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Messi sets single-season goal record with hat trick against Malaga

Messi (Getty Images)

Lionel Messi's season won't end atop the UEFA Champions League winner's podium, but that doesn't mean it won't go down as the most prolific individual season in European soccer history.

Messi tallied a hat trick against Malaga in Barcelona's 4-1 victory Wednesday, scoring his 68th goal in all competitions and breaking Gerd Mueller's record of 67 set in the 1972-1973 season for Bayern Munich. The three-time defending Ballon d'Or winner tied Mueller's record with two goals from the penalty spot before blowing down the center of the field, chipping the on-rushing goalkeeper and finishing into an empty net for the record-setter.

Of Messi's goals, 46 have come in league play. He scored 14 in the Champions League, three in the Spanish SuperCopa, two in the Copa del Rey, two in the Club World Cup and one in the UEFA Super Cup.

Digging even deeper, Messi has scored multiple goals in 22 games and had 10 hat tricks, and he scored a career-high five goals in a Champions League win over Bayer Leverkusen. He has three more games to go to break the 70-goal barrier, including two in league play and one in the Copa del Rey final.


  1. I’m pretty sure that the contract he signed on a napkin way back when in Argentina was signed with his blood. He’s soul-bound to Barcelona…


  2. … And not to mention, seeing Rooney handle the technique and creativity of la Liga would be awesome as well.

    To your concern about Leo being injured frequently in the EPL, it sort of highlights the point I’m making between the lines, which is that we can marvel at a 40+ league goal tabulation, but its very hard to compare across leagues. I admit to rig an EPL fan, but I’ve watched my share of La Liga matches. Let’s face it: outaide if the top 3-4 sides, the defending is often horrendous. Space is not closed down, outside backs are always caught out too far upfield, and central defenders do not pose themselves (or are not permitted to) upon the match.

    All I’m asking is, what’s the over under for Messi in the EPL? 35 is my guess. He showed in the last world cup that he’s a strong player and not a dominant one when taken out of Barca and la Liga. I just want to test the hypothesis.

  3. I’d love to see him in the EPL just for the sheer thrill factor.

    But let’s be honest, if he had played in an era with Roy Keane and the other “hard men” he’d be injured half the time.

    I’d love to see him swap with Rooney. Messi and Chicharito up front would be pretty deadly.

  4. I agree with you, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to see him play in a different league to see how he adapts. In a faster, more physical league like the EPL and without Xavi and Iniesta passing to him, I’d wager he would not be scoring 60 goals a season. I’m sure it’d more like 45 or something. That what I love about Ronaldo, he’s already proved he can handle the EPL. That guy can play anywhere, no question…

  5. If he was really that team-oriented, he wouldn’t have so many goals and pass it more. Ball hog…

    (I’m totally kidding)

  6. I love Messi, and congrats to him. Let’s just get that out of the way. He has nothing left to prove.

    That said (there’s always a “that said”), I would really like to see, just for my own personal curiosity, how he fared in a more physical league with better defending and tighter marking, like the premiership. He’d still be a top 5 player in that league and maybe the best. But his game is so taylor made for Spain and for Barca’s style that I’d just love to see how he fared in a different league. Again, for anybody ready to pounce on me for ‘hating’ or whatever, I’m not saying that the guy has anything left to prove.

  7. Only in today’s society can a humble, team-oriented player like Messi get trolled for breaking a record.

    Some people just have to hate, jeez.

  8. The Big O averaged a triple double.

    For Wilt to average a triple double that would mean he would have to pass the ball.

  9. Said this earlier but it also looks like barring a Gomez hat-trick in the CL final, Messi will be the first player in the history of the European Cup or CL to be the competition’s top scorer four years in a row.

    That will also tie Gerd Muller’s record for being top-scorer 4 total times.

    He has the most goals in the knockout phase of the CL/European Cup, and is #4 in total all-time CL/European Cup goals.

    Still 24 years old.

  10. Wayne Gretzky had a season with 92 goals (not comparing that directly to Messi’s goal total), and I think he had another season that produced more overall points. That’s pretty damn amazing too…

  11. As an impartial fan that just enjoys good soccer, it’s kind of anti-climatic for Messi to have arguably the greatest seasons in history and not be in the UCL Finals

  12. What a joy to watch such a player. And the record breaking goal was pure class and epitomized his journey this season.

    Ladies and gentleman, your 4th consecutive world player of the year!

  13. It’s hard to find one that compares. Tiger Woods winning six straight tournaments or even when he won 4 straight majors. Didn’t Wilt Chamberlain average a triple-double in a season. I’m just trying to think of something that would equal the dominance that he has had this season.

  14. “Yes, but everyone knows that Neymar is bett”-sorry, so sorry, I can’t do this, I can’t do this…LOL.

    Congratulations, Messi! Man, you grow up hearing stories from your parents about Pele and others who were too old for me to watch and enjoy. It sure feels good to have heros from our own time. Guys we can bore our kids to death with about their great feats and being the best that ever played the game.

    Messi is pure class and I am very happy for him. It would have been even better if he was American. Ah, to dream…


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