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On this day in 2012: Lionel Messi breaks Gerd Muller’s 85-goal record

Lionel Messi scored a remarkable 91 goals in 2012 (Nick Potts/PA)
Lionel Messi scored a remarkable 91 goals in 2012 (Nick Potts/PA)

Lionel Messi broke Gerd Muller’s long-standing record of 85 goals in a calendar year when he scored a double for Barcelona on this day in 2012.

The Argentina star bagged both goals in Barca’s 2-1 LaLiga win at Real Betis to first equal and then surpass the mark set by Germany and Bayern Munich great Muller in 1972.

Messi, then 25 and at the height of his considerable powers, went on to extend the record to 91 before the end of the year.

The total, which includes goals for club and country, was not officially acknowledged by football’s world governing body FIFA but was ratified by Guinness World Records.

Messi had been a doubt heading into the game at the Benito Villamarin Stadium with a knee injury but soon swept concerns aside as he opened the scoring on 16 minutes with a trademark dribble and finish.

That saw him draw level with Muller and he went one better nine minutes later after being teed up by Andres Iniesta.

“It’s nice for what it means but the victory is more important,” said Messi, modestly, of the record after the game.

Gerd Muller
Gerd Muller set the previous benchmark in 1972 (PA Archive)

His tally at that point included 74 goals for Barcelona and 12 for Argentina. He rounded off 2012 with five more in club colours.

Muller’s previous benchmark was comprised of 72 goals for Bayern and 13 for West Germany.

“My record stood for 40 years – 85 goals in 60 games – and now the best player in the world has broken it and I’m delighted for him,” said the German. “He is an incredible player, gigantic.”