Lionel Messi has 699 career goals

Spanish league leaders Barcelona were held to a goalless draw at Sevilla, leaving the title race wide open with eight games remaining.

The result means second-placed Real Madrid could move level on points with Barcelona when they travel to Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Lionel Messi’s free-kick skimmed the bar in the first half but Barcelona were frustrated by Sevilla’s defence.

Lucas Ocampos also hit the crossbar for the hosts before the break.

Sevilla sat deep, often playing with five at the back, and it proved effective as Barcelona saw lots of the ball but failed to create many clear-cut opportunities.

Messi’s free-kick was the closest they came, and Luis Suarez’ first-time strike almost sneaked in minutes before full-time, but Sevilla had bursts of attacking promise – Ocampos and Munir El Haddadi forcing two smart saves from Ter Stegen from close range in the first half.

Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann came on as a substitute in the 76th minute in an attempt to find a winner but did not make an impact.

On-loan Real Madrid defender Sergio Reguilon had a great chance to score for Sevilla in stoppage time when the ball fell kindly for him in an unmarked position in the box but he hit it straight at Ter Stegen.

The league leaders next play Athletic Bilbao on Tuesday, 23 June, while Messi remains one off 700 career goals.

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