Lionel Messi surpassed Pele’s record of 75 goals in a single calander year with his brace against Mallorca on Sunday – and now has Gerd Muller’s all-time record of 85 in his sights.
The Argentinian genius helped Barcelona maintain their unbeaten start to the season with two goals in a 4-2 win at the Iberostar Stadium, and in the process staked a further claim to a place in the annals of football history.
His 15 goals already this season mean he has now scored 76 goals in 2012 – a tally that has moved him past Pele’s total of 75 in 1958.
The 25-year-old, who became a father for the first time earlier this month, is now within 9 goals of the all-time record, set by Muller who hit an astonishing 85 goals for Bayern Munich and West Germany in 1972.
Speaking after the game which kept Barcelona three points clear of Atletico Madrid and eight points clear of Real Madrid, Tito Vilanova admitted he was last for words when asked to comment on Messi’s feat.
"Leo's records are spectacular" said the Barcelona coach. "Few players reach these numbers in seven or eight seasons, yet he does it in one. And most of his goals are great goals."
Messi now has six La Liga games, two Champions League ties and a Cope del Rey clash against Alaves to score the goals he needs to break Muller’s record.
Pele has shown himself to be somewhat humourless when discussing Messi's potential greatness in the past, and recently claimed Brazilian youngster Neymar is already a better player than the Barca superstar despite still plying his trade in South America.
The Brazilian icon said of his rival for the label 'the greatest player of all time' in January: "When Messi's scored 1,283 goals like me, when he's won three World Cups, we'll talk about it."
he added: "I like Messi a lot, he's a great player. Technically, we're practically at the same level."
"He's a great player for Barcelona, but when he plays for Argentina he doesn't have the same success.
"People always ask me: 'When is the new Pele going to be born?' Never. My father and mother have closed the factory."
Messi has another chance to make even more history later this season when he goes in search of a record fourth consecutive Ballon D’Or award, which would move him clear of the likes of Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini and Marco van Basten who all won the award three times.
Earlier this month, Messi claimed the Golden Boot thanks to his 50 strikes in La Liga last season. Last term he also claimed the record for most goals scored in a single European season, with 73, as well as the most goals scored in a Champions League campaign.
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