Messi is the first and only player to top-score in four consecutive Champions League campaigns, and also holds the record for the most hat-tricks scored (4) in the competition. In March 2012, Messi made Champions League history by becoming the first player to score five goals in one match. He also matched José Altafini's record of 14 goals in a single Champions League season. Messi set the European record for most goals scored in a season during the 2011–12 season, with 73 goals. In the same season, he set the current goalscoring record in a single La Liga season, scoring 50 goals. Also in that season, Messi became the first player ever to score and assist in six different official competitions in one season. In February 2013, Messi scored his 300th Barcelona goal. In March 2013, Messi scored in his 19th consecutive La Liga game, becoming the first footballer in history to net in consecutive matches against every team in a professional football league. He extended his record scoring streak to 21 consecutive league matches, and the run came to a halt only when he sustained a hamstring injury. In March 2014, with a hat-trick against Real Madrid, Messi became the player with the most goals and most hat-tricks in the history of El Clásico.
Messi helped Argentina win the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup, finishing as both the best player and the top scorer (with 6 goals). In 2006, he became the youngest Argentine to play and score in the FIFA World Cup, and won a runners-up medal at the Copa América in 2007, in which he was named young player of the tournament. In 2008, he won an Olympic Gold Medal with the Argentina Olympic football team. At the 2014 World Cup, he led Argentina to the Final, winning four consecutive Man of the Match awards in the process, and received the Golden Ball award after being adjudged the best player of the tournament. In 2013, SportsPro rated him the second-most marketable athlete in the world. His playing style and stature have drawn comparisons to compatriot Diego Maradona, who himself declared Messi his "successor".