The scoring machine that is Lionel Messi never ceases to amaze when new numbers and recognition as to how great his achievements are keep coming out. The Barcelona star has scored 21 goals so far this season in 14 matches; that puts him above 44 teams in the top 4 leagues of Europe up to this point. The list will probably be longer at the end of the season.

Last season? Messi finished with 50 league goals, more than 48 other teams in England, Spain, Germany and Italy. They do play fewer matches in the Bundesliga, so at least Mönchengladbach and Werder Bremen (both 49 goals) and probably VfL Wolfsburg and FSV Mainz 05 (both 47 goals) would have likely equaled his 50 or scored more if they had 4 matches more too.

Right now, if Lionel Messi was a team, he’d be tied for 10th in the German Bundesliga with Mainz, sitting above clubs like Stuttgart, Hamburg and Wolfsburg. In England, Messi again would be sitting smack down in the middle, better than half the teams in the Premier League, including Liverpool and Newcastle. In Spain he would be ranked 7th, along with Valladolid, sitting above Bilbao, Valencia and Sevilla. In Italy, Messi would rank 9th; clubs like Sampdoria and Parma would be watching him from below.

What is interesting to see is how only five of the clubs he has scored more than have a positive goal difference: Malaga (+9), Freiburg (+3), Sampdoria, Stoke and West Ham (+2), Liverpool (+1).

Right now, he’s on pace to finish with 57(!!!) league goals this season, breaking his already incredible record of 50 from last season. As you all know by now as well, he needs only one goal to reach the 85 goals Gerd Muller scored in a calendar year. With four matches left for Barcelona in 2012, it’s hard to imagine him not owning the record by the turn of the new year. With Messi, there’s a good chance he’ll be able to finish the job tonight, in the Champions League match vs Benfica.

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