Lionel Messi told he must score another 22 goals this year to break record

Zambian FA claim record belongs to Godfrey Chitalu who scored 107 goals in a calendar year

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The Independent Football

Lionel Messi has been lauded across the world this week after his brace against Real Betis saw him overtake Gerd Muller's 40-year-old record for the most goals scored in a calendar year.

The Argentine's tally for the year was taken to 86, one more than the 85 scored by Muller in 1972.

However, according to the Zambian FA, the record was never Muller's to be broken, but was rather Kabwe Warriors striker Godfrey Chitalu who scored 107 goals, also in 1972.

The five-time Zambian player of the year's feat was never officially recognised by Fifa, and the Zambian FA is launching a bid to have his goals officially recorded.

Should they be successful, it would mean Barcelona forward Messi needs another 22 goals before the end of the year. With just three games to do it in, even for arguably the most gifted player of all time, it might prove a struggle.

"We have this record, which has been recorded in Zambian football, but unfortunately it has not been recorded in world football," said a Zambia FA spokesperson. "Even as the world has been looking at Lionel Messi's record, breaking Gerd Müller's, the debate and discussion back here has been why Godfrey's goals are not being recognised.

"What we are doing is, we have commissioned an independent team locally to go back into the archives and record minute-by-minute each of those goals. The team that we have put together is going to calculate all of those goals, recording whichever game or tournament they were scored in.

"We will then send that to CAF [Confederation of African Football] and Fifa so that we can show that, while Messi's record is there, while Müller's record is there, the actual record holder in terms of goals per calendar year is actually an African. It's actually Godfrey Chitalu."

Chitalu scored the goals across at least four domestic competitions as well as appearing for the national side. He went on to become the national coach of Zambia before he died in 1993 when a plane carrying the team crashed.