Liga Best Player
Messi has won countless individual awards throughout his career and will continue to win many more as long as he continues his professional career. Some of those awards include being named the La Liga Best Player.
Between 2015 and 2019, Messi won the leagues Best Player award in four of those five seasons as a result of Barcelona winning four league titles and Messi finishing as the La Liga top scorer in consecutive seasons. His great individual performances also played an important part in winning this award.
21. Tricky Penalty
During the 2015/2016 season, Barcelona played a La Liga game against Celta de Vigo at the Camp Nou. At a certain point, they were award a penalty and Messi would step up, as expected, to take the penalty.
However, instead of taking a direct penalty, Messi tapped the ball to the side as Neymar took advantage and scored. Although the Celta players were lost and confused, it was a legal play and the goal counted. Despite the goal, it counted as a penalty miss, which is a stat Messi is not popular with.
20. Argentina’s all time leading goal scorer
Messi probably does not have the same popularity with the Argentine national team as he does with Barcelona. However, despite the difficulties and the constant comparison with Maradona, he is Argentina’s all time leading goal scorer, breaking the previous record which had been held by the legendary striker Gabriel Batistuta.
He is still yet to win a major competition with Argentina as looks to finally bring back silverware to his native country. In spite of this, Messi can at least say he is Argentina’s all time leading goal scorer and by a good distance.
19. La Liga top goal scorer
Messi has been named the La Liga top goal scorer, also known as the Pichichi award, on several occasions. However, a portion of them have come just in the past few seasons with a great a amount of goals.
Between 2015 and 2019, Messi would go on to win three consecutive Pichichi awards, scoring at least 30 goals in each of those campaigns. These goal numbers are not as high as they use to be early on in Messi’s career, but they are still a ridiculous amount of goals even for an elite player to achieve in a season.
18. Goals against every Conmebol team
Playing in Conmebol is extremely difficult and the qualifications cycles are always complicated even for the top teams. Seeing high scoring games can sometimes be hard to come by and only a small group of players have been able to score against every Conmebol team. In fact, no Argentine player had ever scored against every South American team.
Messi would break that trend in the 2016 and became the first Argentine national team player to score against every Conmebol team during a game against Bolivia, which was the only team he had not scored against.
17. Copa del Rey titles
Barcelona are the club which have won the most Copa del Rey titles and have achieved consecutive cup trophies since the 2008/2009 seasons. However, between 2015 and 2019, Barcelona would reach five straight cup finals and won four consecutive Copa del Rey Finals, only losing the 2018/2019 edition to Valencia.
As is no surprise, Messi played an instrumental part in helping the club win those finals as they defeated Athletic Bilbao, Sevilla on two occasions, and Alavés. In fact, Messi’s most iconic moment was his individual goal in the 2014/2015 final against Athletic Bilbao.
16. Performance against Panamá in 2016 Copa América
In the 2016 Copa América Centenario, Messi would play arguably his best tournament with Argentina. He scored a total of five goals throughout the competition, appeared in many big moments, and helped Argentina reach the Copa America final where they would lose on a penalty shootout to Chile.
His best individual performance in the tournament came in the group stage game while playing against Panamá. In that encounter, Argentina would go on to win by a score of 5-0, with Messi scoring a hat-trick.
15. Individual goals against Athletic Bilbao
In the 2014/2015 Copa del Rey final, Barcelona took on Athletic Bilbao with the game being played in the Camp Nou stadium. Although Barcelona were heavy favorites, Bilbao were in search of their first cup title since the 1983/1984 season.
However, the game would quickly get out of Athletic’s reach when Messi scored one of his best individual goals as he took out four defenders, at one point splitting three of them at the same time, as he beat the keeper to give Barcelona the lead. Eventually Barcelona would go on to win the final 3-1 to claim the Copa del Rey title.
14. All time goal scorer
Messi is not just Barcelona’s all time leading goal scorer, he did it record fashion. The previous record had been set by César Rodríguez, who set the record almost a century ago by scoring 233 goals in 290 appearances.
However, after Messi made his debut, he began to score goals at a rapid pace no other Barcelona player had ever done before and would back go on to become the club’s all time leading goal scorer during the 2011/2012.
13. Copa América Finals
Although Messi is still yet to win a major competition with Argentina, he did help them reach two Copa America Finals in the 2015 and 2016 editions. In both finals, Argentina not just lost to the same opponent, Chile, they lost in the same fashion; on penalties.
Although Messi only scored one goal in the 2015 edition, he would go on to have his best individual tournament with Argentina in then 2016 Copa Centenario where he would a grand total of five goals. Additionally, he also played an important part in helping Argentina reach the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final.
12. Performance against Ecuador to qualify for 2018 World Cup
Argentina struggled throughout the entire 2018 World Cup qualification cycle, even needing to change head coaches on more than one occasion. There was constant turmoil within the team as they entered the final game as they needed a win over Ecuador in Quito to qualify for the World Cup in Russia.
Although Ecuador were already eliminated from World Cup contention, they determined to make things difficult for Argentina and took an early first half lead. However, Messi quickly equalized and would score a hat-trick as Argentina won 3-1 and qualified for the World Cup.
11. World Cup goal against Nigeria
After drawing to Iceland and losing to Croatia, Argentina need to win their final group game against Nigeria if they wanted to advance to knockout stages of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Although they were favorites, they struggled to play well and reports surfaced of internal problems between the coaches and players.
However, Argentina got off to the perfect start when Messi opened the scoring early in the game. Argentina would eventually go on to win 2-1 and advanced to the knockout stage.
10. La Liga titles with Barcelona
Barcelona have enjoyed great La Liga success, especially since the 2004/2005 season. However, between 2015 and 2019, the Blaugranas would go on to win a total of four league titles. In fact, in some editions, they would win them by more than 10 points to arch rivals Real Madrid in the league standings.
In those championship seasons, Messi finished as the league top scorer in two of those campaigns, won the award for the best league striker in the 2014/2015 season, and was named the La Liga best player on three of those occasions.
9. Comeback against PSG
In the 2016/2017 season, Barcelona took on PSG in the round of 16 of the Champions League. In the first leg, Barcelona had lost by 4-0 in Paris and were needing a miracle in the second leg back in the Camp Nou if they wanted to advance. Despite the low expectations, they got of to the perfect start as Luis Suarez opened the scoring within the first minute and would take a 2-0 lead into halftime.
Messi made it 3-0 early in the second half from the penalty spot, but the comeback looked to be over when PSG scored to make it 3-1; 5-3 on aggregate. However, Barcelona would pull off the comeback in the final minutes, with Sergi Roberto scoring the game winner in stoppage time to win the game 6-1, 6-5 on aggregate, and take Barcelona to the next round.
8. Performance against the United States
In the 2016 Copa America Centenario, Argentina were playing and enjoyed some consistent performances, which would see them reach the semifinals of the competition where they would face the United States. Although Argentina were heavy favorites, the U.S. were the host country and looking to reach the final.
However, the game would be a mismatch for the United States as Argentina would win by a score of 4-0, giving the Americans no chance. Messi would play one of his best games with the Argentine jersey as he would score a goal and give two assists.
7. Game winning goal against Real Madrid
Messi has had many important moments against Real Madrid through his career. He scored hat-tricks in more than one Clásico and has been a part of a couple of blow out wins. However, the game played in the Santiago Bernabeu during the 2016/2017 season could arguably be Messi’s most iconic moment. With Real Madrid ahead in the table, Barcelona needed a win if they wanted any chance of winning the La Liga title.
It was a crazy game with both teams leading at one point, but with the scored tied at 2-2, it looked like the match would end in a draw. However, a last minute counter attack led to Messi scoring from the edge of the box to give Barcelona an important 3-2 win. Even though Barcelona would not win the league title, this win made things interesting until the final game of the season.
6. All time La Liga goal scorer
Messi is not just Barcelona’s all time leading goal scorer, he is also the player who has scored the most league goals and by a good distance. Messi has scored more than 400 goals in La Liga since making his debut.
The previous record had been help by Athletic Bilbao legend, Telmo Zarra, who had set it at 251 career La Liga goals. The only player who comes close to Messi La Liga tally is Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored a grand total of 311 league goals during his La Liga career while playing with Real Madrid in the league.
5. Record 700 goals
During the season 2019/2020 season, Messi made history when he scored his 700th goal in his career. A remarkable achievement which has only seen a selected group of player achieve this record of goals. It came in a La Liga encounter against Atlético de Madrid at the Camp Nou from the penalty spot. Although it was a penalty, he did it in such style by chipping it into the goal.
What is even more remarkable is at the goal rate he has achieved this record (0.81 goals per game when he reached 700) and the fact he is still not yet close to retire. When he does retire, it will be incredible to see how many goals he can score in his career.
4. Champions League goals
Although Messi continues to play, he and Cristiano Ronaldo are the only players to score more than 100 goals in the Champions, and with good distance. In fact, the only player who comes close to them is Real Madrid legend, Raúl González, who scored a total of 71 goals in his Champions League career.
An incredible achievement, especially taking into consideration Messi made his official debut in the 2005 and would score his first Champions League goal early in the following season. A record he looks to continue adding as he hopes to bring another Champions League back to Barcelona.
3. Performance against Bayern Munich
After eliminating Manchester City and PSG in the knockout stages, Barcelona would take on Bayern Munich in the semifinals of the 2014/2015 Champions League campaign. It would be a unique encounter as it would see Messi go up against his former manager and Barcelona legend, Pep Guardiola.
The first leg played in Camp Nou was tight looked to end in a scoreless draw until Messi’s long range shot beat Manuel Neuer to open the scoring. However, it was his second goal that got all the attention as he turned Jerome Boetang and then chipped Neuer to score as Barcelona would go on to win by a 3-0 scoreline. The Blaugranas would seal the tie in the second leg and reached the Champions League final where they would take on Juventus.
2. Champions League title with Barcelona
During the 2014/2015 season, Barcelona would enjoy one of it’s best seasons in club history, which culminated in winnings Europe’s most prized possession. After winning the La Liga and Copa del Rey titles, the Blaugranas took on Juventus in the Champions League final, who had also won their domestic titles and looked to achieve an historic treble.
Despite Juventus making the game interesting, Barcelona would not let up and eventually went on to win the game by a 3-1 scoreline to claim yet another treble winning season. Although Messi did not score, he was heavily involved during the match and even played an important role in Barcelona’s second goal, which put them back on just after Juventus had equalized.
1. Ballon d’Or awards
Along with his collective achievements, Messi would add individual awards to his already impressive trophy cabinet. In 2015, he won his fifth Ballon d’Or after helping Barcelona to another treble in the 2014/2015 season, which included the Champions League trophy the club achieved over Juventus.
In addition, he would add another Ballon d’Or and won his first FIFA’s The Best award in 2019 as a result of his great goals and individual performances, which helped Barcelona win another La Liga title in the 2018/2019 season.