Messi will play 500 games in LaLiga with Barcelona

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Lionel Messi will play his 500th LaLiga match with Barcelona in Sunday’s meeting with Huesca after returning to Ronald Koeman’s starting lineup.

Messi missed Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Eibar after being granted an extended break at Christmas to heal an ankle problem.

However, Koeman confirmed on Saturday that the 33-year-old had trained on December 30 and 31, and Messi subsequently returned to Barça’s starting XI for a historic outing at El Alcoraz Stadium.

Messi’s 500 league appearances with Barça are five of the club’s record held by Xavi, who also holds the all-time record for the Blaugrana at 767.

Xavi’s total is 17 more than Messi’s current count of 750, including Sunday’s game.

The record for the most games played in LaLiga is held by former goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta, with 662 games to his credit with Athletic Club, Barça and Valencia.

Barça makes the trip to Huesca undefeated in five league games, but has drawn two of the last three and enters the game 13 points behind the leader Atlético de Madrid.

Messi was directly involved in four goals in his only previous LaLiga match against Huesca, scoring two goals and giving two assists in September 2018.

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