Four hundred and ninety eight and counting. Lionel Messi closed in on 500 goals for Barcelona with two against Real Sociedad on Saturday night and they turned out to be very important. Because at the other end of the pitch, the Catalans were decidedly shaky throughout.
Luis Enrique's side had conceded five in their last two games: two in the 2-0 loss at Malaga in the Primera Division at the weekend and then three more in their Champions League quarter-final first leg away to Juventus on Tuesday.
That is not good enough for a team looking to win the biggest trophies and it carried on at Camp Nou on Saturday as Barca cruised into a 2-0 lead through Messi (via one sensational strike from outside the box and another from close range), only to let the Basques back in it. Not once, but twice.
Real Sociedad pulled a goal back for 2-1, and although Paco Alacer (in for the suspended - and badly missed - Neymar) restored the Catalans' two-goal advantage almost immediately, Xabi Prieto struck to close the gap again ahead of the interval.