Skip to content

Lionel Messi scores 85th, 86th goals of year, passes Gerd Müller

Dec 9, 2012, 5:34 PM EDT

Since Wednesday there were doubts whether he’d even play, but not only was Lionel Messi in the starting lineup for Barcelona at Real Betis today, he quickly answered the day’s big question:

Would he break the record?

That record was former Bayern Munich/Germany striker Gerd Müller’s, the three-time European champion posting 85 goals in all FIFA-sanctioned competitions in 1972. Messi entered today’s game on 84: 72 for Barcelona; 12 for Argentina.

The record-tying goal came after only 16 minutes, with Müller taking a back seat nine minutes later:

It’s apropos that the record-setter came on a goal that’s had to be added to Messi’s game. You didn’t see play like that when he broke into Barça’s senior team eight years ago. Since, Messi has matured from the widely talented right winger he was at 17 into the middle-of-the-field orchestrator he is today.

source: Getty ImagesCharging at the defense, he lets his pass for Andrés Iniesta go just in time to give his teammates space for a backheel. One touch later and Messi’s let go of a surgical far post finish. The opposing keeper has no chance.

Messi’s always been a phenom, but that kind of playmaking and precision are things he’s had to develop en route to becoming the world’s best player. His initial value was on the ball – taking on his man to create his own opportunities, occasionally setting his teammates up for others.

He was a wildcard to team built around Ronaldinho, Deco, Samuel Eto’o, and Xavi. Now his game embodies the best of all those players’ skills: Xavi’s precision and prolificness; Deco’s nous; Eto’o finishing; Ronaldinho’s flair.

Though today’s accomplishment highlights his individualism, Messi’s matured into a player you can build a team around without fear it will devolve into a quest for numbers. The records just come.

MORE: All 86 goals, one video

After today’s 2-1 victory in Seville, Barcelona has four more games left on their 2012 schedule: a Copa del Rey home-and-away against second division Cordoba, a huge home match against Atletico (and Radamel Falcao) and a year-ender at Real Valladolid.

If he plays every game, as he wants to do, Messi could come close to 95 goals, but with 100 out of reach and Cordoba offering a chance for rest, look for Messi to settle in just short of 90.

Latest Posts
  1. FIFA presidential elections will go on Friday despite arrests

    May 27, 2015, 9:40 AM EDT

    FBL-FIFA-BLATTER FBL-FIFA-BLATTER

    Sepp Blatter has served as president for 17 years and is expected to easily win reelection.

  2. 2014-15 Premier League season review: Top ten goalkeepers

    May 27, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 20:  (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) David de Gea of Manchester United in action during a first team training session at Aon Training Complex on March 20, 2015 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images) Getty Images

    Let’s take a walk through the six yard box with the Premier League’s 10 best ‘keepers for 2014-15.

  3. FIFA releases statement regarding arrests, says it is “fully cooperating” with investigations

    May 27, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    FIFA Getty Images

    A press conference is scheduled to be held at 10:30 a.m. ET from the U.S. Department of Justice.

  4. Manchester City friendly vs. Houston Dynamo in doubt following deadly floods

    May 27, 2015, 7:52 AM EDT

    US-WEATHER-FLOOD US-WEATHER-FLOOD

    Texas has been hit with massive flooding that has left at least 19 dead, as soccer takes a backseat.

  5. FBI, US Department of Justice issues damning statement on FIFA, details corruption investigation

    May 27, 2015, 6:55 AM EDT

    Loretta Lynch, Vanita Gupta, Ron Davis Loretta Lynch, Vanita Gupta, Ron Davis

    Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch speaks about the FBI’s investigation into widespread allegations of corruption at FIFA.

  6. Nine FIFA officials, including CONCACAF president, arrested in Switzerland during dawn raids

    May 27, 2015, 5:20 AM EDT

    150527-FIFA-2 Getty Images

    FIFA officials from CONCACAF region and South America dominate the FBI’s wanted list.

  7. Report: Multiple FIFA officials arrested in Zurich, will be extradited to United States

    May 27, 2015, 12:44 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    An unprecedented blow to the upper tier of FIFA’s personnel structure could be the beginning of a sweeping takedown of the organization’s corrupt inner workings.

  8. Aguero, Toure, Nasri, Silva among Manchester City’s roster for Toronto FC friendly

    May 26, 2015, 11:17 PM EDT

    Manchester City's Sergio Aguero celebrates his second goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester Reuters

    Toronto FC has put a “projected Starting XI” on Twitter, one that includes Michael Bradley and Sebastian Giovinco.

  9. Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundup: Several linked with Manchester United, Liverpool, Newcastle

    May 26, 2015, 10:28 PM EDT

    Queens Park Rangers v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Getty Images

    Well, the Premier League season has been over for a solid 59 hours, and we shouldn’t let it get to 60 without digging through the muck that is the transfer rumor mill.

  10. There has been an Oguchi Onyewu sighting at New York City FC training

    May 26, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT

    LARNACA, CYPRUS - MARCH 05:  Oguchi Onyewu (R) of the USA in action during the Ukraine v USA International Friendly  at Antonis Papadopoulos stadium on March 5, 2014 in Larnaca, Cyprus.  (Photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Getty Images) Getty Images

    All-in-all, he’s played for 11 clubs — four on loan — and only one for more than 30 matches (Standard Liege).

  11. Mourinho rips Top 4 rivals at awards dinner; Takes extra shot at Wenger’s Arsenal

    May 26, 2015, 8:36 PM EDT

    WengerMourinho AP

    He finished off the speech with a brilliant line regarding Chelsea, “They played from August till May and sometimes they brought the bus.”

  12. Real Madrid declines purchase option on Chicharito, who heads back to Manchester United

    May 26, 2015, 7:47 PM EDT

    Manchester United v Los Angeles Galaxy Getty Images

    Chicharito’s career will make an interesting case study when all’s said and done.

  13. Ireland FA chief: “We won’t be voting” for Sepp Blatter

    May 26, 2015, 6:42 PM EDT

    Sepp Blatter AP

    “Surely he knows … that outside of the voting chambers, that the world … the players and supporters, want change,” Delaney said.

  14. Loew to rest Neuer, Muller for friendly vs. USMNT, Euro qualifier vs. Gibraltar

    May 26, 2015, 5:51 PM EDT

    Bayern's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (L) and forward Thomas Muller give a press conference in Porto on April14, 2015, on the eve of the UEFA Champions League quarter finals football match FC Porto vs FC Bayern Munich. AFP PHOTO / FRANCISCO LEONG        (Photo credit should read FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The USMNT faces Germany on June 10 in Cologne after a June 5 date at Amsterdam Arena against the Netherlands.

  15. Ten best young ‘newcomers’ of the 2014-15 Premier League season

    May 26, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    Can gave Liverpool an early lead but they collapsed. Can gave Liverpool an early lead but they collapsed.

    A great deal of clubs can find young talent on our list, as the 2014-15 season review continues.

  16. Reports: Napoli will announce Rafa Benitez departure Thursday; Headed for Real Madrid

    May 26, 2015, 4:33 PM EDT

    VERONA, ITALY - MARCH 15:  Head coach  of SSC Napoli Rafa Benitez looks on  during the Serie A match between Hellas Verona FC and SSC Napoli at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on March 15, 2015 in Verona, Italy.  (Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Napoli finished fourth in Serie A, and made it to the Europa League semifinal before being bounced by Dnipro.

  17. The Premier League’s top and bottom transfers of the season

    May 26, 2015, 3:41 PM EDT

    Arsenal FC v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League Getty Images

    This list will tend to include more high-profile names than low-risk moves that didn’t pan out.

  18. VIDEO: Premier League Team of the Week – Round 38

    May 26, 2015, 2:38 PM EDT

    Find out which 11 players shone during the final matchday of the 2014-15 PL season.

Featured video

Chelsea lift the 2014-15 PL trophy