November hasn’t been a bad month for Lionel Messi, all things considered. The birth of his first son, Thiago, on November 2 was reason enough to make it special, only for the great man to beat Pele’s record for most goals scored in a calendar year last weekend.
Messi now has 76 goals to his name in 2012, moving past Pele’s tally of 75 set in 1958 (albeit in less games and at a younger age). He has a handful of La Liga games, two Champions League ties and a Copa del Rey outing to move past Gerd Muller’s all-time record of 85 goals in a single year.
Ten goals in nine games? You wouldn’t put it past the 25-year-old now, would you?
But even if he doesn’t quite make that figure, Messi has still enjoyed a truly memorable year. He broke one of Muller’s records for the most goals scored in a single European season last time round while he now holds the record for most goals scored in a single Champions League/European Cup campaign.
If he plays his cards right, he may even have another record in the bag later this season – an unprecedented 4th (consecutive) Ballon D’Or award.
When all is said and done this year, Messi will probably look back on 2012 as the greatest year of his career. But are there any frontiers left for him to conquer or should he just hang up his boots now and master changing nappies quicker than anyone else in history instead?
Most Goals in La Liga for Barcelona
In March earlier this year Messi broke a 60-year-old scoring record with a hat-trick in a 5-3 win over Granada. His goals took him to 234 strikes for Barcelona, taking him clear of Cesar Rodriguez’s tally of 232 set between 1939 and 1955.
There was some confusion over whether Messi had actually claimed the record for himself after Rodriguez’s tally was revised down three goals from 235 before the game by Barcelona historians.
Now Messi is just eight goals shy of claiming another of Rodriguez’s record for himself, this time the most La Liga goals. The 25-year-old is just eight goals shy of the current Barcelona record of 192. He may even break it before Christmas.
Most goals for Barcelona in all competitions
Club legend Paulino Alcantara, who played for Barcelona in two spells between 1912 and 1927, scored 369 goals in 357 games – some of which were friendlies played before the formation of La Liga. He ‘only’ scored 137 official goals, hence why he wasn’t above Rodriguez as the club’s greatest scorer.
Messi, who has moved on to 295 in total since he broke the club record in March, has plenty of time to get the 76 goals he requires to put all the confusion to bed. Having scored 15 league goals already this term, the record may fall as soon as next season.
Highest La Liga scorer
Modern footballers such as Raul, David Villa, Samuel Eto and Ronaldo may dominate the top ten La Liga scorers of all time list, but none as yet have been able to dislodge Athletic Bilbao legend Telmo Zarra from the top of the pile.
Zarra’s 277 La Liga appearances yielded a total of 251 goals, while Messi now has 184 in total. The Argentinian surely has at the very least another seven seasons in him at the top level in Spain so will likely surpass this total. The only question is whether Ronaldo can dislodge them both.
Most goals in El Clasico
Real Madrid icon Alfredo di Stefano currently holds the record for most goals scored in El Clasico.
The former Argentinian footballer, widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time, bagged himself 18 goals in games against Barcelona in total.
Messi already has 17 against Barcelona’s arch rivals, and will have the chance to pull up alongside Di Stefano against Madrid in March, at the Bernabeu. What an occasion that could be.
Most goals for Argentina
Messi has some way to go before he is Argentina’s most prolific goalscorer in history, but he is closing in on a notable scalp.
Gabriel Batistuta is currently the leading scorer for the Albiceleste with 56 goals in 78 games, with Messi is further back on 31 goals in 75 games. However just three goals ahead of him in 3rd on Argentina’s all-time list is one Diego Maradona.
While he’s trying to reach that one, he is 65 caps short of breaking Javier Zanetti’s all-time appearance record for Argentina – although he may have some trouble doing so given that the 39-year-old is remarkably still playing having won his first international cap back in 1994.
Most Champions League goals
Raul currently holds the record for most goals scored in the Champions League or the European Cup, with the Spanish striker notching 71 goals for Real Madrid and Schalke across his 16-year career at the top level in Europe.
Messi, who holds the records for most goals in a single campaign (14) and most goals scored in a single Champions League game (5) is currently 17 shy of that tally on 54.
So far in Barcelona’s European campaign this season he has three goals to his name.