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Phuket: Messi wants more titles, not history

Phuket: Messi wants more titles, not history

FOOTBALL: Lionel Messi insists that his record-breaking 86-goal haul in 2012 will count for nothing if Barcelona miss out on La Liga and Champions League titles.


By Agence France-Presse

Thursday 13 December 2012, 11:31AM


Barca’s Lionel Messi has scored a record-breaking 86 goals this year

Barca’s Lionel Messi has scored a record-breaking 86 goals this year

The Argentine star wrote his name into the history books by overhauling German legend Gerd Mueller’s 1972 record of 85 goals in a calendar year with a first-half double that helped his side to an important 2-1 win at Real Betis.

But the 25-year-old was happier to highlight the win more than the record as his team eye a domestic and European double.

“I’ve said it a lot, it’s nice to beat records but the win for the team is what is important and the points difference at the top,” said Messi as Barcelona maintained their six-point lead over Atletico Madrid and 11-point gap on Real Madrid.

“My goals are to win titles with the team, the Spanish league, Spanish Cup or Champions League is more important than any personal records.”

It did not take long for Messi to equal Mueller’s record with his side’s first real attack on 16 minutes in Seville, making a diagonal run across the Betis defence before hitting a left footed shot into the right hand corner.

His history-making moment came nine minutes later when he struck from almost an identical position after good play from Adriano and Andres Iniesta.

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Barca coach Tito Vilanova looked forward to more to come from Messi, who now has 74 goals in all competitions for Barcelona this year as well as 12 for Argentina, having played 66 games in all.

His La Liga tally is already up to 23 for this season alone and he can add to his year’s tally with three games still to play in 2012 – in La Liga against Atletico Madrid and Valladolid and the Spanish Cup tie at Cordoba.

Messi has made a habit of creating landmarks in his career. Last season, he became the most successful scorer in a La Liga season by hitting 50 goals in the league campaign.
He is already the club’s greatest scorer, having last season gone past the record of 232 goals by Cesar Rodriguez set in the 1940s and 1950s. He also equalled the record for goals scored in a Champions League season when he hit 14.

Germany great Gerd Mueller on Monday described Lionel Messi as a “giant” after the Argentine broke his calendar year goalscoring record that had stood for 40 years.
“My record of 85 goals in 60 matches, which stood since 1972, was beaten by the best player in the world, Lionel Messi, and I’m very happy for him,” Mueller said, according to a spokesman for his former club, Bayern Munich.

The former Germany striker added that he thought Messi was “an incredible player, a giant who is at the same time very nice and a polished professional”.

Mueller, who was at his peak between 1964 and 1979 and who has battled alcoholism since his retirement in 1981, joked that Messi only had one fault: “He doesn’t play for Bayern Munich.” 

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