Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against
Real Betis during their Spanish First Division match at
Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville. REUTERS/Marcelo del
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, 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 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.
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 191 goals, one more than Cesar Rodriguez.