Barcelona news

Zambians contest Messi goal record

December 12, 2012
By ESPN staff, Dermot Corrigan, Spain Correspondent

The Zambian Football Association are to contest the validity of Lionel Messi's record calendar year goalscoring record.

Lionel Messi is all smiles after breaking Gerd Muller's scoring record
GettyImagesLionel Messi is all smiles after breaking Gerd Muller's scoring record

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Messi's brace for Barcelona in their 2-1 Primera Division win against Real Betis on Sunday took him onto 86 goals and past Gerd Muller's tally of 85 but the Zambian FA claim to have new evidence ready to present to FIFA which will show Kabwe Warriors striker Godfrey Chitalu scored 107 goals in 1972.

"Our researchers came through today with some amazing results," Erick Mwanza, the FA's spokesperson said. "They presented it this morning to the vice-president of the football association of Zambia. It's all concrete, it's recorded match by match, goal by goal."

A Zambian FA spokesperson had previously revealed plans to send the records to FIFA in an effort to correct historical records.

"Even as the world has been looking at Lionel Messi's record, breaking Gerd Müller's, the debate and discussion back here has been why Godfrey's goals are not being recognised," they said.

"We will then send [records of Chitalu's goals] to CAF [Confederation of African Football] and FIFA so that we can show that, while Messi's record is there, while Müller's record is there, the actual record holder in terms of goals per calendar year is actually an African. It's actually Godfrey Chitalu."

Chitalu, who won Zambia's player of the year award five times, scored the goals in at least four domestic competitions and the Zambian national team.

Meanwhile, Lionel Messi's father says it is impossible to think of his son playing for any other club than Barcelona.

With media reports this week in Spain suggesting Blaugrana president Sandro Rosell was working on a new contract offer which could tie the Argentine to the Camp Nou until 2020, Jorge Messi told Spanish radio station Cadena COPE on Tuesday that he could not imagine his son wearing a different club jersey.

"It is impossible to think about him (leaving)," Messi senior said. "There would have to be a huge accident in the world for Leo to leave Barcelona. He has always said he wants to retire at Barca."

Messi admitted he had been worried when Leo was stretchered off against Benfica last week, but was then delighted when he returned against Betis to break Muller's 40-year-old record.

"It seemed impossible he would beat the record of a monster like (Muller)," he said. "He scored a very important amount of goals. He has the luck to have a team which helps him a lot. He keeps scoring goals so that his team wins titles. Hopefully things will continue like this."

Messi senior said he hoped to be celebrating a fourth consecutive Ballon d'Or for the family when the 2012 prize is announced next month, but had kind words for contenders Andres Iniesta and Cristiano Ronaldo.

"If they do not give to Messi, I do not know who they would give it to," he said. "Of course I could choose Iniesta, he deserves it too. It is closely fought for. Cristiano has had a great season."

Leo was not being falsely modest when he claimed team trophies were more important than personal recognition, Jorge added.

"He is very competitive with himself and with the team," he said. "He has always said that, and it is the truth. He always puts the team first. What he wants to achieve are trophies for the team, not personal awards. He is very frank when he says that."