Major Milestones For Modest Magician Messi
10 December 2012
The plaudits are raining in for Lionel Messi, after another memorable night of milestones for the peerless Barcelona phenomenon.
Messi’s brace in Barca’s 2-1 win over Real Betis took him to 23 La Liga goals this season, and there is no telling how many he will finally notch before the end of the 2012-13 campaign.
But football fans need not wait until the end of the season to see La Pulga Atomica re-write the history books.
His two goals last night took him past Cesar Rodriguez as Barca’s all-time top goalscorer with 192.
And he has now scored 86 goals in the calendar year, two more than Gerd Muller’s previous 40-year-old record.
After Messi left a mark on football that may never be erased, his team-mate Gerard Pique showered him with the kind of praise he has become accustomed to.
"Leo is supernatural," Pique said.
"He doesn't have limits. We'll always have to remember everything he gave us. We have to enjoy every minute we have with him."
Barca manager Tito Vilanova was equally effusive.
"It seems impossible to score so many goals, let's hope he can add to the record in the games to come," said Vilanova.
"He is still young and gives us so much, even tonight he helped us out defensively when we needed it, he has so many more qualities than just his goals."
Messi meanwhile, was typically low key regarding his own spectacular feats.
The little superstar reiterated his belief that helping Barca win more titles is his raison d'être, and that shattering the foundational records of football is just an occupational hazard for him.
"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.
"My goals are to win titles with the team, the Spanish league, Spanish Cup or Champions League is more important than any personal records. My objective at the start of the season was to win another La Liga title."
Messi even went so far as to nominate his Barca team-mate Andres Iniesta as the most worthy winner of the upcoming Ballon d’Or award.
Although now that he has scored more goals during the year under Ballon d’Or consideration than any other individual player in history, perhaps La Pulga Atomica is being excessively humble this time.
"If Iniesta wins [the Ballon d’Or], 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," he said.