Lionel Messi on Wednesday took his goal tally for the year to 88 after scoring twice Barcelona’s 2-0 win against Cordoba. The Argentine had already passed Gerd Muller’s official record of 85 goals in a calendar year over the weekend, but according to reports in England, the validity of that record is now being called into question, as both the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) and Brazilian club Flamengo plan to launch separate appeals to FIFA.
The Zambian FA says it has evidence that Kabwe Warriors striker Godfrey Chitalu scored 107 goals in 1972, while Flamengo claims that former captain Zico scored 89 goals in 1979. "We are upset. Messi still hasn't passed the milestone," Bruno Lucena, the head of Flamengo's research and statistics department, told the Brazilian sports daily Lance.
FIFA never officially recognized Chitalu’s goal tally due to poor record keeping in Zambia, although the FAZ has said it will launch an appeal. Lucena, meanwhile, calculated that Zico scored 81 goals for Flamengo in 1979, plus another seven for Brazil and one in a friendly while playing for a World X1 against Argentina. However, should Messi score another two goals in either of Barcelona’s final two games before the end of the year, then Flamengo’s claim would be moot.