La Liga returned at the weekend and while much has changed in the world since the biggest and best Spain has to offer graced a football pitch, it is good to know that one thing has remained a constant – the goalscoring relentlessness of Lionel Messi.

The Argentine forward, widely regarded by most as the greatest to have ever graced the planet, had the eyes of the world on him on Saturday evening, not just those of a Catalonian persuasion, and he did not disappoint.

Barcelona ran out 4-0 winners away to La Liga strugglers Real Mallorca, with the diminutive attacker lighting up the match once again.

He set two of the goals up and scored the other two, on a night where his sparkle shone brightly to reassure that despite the testing times, there is still a normality about events.

The brace that Messi scored on the evening took him to 20 strikes for the La Liga season, even though there is still a quarter of the campaign to play.

That is a pretty startling statistic in its own right, but what makes it even more incredible is that this is the 12th successive term in which the Argentine has made it to that mark.

To put that into context, in the history of the Premier League, nobody has scored more than the 260 goals of Alan Shearer. His efforts came over 16 campaigns, but he only managed four consecutive seasons with 20 or more goals, whereas Messi has blown that out of the water.

The other thing it highlights is the incredible longevity of the forward. 12 years is a long time to regularly be fit and ready to step onto the pitch and offer the best week in and week out.

There are a number of things which make Messi stand out as the best in the world. This latest statistic just reinforces it further.

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