Lionel Messi equals Pele goals record as Barcelona settle for draw against Valencia

Argentine scored his 643rd goal for the Catalans in the 2-2 La Liga draw

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Lionel Messi added another milestone to his incomparable Barcelona career on Saturday when he equalled Pele's record of goals for a single club with his 643rd, but the occasion was tarnished by his side's failure to beat Valencia.

Messi headed in from Jordi Alba's cross after his first-half penalty was saved to equal the mark set by the Brazilian great for Santos.

But the Argentine was ultimately left frustrated as a dogged Valencia forced a 2-2 draw that leaves Barcelona eight points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, who beat Elche 3-1 earlier in the day, with former Barca striker Luis Suarez scoring twice.

Barcelona started slowly and went a goal behind to Mouctar Diakhaby's unchallenged header from a corner after half an hour.

Antoine Griezmann earned the penalty that led to Messi's record-equalling goal when the French forward was nudged over by Jose Gaya.

Messi's spot-kick was saved by Jaume Domenech but the ball rebounded and from Alba's dinked cross, the Argentine headed the ball into the net to draw level with Pele.

Barcelona went ahead thanks to a superb scissor kick from Uruguayan defender Ronald Araujo, but Valencia's pressure was rewarded when Maxi Gomez got in front of Barca central defender Oscar Mingueza to turn in a cross and equalise.

Philippe Coutinho drove a shot just wide with 12 minutes remaining and Messi curled a free-kick wide but Barcelona were forced to share the points.

Messi's latest record further cements his status as Barcelona's greatest player. The Argentine is the club's most decorated player having won 34 trophies during his Camp Nou career, while he is by far Barca's all-time leading scorer.

How many more goals and trophies Messi could still deliver for the club remains uncertain. He is approaching the final six months of his Barca contract and requested to leave in the summer.

Barcelona are next in action on Tuesday night when they travel to Valladolid, while Valencia host Sevilla earlier the same day.