Lionel Messi has left an indelible mark on LaLiga Santander over the course of the past 15 years, yet with his departure having left the league without such a clinical goalscorer, the shadow of the Argentine's goals looms large.
He can be considered a legendary player because is the top scorer in the history of the LaLiga Santander and for most of the Spanish clubs he is the player whom they have conceded the most goals to.
A massive 15 of the current 20 teams in the top flight have that statistic, but that era is now over in LaLiga Santander. Alaves, Athletic, Atletico Madrid, Betis, Espanyol, Getafe, Granada, Levante, Mallorca, Osasuna, Rayo, Real Madrid, Real Sociedad, Sevilla, Valencia and Villarreal have all breathed a sigh of relief.
Other players must now take his place, individuals like Karim Benzema, Luis Suarez and Iago Aspas are serious Pichichi contenders this term.
Messi is a memory now fading into the rear-view mirror, with teams looking for a way to stop this next generation of goal scorers from having as devastating impact on them as the Argentine did. But as the saying goes 'the king is dead, long live the king'.
Ironically, the most successful teams in LaLiga have been the ones who have been suffering most at the hands of Messi, notably because those who haven't been relegated in the years that Messi was active in Spain, have had to face him more often.
Sevilla are the team who have suffered most at Messi's hands, conceding 30 goals to the Argentine himself, whilst Valencia are the next-nearest sufferers with 27 goals. Atletico Madrid sit with 26 whilst Levante and Osasuna have both allowed Messi to score 23 goals against them over the course of his career with Barcelona.
Only a few teams can claim Messi not the be the player who has scored most against them. For example, Cadiz look to Hugo Sanchez with his 14 goals scored between the mid-80s and early 90s. While Elche are still haunted by Ferenc Puskas who bagged 12 against them.
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