|Lionel Messi has already scored a remarkable 51 goals this season [GALLO/GETTY]
After conducting a review of Cesar Rodriguez's club record goal tally, Barcelona have determined that Lionel Messi is just one shy of matching the 57-year-old mark.
Barcelona collaborated with La Vanguardia newspaper to verify the exact number of official goals scored by Cesar and turned up 232, three goals less than previously believed.
The 24-year-old Messi has 231 goals and can match or break the mark in Tuesday's Spanish league game against Granada.
Barcelona said on Tuesday on their website that the study analysed and compared all match reports from Cesar's Barcelona career with La Vanguardia's historical database.
Barcelona's Center of Documentation and Studies and La Vanguardia cross-checked club records with match reports to determine Cesar did not score goals attributed to him during the 1947-48, 1948-49, 1949-50 and 1952-53 seasons. He was credited with an extra goal scored during the 1945-46 season.
Cesar won five league titles in 13 years at Barcelona, and was the league's leading scorer in 1948-49.
"It's worth noting that Cesar Rodriguez is the club's all-time top goalscorer in official matches, but the absolute record belongs to Paulino Alcantara, who scored 369 goals in 357 official and friendly matches,'' Barcelona said.
Messi, the three-time world player of the year, has 51 goals in all competitions this season.