Madrid: Lionel Messi insists that his record-breaking 86-goal haul in 2012 will count for nothing if Barcelona miss out on La Liga and Champions League titles.
The Argentine star wrote his name into the history books by overhauling German legend Gerd Mueller’s 1972 record of 85 goals in a calendar year with a first-half double that helped his side to an important 2-1 win at Real Betis, as briefly reported in Monday’s CM edition.
But the 25-year-old was happier to highlight the win more than the record as his team eye a domestic and European double.
“I’ve said it a lot, it’s nice to beat records but the win for the team is what is important and the points difference at the top,” said Messi as Barcelona maintained their six-point lead over Atletico Madrid and 11-point gap on Real Madrid.
“My goal is to win titles with the teamů The Spanish league, Spanish Cup or Champions League is more important than any personal records.”
It did not take long for Messi to equal Mueller’s record with his side’s first real attack on 16 minutes in Seville, making a diagonal run across the Betis defence before hitting a left footed shot into the right hand corner.
His history-making moment came nine minutes later when he struck from almost an identical position after good play from Adriano and Andres Iniesta.
“My objective at the start of the season was to win another La Liga title,” added Messi, who is also in line to win a record fourth successive Ballon d’Or.
For that accolade, he will face competition from teammate Iniesta and Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
“If Iniesta wins, it will be well-deserved for all that he has done, for the way he plays. Again, it will also be a prize for the dressing room.”
“I’ll try to score more goals to make it more difficult for the next player that tries to break it.”
His teammates took to Twitter to congratulate him.
“What great match! Congratulations to Leo for having surpassed the record,” wrote goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
Iniesta tweeted: “Congratulations Leo...you are magnificent”.