The Barcelona star scored his 68th goal of the season on Wednesday, breaking Gerd Muller‘s record for most goals in a European season.
Messi scored two penalties and a wonderful solo effort against Malaga. His ninth hat-trick of the season gives him 46 goals in the La Liga campaign, with two games left to play. Those league goals, combined with the 14 he has scored in the UEFA Champions League, two in the Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup), three in the Spanish Super Cup, one in the European Super Cup and two at the Club World Cup set a new standard in European soccer.
German great Muller set the record while playing with Bayern Munich in the 1972-73 season. That record output helped earn him the nickname “Bomber der Nation” (the Nation’s Bomber).
Messi and Barcelona are locked in an epic rivalry with Real Madrid and its Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo. Real Madrid triumphed in La Liga, ending Barcelona’s three-year reign at the top of the Spanish game.
The world’s two best players are also duking it out for the “Pichichi” award, which goes to the top scorer in La Liga. Messi has 46 goals and Ronaldo has 44.
Like any sport, it seems the rivalry has pushed both to hit spectacular new heights. Long may it continue, as there is room at the top for both stars.