Lionel Messi Passes Pele’s Goal-Scoring Mark, Eyes Gerd Muller’s All-Time Record

We don’t know if Pele was watching when Lionel Messi scored his first goal on Sunday. If “O Rei” (the King) happened to tune in after Messi scored again, he would have seen the FC Barcelona superstar leaving him in the dust.

Messi’s pair, goals number 75 and 76 of 2012, moved him past Pele on the list of all-time top scorers in a calendar year. The Argentine is nine goals shy of Gerd Muller‘s record, according to the Associated Press.

Pele scored 75 goals in 53 games with Santos and the Brazilian national team in 1958. Messi has notched 76 in 59 games with Barcelona and Argentina in 2012.

Muller set the record in 1972, scoring 85 goals in 60 games for Bayern Munich and Germany.

FC Barcelona plays nine more games in 2012. Argentina will play twice before the end of the year. If Messi avoids injury and continues scoring at this rate, he’ll pass “Der Bomber” before Dec. 25.

The 25-year-old helped Barcelona earn a 4-2 victory over Real Mallorca in Sunday’s La Liga game, and his exploits continue to amaze observers — even those closest to him.

“Leo’s records are spectacular” said Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova. “It’s spectacular when you think that he scores so many goals. Some few players reach these numbers in seven or eight seasons, he does it in one. And most of his goals are great goals.”

As it currently stands, Messi, “the Atomic Flea” is wedged between the King and the Bomber. It’s only a matter of time before he bursts to the forefront and sets a new standard for on-field excellence.

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