Lionel Messi: FC Barcelona captain closing in on remarkable Pele goal-scoring record

Messi has scored 597 career goals in 679 games.
Messi has scored 597 career goals in 679 games.

FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi moved three goals away from reaching 600 club career goals with his brace against Manchester United this week and increasingly closer to the elusive record held by Brazil legend Pele.

Messi, 31, currently leads the race for the Pichichi (LaLiga Golden Boot), European Golden Shoe and is now the UEFA Champions League top-scorer after his exploits against the Red Devils at the Camp Nou this week.

With 45 goals in in 42 games, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner has further extended his record tally with the Blaugrana to a hat-trick away from 600 strikes.

The overall total of 597 to date has been achieved via 416 LaLiga goals, 110 Champions League strikes, a nice round 50 in the Copa del Rey, 13 in the Spanish Super Cup, 5 at the Club World Cup and three in the European Super Cup.

While Messi's greatest scoring season remains 2011-12, when he managed a remarkable 73 goals in all competitions, he is also closing in on another significant milestone.

Pelé’s long-standing record of official club goals scored stands at 643 for Santos between 1956 and 1974, a figure Messi is now 46 goals shy of.