Lionel Messi breaks Gerd Muller’s record for goals in a year

Lionel Messi celebrates with his teammates. Picture: Getty
Lionel Messi celebrates with his teammates. Picture: Getty
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BARCELONA forward Lionel Messi set a record of 86 goals scored in a calendar when he netted his second in a 2-1 La Liga win at Real Betis last night, beating Gerd Muller’s 40-year-old record of 85.

The 25-year-old World Player of the Year earlier equalled Muller’s mark when he picked up the ball in a central position in the 16th minute and left the Betis defence standing before sending an angled shot across goal into the bottom right corner.

Andres Iniesta’s backheel set the Argentine up to score again nine minutes later with a sweeping shot from a similar position just inside the penalty area that flew into the same corner. Favourite to secure a fourth successive World Player award when the winner is announced next month, Messi has netted 74 times for Barca and 12 for Argentina in 2012, beating Muller’s total for Bayern Munich and Germany in 1972.

He has scored 56 in La Liga, 13 in the Champions League – one of which came against Celtic – three in the King’s Cup and two in the Spanish Super Cup and still has two league matches and one King’s Cup game to play before the end of the year. Muller netted 72 for Bayern and 13 for Germany in 1972 and was 27 when he set the record.

Messi’s double took his tally in 15 La Liga outings this season to 23 and he also became Barca’s all-time top league scorer on 192 goals.