Messi passes Muller for another record

Posted by Paul Carr, ESPN Stats & Information

Lionel Messi scored twice in Barcelona's 2-1 win over Real Betis on Sunday, giving him 86 goals for club and country in 2012.

Messi surpassed Gerd Muller's calendar-year record of 85 goals, which he accomplished in 1972. Messi has 74 goals for Barcelona and 12 for Argentina this year; Muller had 72 for Bayern Munich and 13 for West Germany.

Games played is not a perfect measure, considering the variances in teammates, quality of competition and numerous other differences. But the fact remains that Messi needed more games than Muller to accomplish his feat. The Argentine has played 66 games thus far in 2012, with up to three games remaining this year. Muller played 60 games in 1972.

Although Messi is already the three-time defending Ballon d'Or winner, his goal scoring leapt forward this year. His 86 goals are 26 more than his previous best of 60 in 2010, with his international form spiking most noticeably. Messi's dozen goals for Argentina this year doubled his former career high of six back in 2007.

Not to be overlooked, Messi's brace on Sunday also gave him 192 La Liga goals with Barcelona, breaking the club record that César Rodríguez set from 1942 to 1955.

So what's left for the 25-year-old superstar to accomplish? Among the records on the horizon are the Champions League and Argentina scoring marks. Messi is currently tied with Ruud van Nistelrooy for second most Champions League goals with 56, trailing Raúl's record by 15 goals. With 31 goals in his 76 international appearances, Messi is still well behind Gabriel Batistuta's Argentina record of 56, which he scored in only 78 games.

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