Barcelona: Lionel Messi broke German great Gerd Mueller's 40-year-old record for most goals in a year by scoring for the 86th time in 2012 on Sunday. The Argentina forward struck twice for Barcelona to lead 2-0 against Real Betis by the 25th minute of the Spanish league match.
His first was an individual effort in the 16th minute to equal Mueller's mark, and he eclipsed the 1972 milestone with a familiar left-footed finish nine minutes later. Messi has scored 74 goals for Barcelona and 12 times for Argentina this year, and he has three more games in which he can add to his tally before the end of the year. Mueller scored 85 for Bayern Munich and West Germany.
The 25-year-old Messi passed Brazil great Pele's single-season milestone of 75 goals for Brazil and Santos in 1958 with his 75th and 76th goals of the year on Nov. 11 to move into second place behind Mueller.
After his record 50 goals in the Spanish league last campaign, Messi has led Barcelona to the best start in the history of the championship this season with 13 wins and a draw after the opening 14 rounds. The scoring ace has found the net 30 times already this season in all competitions for Barcelona.
He still has two La Liga games and a King's Cup match to extend his 2012 total and if he keeps going at anything like his current rate his career scoring records are unlikely to be challenged for many, many years.
"I am going to try to score one or two more (before the end of the year) to make it more difficult for anyone who comes after me," a typically modest Messi joked with reporters after the Betis game.
Messi, who became a father for the first time on Nov. 2 to a baby boy named Thiago, was announced as one of the three finalists for the FIFA world player of the year award along with teammate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo.