On this day 2012: Lionel Messi hat-trick sets new Barcelona goalscoring record

Lionel Messi confirmed his leading role in Barcelona’s pantheon of greats on this day in 2012, breaking the club’s goalscoring record with a hat-trick against Granada.

The Argentina forward powered past Cesar Rodriguez’s benchmark of 232, which had stood since 1955, as he struck three times in a 5-3 thriller at the Nou Camp.

Messi equalled the record with his first goal – volleying home at the far post – and moved ahead with a trademark flourish.

Latching on to Dani Alves’ through ball, he produced a typically-classy lob to beat Julio Cesar and secure his long-anticipated place in the history books.

He was not done there, securing the match ball in the 88th minute when he rounded the goalkeeper and slammed his shot into the roof of the net between two covering defenders on the line.

Messi was in the midst of an unstoppable run of form, finishing the season with a remarkable 50 league goals and left his manager toasting him as the best in the business.

Former Barca head coach Pep Guardiola said: “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.

“He does everything and he does it every three days. Leo has rightfully entered into history.”

Messi’s love affair with the Catalan club finally came to an end in 2021, the 34-year-old tearfully departing for Paris St Germain after he had left an unimpeachable legacy behind.

His final scoring record stood at 672, including 474 in LaLiga and 120 in the Champions League, ousting Pele as the most goals for one player at a single club.