There can be no doubt about it—we are living in an age of incredible footballers. From Cristiano Ronaldo to Falcao, from Edinson Cavani to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the number of world-class players is ever increasing. And yet in the 2012-13 season, there has been only one man breaking world records.
That man is of course Lionel Messi, who, despite Barcelona's relative fall from grace in this campaign, continues to set the standard as the best player on the planet and, in many people's minds, the best of all time.
Messi amazes the watching world at almost every opportunity, but it was back in December 2012 that the Argentine took one of the greatest records in the book, surpassing Gerd Muller's mark of 85 goals in a calendar year with a double in a win over Real Betis.
The 25-year-old would go on to score five more goals to take his mark to 91 for 2012, but his goalscoring urge has not lessened since the turn of the year, with Messi going on to set new levels of excellence at almost every available juncture in 2013.
Indeed, Barcelona claims Messi usurped another record holder by scoring in his 17th straight La Liga game against Deportivo La Coruna in March, with the Catalan club stating he had overtaken the previous mark of 16 set by Pole Teodor Peterek for Ruch Chorzow in 1937-38, although this has not been officially verified.
Just weeks later, Messi etched his name in the record books again, netting in a 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo to become the first player to score in consecutive games against every team in a domestic league.
Messi has made a habit of rewriting history; however, others have struggled to match that pace, and as a result, few other records have fallen during this campaign.
Still, that is not to say that there have not been some interesting firsts in the football world. Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich will compete in the first all-German Champions League final at Wembley on May 25th, while Chelsea became the first team to hold both the European title and the Europa League by virtue of their victory over Benfica.
Bayern can add another honor to their list if they become the first German side to do the treble by overcoming Dortmund and then beating Stuttgart in the DFB Pokal final on June 1st after already setting a new Bundesliga points record by virtue of their 1-0 win over Freiburg in April.
Team and national records have been the main things to fall in what has been another dramatic season in European football.
However, with a once-in-a-generation talent like Messi very much in his prime and a raft of exceptional players of the breed of Cavani and Falcao continuing to progress into goalscoring machines feared by defenses the world over, it is likely that more new individual marks will be set when the next campaign gets going in August.