Messi: I can add more to record tally

Barcelona ace Lionel Messi became a father for the first time last month at the age of 25.

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But rather than slowing the star player down, parenthood seems only to have sharpened Messi's goalmouth talent.

The World Player of the Year passed two long-standing records with a La Liga double at Real Betis on Sunday, beating the 40-year-old mark of Gerd Muller's 85 strikes in a calendar year and also overtaking Cesar Rodriguez, who played in the 1940s and 50s, as Barca's top scorer in the league with a tally of 192.

Messi still has two La Liga games and a King's Cup match to extend his 2012 total and if he keeps going at his current rate his records are unlikely to be challenged for many years.

"I am going to try to score one or two more times (before the end of the year) to make it more difficult for anyone who comes after me," joked a typically modest Messi.

"The record is great for what it means, but the most important thing is that the team won and maintained the distance with the teams behind us.

"When the year starts the objective is to win everything with the team – personal records are secondary."

The debate over whether the forward is the best player of all time will rage on and perhaps only ever be settled if Messi can claim what soccer greats Pele and Diego Maradona both took with their respective nations – a World Cup title.

The question is often posed as to whether Messi would be so prolific if he didn't play alongside Barca team mates like Xavi and Andres Iniesta, and there is certainly nobody of that calibre in the current Argentina team.

However, his 12 national goals in nine appearances in 2012 equalled the Argentinian record held by Gabriel Batistuta, and this certainly suggests that the player can still show class without top-class team-mates.

Tito Vilanova, the man lucky enough to manage Messi at club level, said: "We're pleased that Messi helped us out with his two goals and broke the record of Muller.

"He still has three matches left this year, so let's see if he can extend his record. We hope that he still has a lot left to give – he's still young.

"He's a world-renowned star that has a series of attributes that make him nearly unrepeatable."

Andoni Zubizaretta, the sporting director at Barcelona, added: "We will ultimately evaluate Leo's records with the passing of time.

"He will always say that the goals are the result of the work of everyone, that it's a team effort – but the scoring talent is his alone.

"For anyone who likes football,watching Leo is a piece of great fortune."


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