Lionel Messi passed Pelé’s goal milestone of 75 goals in a calendar year on Sunday night with the Argentinian maestro scoring for the 75th and 76th time in 2012.
The 25-year-old’s two goals came in Barcelona’s comfortable 4-2 victory at Real Mallorca. The double strike now means Messi is within nine goals of Gerd Müller’s all-time record while Pelé bagged 75 goals for Brazil and Santos in 1958, Müller scored an astonishing 85 in 1972 for Bayern Munich and West Germany.
After seeing his star man dismantle Mallorca, Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova gushed:
“Leo’s records are spectacular. Few players reach these numbers in seven or eight seasons, yet he does it in one. And most of his goals are great goals.”
Barcelona’s victory meant the Catalan outfit preserved their unbeaten start to the domestic season, but it will be Messi’s record that steals the headlines. After Xavi Hernández had opened the scoring with a free-kick in the 28th minute, Messi struck his first just before half-time, dribbling past three Mallorca defenders before blasting a left-foot shot that crept beneath opposition goalkeeper Dudu Aouate.
With Cristian Tello securing victory with a third goal just one minute later, it was left to Lionel Messi to pass Pelé’s goals milestone. With 70 minutes gone at the Iberostar stadium, the forward received a pass from Alexis Sánchez and efficiently smashed the ball into the top corner to cement victory.
That strike completed Messi’s seventh double of the season and gave him 15 goals in 11 league games.
What is especially impressive is that Messi has passed Pelé’s goals milestone in an age when top defenses are notoriously tighter than in the great Brazilian’s day. Twitter users were quick to recognize the achievement, with fans flooding the social network to praise the little Argentinian:
Congrats to Lionel Messi! He continues to make history! Today he’s surpassed Pelé’s record of goals scored in a calendar year with 76!
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) November 11, 2012
May I just remind everyone that Lionel Messi is just 25 years old. He must be an alien.
— Sport Jokes (@FootballFunnys) November 11, 2012
Lionel Messi broken record of Pele for 75 Goals scored in a year. He scored 76 goals this year, still 1 and half month left. What a player !
— Football Jokes (@Footy_Jokes) November 11, 2012
The video below contains all 76 of Lionel Messi’s goals in 2012 (and here’s five of his best ever):