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It's official: Lionel Messi DOESN'T hold the goal scoring record

Fifa refuse to ratify Lionel Messi's goalscoring record amid challenges from Brazil and Zambia

When Lionel Messi scored his 86th goal of the season last Sunday, it was the trigger for the Barcelona forward to be showered with yet more praise.

It meant the three-time Ballon d'Or winner had passed the 40-year-old record of 85 goals scored in a calender year set by Gerd Muller.

Yet soon after the world's greatest player had achieved the feat, challenges emerged claiming that in fact the real record was much higher.

First the Zambian FA claimed Kabwe Warriors striker Godfrey Chitalu had scored 107 goals in 1972. They are currently compiling evidence to support this claim.

Brazil legend Zico has also been put forward, with his former club Flamengo suggesting he scored 89 goals in 1979.

While the debate has raged, football's world governing body Fifa has remained silent - until now.

And rather than settling the argument one way or the other, Fifa have refused to get involved, explaining that because Fifa do not keep domestic records "it's not an official Fifa record".

Fifa spokesman Alex Stone told BBC Sport: "We don't have a database which details every football game played in every country from around the world since day one of their formation.

"It's certainly nothing to do with bias - if we can confirm records from our tournaments we like doing that.

"It's the sort of data fans and the media like to see."

Stone went on to confirm that Fifa has not recognised Messi as holding the record.

"It's a record where someone in the media obviously collected statistics from somewhere and noticed Messi was about to pass that record."

Messi scored twice in midweek to take his tally for the year to 88 - one shy of Zico. Barcelona have two games remaining this year, meaning he may well pass it - but the 107 scored by Chitalu looks out of reach - even for the little magician.

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