Lionel Messi on Sunday broke Gerd Mueller’s 1972 record of 85 goals in a calendar year with another brace for FC Barcelona against Real Betis. The Argentine needed just 25 minutes to score his 85th and 86th goals of the year, and 23rd of the 2012/2013 season. And Messi, who set the record in 66 games, still has three games remaining this year. The win was Barca's 14th in 15 games.
Mueller told German news service SID: "For 40 years my record from 1972 with 85 goals in 60 games remained untouched -- now the best player in the world has broken it, Lionel Messi, and I'm really happy for him. Messi is an incredible player, a giant while at the same time being so simpatico and more of a quiet professional. I hope that in the remaining games in 2012 he will be able to still score one or more goals and his record will hold up for the next 40 years. Messi is fantastic, he's really got but one flaw: He doesn't play for Bayern Munich."
"I've said it a lot -- it's nice to beat records but the win for the team is what is important and the points difference at the top," Messi told reporters after the game. The 25-year-old is already Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer, having surpassed the club’s previous record of 232 goals set by Cesar Rodriguez in the 1950s. Of his 86 goals in 2012, 74 have been for Barcelona, and 12 for his country.
Messi’s next individual target is to become the first player to win the coveted Ballon d’Or award four times. While Messi is the frontrunner, teammate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo are the other finalists. "If Iniesta wins, it will be well-deserved for all that he has done, for the way he plays. Again, it will also be a prize for the dressing room," Messi said of the Spain midfielder, who beat him to last season's top European award.