Other goals were better this weekend. But this year, no scorer has been more prolific than Barcelona's Lionel Messi.
Messi scored his 85th and 86th goals of 2012 as Barcelona defeated Real Betis 2-1 in Spain's La Liga on Sunday. Victory maintained Barca's six-point lead atop La Liga, but more significantly, the 25-year-old Messi set a new record for goals in a calendar year.
The record-setting goal came in the 25th minute and gave Barcelona a 2-0 lead. It wasn't anything special. Messi simply stroked a left-footed shot into the side netting at the far post from the left side of the box.
He's scored goals just like it literally hundreds of times, but this one was special—for obvious reasons. For those obvious reasons, Messi's record-breaking strike is our Set Piece Goal of the Weekend. Enjoy.
The old record-holder was Gerd Müller, a legend of both Germany and Bayern Munich, who scored 85 times in 1972. Messi, 25, bagged 73 goals in all competitions last season—also a record—and simply hasn't stopped scoring since then.
Of the 86 goals scored by the Argentine, 12 of them were for Argentina and 74 were for his Club (official matches). He scored 56 in the Liga, 14 in the Champions League, 3 in the Copa del Rey and 2 in the Spanish Super Cup.
Müller, on the other hand, set the record in 1972 by scoring 72 goals for Bayern Munich and 13 for Germany, he played a total of 60 matches that year. Messi equalled/broke the record at the age of 25, Der Bomber was 27 when he set the record in 1972.
As for Messi himself, here's what he said after the historic match (per BBC Sport):
I always say the same. It's nice for what it means, but the victory is more important as it maintains our lead over the other teams. My goal when the year began was to try to achieve everything again, with the team, in the league, the (King's) Cup, the Champions League. I always start with that idea in mind.
Typical Messi—always thinking ahead to more trophies for the team and rarely speaking (at least in public settings) about his own accomplishments.
Since he won't, we will. How many can Messi score in 2012? The knee injury didn't seem to slow him down, and besides, he has a few matches left.
For that matter, how many will he score in 2013?
(Video: 101 Great Goals)
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