It took forty years, but Lionel Messi of the Spanish soccer club Barcelona broke German striker Gerd Muller’s record for most goals scored in a calendar year. Coming into yesterday’s match with Real Betis, Messi needed one goal to tie Muller and two goals to pass the German. The goals came in his sixty-sixth match this year and he wasted no time notching both goals within the first twenty-five minutes. In typical Messi fashion, he laced two left-footed shots into the back of the net to give him sole possession of Muller’s record–and it only took him eleven months and nine days. He still has twenty-two more days to add to his calendar total. In that time he has three more matches to add to his tally.
Not only did the two goals give him the record, they were also responsible for Barcelona’s 2-1 victory of Betis. The win gives the club a six-point lead in La Liga over Atletico and an eleven-point margin between Ronaldo and Real Madrid only fifteen games in to the league season.
The broken record wasn’t only responsible for the club’s win, but it also helps soccer in 2012 end on a high note. Most fans could point to this year as a year of bad press for soccer internationally. Luis Suarez’s ban at Liverpool, John Terry getting in trouble once again for Chelsea, and just this weekend Rio Ferdinand had things thrown at him from the fans. And as every year, we can gripe about poor officiating. But as technology can show us more, officiating will continuously look worse. Hopefully the world of soccer can ride this positive press for the rest of the year. Or better yet, maybe they can add to it.
If they can’t, I will. In March, Messi was able to surpass Cesar Rodriguez as the club’s all-time leading goal scorer. Another record of his Messi broke yesterday that I think is more impressive than the goals in a year is the all-time La Liga goal record previously held by Rodriguez (190 goals). Messi actually scored his 191st and 192nd La Liga goals in yesterday’s match. The reason that is more impressive than breaking Gerd Muller’s record is that Messi will end up playing a total of nine more games than Muller played in his record-breaking year. Messi broke the all-time scoring record in the league before he was twenty-five and half years old. As long as Messi can stay healthy and manage to stay with Barcelona, or heaven forbid another team in La Liga he will demolish that record by the time he is out of his prime. And once he is out of his prime he will still be able to add to it as he declines.
At that time it will be hard to deny the man the title of best soccer player to ever play the game, in my opinion.
Is Messi the best player ever right now? Which record is more impressive? Let me know in the comment section or on Twitter @Believelander.
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