Lionel Messi can match and possibly surpass Gerd Muller’s goal-scoring record tonight, but how does he compare to the German statistically?
Muller currently holds the record for the most goals scored in a calendar year for club and country, having netted 85 times during the 12 months of 1972 for Bayern Munich and West Germany.
In this evening’s closing Champions League Group G match between Barcelona and Benfica, Messi needs to score just once to pull level with Muller.
The Argentine is expected to do so by the end of the year and to also set a new record for goals scored in a calendar year.
However, it is interesting to note that Muller’s 85 goals were scored in 60 games during 1972, whilst Messi’s 84 strikes managed so far in 2012 have come across 64 appearances.
A breakdown in comparison between the two shows that Muller’s 85 were achieved during a year in which he netted five times in two games – once in the Bundesliga and once in the European Cup. The German scored four in single games three times – two of which were with his national team – whilst he also managed a total of five hat-tricks and 12 double-strikes.
Messi, meanwhile, has so far scored five goals in a single game this year, against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League, and scored four times twice, against Espanyol and Valencia in the League, whilst he has netted six hat-tricks and 16 times scored twice in a game.
Muller turned 27 during the year in which he achieved his record, whilst Messi is closing in on it during a year in which he has turned 25.