Lionel Messi takes goal tally to 88 with Barcelona brace - and has a new record in sight

Following Zambia's claims over the goals in a year record, apparently Brazil legend Zico scored 89 in 1979
  • @simonrice

The target for Lionel Messi was 86 - but he's not stopping there if last night's match is anything to go by.

After surpassing Gerd Muller's 40-year-old record for goals scored in a calendar year on Sunday, the Argentine joked with reporters that "I am going to try to score one or two more (before the end of the year) to make it more difficult for anyone who comes after me."

Only it doesn't seem the world's greatest player was joking.

The Barcelona number 10 scored both goals in his side's Copa del Rey victory over Córdoba in the first-leg of their last-16 match.

His first of the night against the second division side came in the 11th minute when he clipped a cross from David Villa in off the underside of the bar. His second was in the 74th minute when he slotted low into the net after being sent clear.

Messi is widely acknowledged to now hold the record for the most goals in a calendar year - a tally that now stands at 88, although there has been some debate after the Zambian FA claimed Kabwe Warriors striker Godfrey Chitalu scored 107 goals in 1972.

Flamengo are also claiming Muller's record is not the right one. According to the Rio based side, former Brazil captain Zico scored 89 goals in 1979.

"We are upset. Messi still hasn't passed the milestone," Bruno Lucena, the head of Flamengo's research and statistics department is quoted as telling the daily Lance. Apparently, Zico scored 81 goals for Flamengo, seven for Brazil and one in a friendly between Argentina and a Rest of the World XI.

The form Messi is in, he will probably pass the latter record. Although with just two games remaining for Barcelona this season, Chitalu's looks out of reach - even for the little magician.