Barcelona forward Lionel Messi set a record for goals scored in a calendar year of 86 when he netted his second in a La Liga game at Real Betis on Sunday, beating Gerd Mueller's 40-year-old record of 85.
The 25-year-old World Player of the Year earlier equalled Mueller’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 clever back heel set the Argentine up to score again nine minutes later with a sweeping shot from a similar position just inside the penalty that flew into the same corner of the goal.
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 Mueller’s total for Bayern Munich and Germany in 1972.
He has scored 56 in La Liga, 13 in the Champions League, 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 add to his tally before the end of the year.
Mueller, known as the “torpedo” while Messi’s nickname is “the flea”, 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, two more than Cesar Rodriguez. DM
Photo: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (C) is congratulated by team mates Andres Iniesta (L) and Alexis Sanchez after scoring his second goal against Real Betis during their Spanish First Division soccer match at Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville December 9, 2012. Messi set a record for goals scored in a calendar year of 86 when he netted his second in a La Liga game at Real Betis on Sunday, beating Gerd Mueller’s 40-year-old record of 85. REUTERS/Marcelo del Pozo
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