Lionel Messi has scored exactly 500 goals in his last 500 Barcelona games Barcelona’s Lionel Messi will be remembered as one of the greatest sportspeople in history. His achievements in the beautiful game have been so remarkable that he could hang up his boots tomorrow and it wouldn’t taken the sheen away from what has been a stunning career.
Therefore, every extra game and season we get to see Messi take to the pitch, it feels like a treat and he’s simply sprinkling as many cherries on top of his career as possible. It’s sometimes easy to take Messi for granted and it was similarly simple to forget that he was 32 years old when he romped his way to a sixth Ballon d’Or trophy last year.
Many top footballers find themselves on a steady slide during their late twenties, but Messi was bagging 51 goals from just 50 matches to crown himself the top scorer in European football.
Now, Quique Setien will become the latest Barcelona manager to profit from their star player and he already got a taste of what’s to come during his first game in the Blaugrana’s dugout. Opening up with a 1-0 home win over Granada didn’t exactly have pulses racing, but it was the manner in which Barcelona bagged the winner on 76 minutes that will live long in the memory.
There was a real throwback to the ‘tiki-taka’ days of Pep Guardiola with the combination play between Antoine Griezmann and Arturo Vidal, before you-know-who provided the finishing touch. And as the case seems to be with almost every goal of Messi’s, it saw him produce another superb record that one of the club’s official accounts couldn’t help tweeting out.
According to Barcelona’s Turkish page, Messi’s goal at the weekend means that he has now scored exactly 500 times in his last 500 games for the Catalans. Messi has also chipped in with 200 assists during the same time period, while his record of 358 wins, 89 draws and 53 defeats hammers home just how successful Barca have been with him.
To average a goal every game over half a thousand matches is simply staggering and Messi is one of very few footballers in history, if any, who could possibly have managed it. Sadly, though, there won’t be another 500 matches for Messi at Camp Nou, unless he proves himself to be truly alien with some sort of youth elixir.
You’d like to think that Barca will extend his contract beyond the current terminus of 2021, but it would be naive to ignore the fact that Messi’s playing days are gradually winding down. So, let this serve as the 500th reason to be grateful for the fact we’ve all had the pleasure of watching Messi achieve things that the history books will never do justice.
The ninth edition of the FIBA 3×3 World Tour – the flagship competition of the FIBA 3×3 professional season – will feature an all-time best 13 Masters and a final in Riyadh in November 2020.
The World Tour season continues to stretch in 2020. The season debut in Doha on April 2-3 will be the earliest World Tour event ever played. The final in late November will be – by far – the latest World Tour action in 3×3 history.
The jump from 12 to 14 World Tour events also has a positive impact on prize money, which will reach a total of 2.8m USD on the entire professional circuit (up from 2.1m USD in 2019).
FIBA 3×3 Managing Director Alex Sanchez said: “2020 is a big year for 3×3 and we’re excited to see our number one competition – the FIBA 3×3 World Tour – continue to expand so quickly. We’re proud to attract new amazing cities like Riyadh for the Final and – at the same time – to return after many years to exceptional cities where World Tour history was made like Abu Dhabi and Manila.”
Indeed, the World Tour goes back to Manila, five years after an unbelievable jam-packed event in a mall proving the flexibility of 3×3 and the concept of “bringing the sport to the people”. The competition also returns to Abu Dhabi, which hosted 2 outstanding World Tour Finals in 2015 and 2016.
Like last year, the World Tour will be played in iconic urban locations in Doha, Chengdu, Mexico City, Utsunomiya, Prague, Lausanne, Debrecen, Montreal, Los Angeles and Jeddah as well.
Launched in 2012, the yearly World Tour sees teams representing cities from around the world qualify for 13 Masters and a Final through a worldwide network of qualifying tournaments, such as the Challengers, and via the FIBA 3×3 Team Ranking.
Five Masters will be held before July 25 when 3×3 will make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“For the fans, the FIBA 3×3 World Tour will be the best preview of our urban discipline at the Games”, Sanchez said. “It will also be the ultimate preparation for the best 3×3 players in the world before the Olympics. In fact, we will arrive in Japan 2 weeks early, with the 5th Masters of the season in Utsunomiya, followed by a Pre-Olympic Acclimatization Camp for our best athletes to get used to the Japanese climate and deliver the best show possible to the fans.”
The top 12 teams in the World Tour standings after the last Masters earn a ticket to the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Final.
FIBA 3×3 World Tour 2020 calendar
April 2-3: Doha (Qatar)
May 2-3: Manila (Philippines)
May 30-31: Chengdu (China)
June 20-21: Mexico City (Mexico)
July 11-12: Utsunomiya (Japan)
August 1-2: Prague (Czech Republic)
August 21-22: Lausanne (Switzerland)
August 29-30: Debrecen (Hungary)
September 5-6: Montreal (Canada)
September 19-20: Los Angeles (USA)
October 17-18: China (city to be announced)
October 23-24: Jeddah (KSA)
October 30-31: Abu Dhabi (UAE)
November: Riyadh (KSA)
Novi Sad (SRB) won their 4th title in 8 editions last year at the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Utsunomiya Final on November 2-3, 2019.
A Dunk Contest and a Shoot-out Contest will take place at each FIBA 3×3 World Tour event. A first list of FIBA 3×3 World Tour 2020 Challengers will be published in February on worldtour.fiba3x3.com.