Last year, Lionel Messi took the football world by storm by smashing the record for the most goals scored in one season in Europe. The striker scored an unmatched 73 goals for Barcelona in all club competitions in one season, with 50 of these coming from La Liga matches alone.
As well as a world class striker, Messi proved himself to be a great team player by providing his teammates with 16 assists, just one behind Real Madrid’s Mesut Özil’s record for last season.
But has Messi set a goal scoring record so high that even he can’t beat it this season? Or will he shock the world again by scoring 74 or more goals this season?
At the start of 2013 he had scored 35 goals in all competitions, only a couple of goals away from the halfway point of the record breaking 74 goal target.
There are 21 games still left to play in the La Liga season and Barcelona sitting comfortably in the final 16 of the Copa del Rey cup and Champions League, and with tickets for these matches still available via www.spainticketbureau.com there is still plenty of opportunity to catch the Argentinean maestro in action
With this amount of league games left there is still plenty of time for Messi to score the further 39 goals he needs to break his record.
For most players, 39 goals in that many matches would be a big ask. But Messi makes a habit of making sure Barcelona win their matches comfortably, scoring multiple goals more often than scoring just one.
Of course the only real threat to his record breaking challenge is every footballer’s worse nightmare, picking up an injury. In the last match of the group stage of the Champions League, it looked like the dream might be over when Messi was stretchered off the pitch after a collision.
Messi told fans he, “sincerely thought it was the last ball I'd touch for a long time because of the pain.” Luckily scans of his left knee only showed up light bruising and no broken bones or damaged muscles.
Barcelona obviously has faith their top striker can repeat last year’s performance after extending his contract till the middle of 2018. He’s also appeared in every match in this La Ligua season, another indication that manager Francesc Vilanova is confident that his star player will continue to score more and more incredible goals.
The previous record, set by German footballer Gerd Müller, stood for 40 years until Messi smashed it last year. On hearing the news, Müller said that he was “delighted that the best player in the world had broken his record”, describing Messi as an “incredible and gigantic player”.
Whilst at the moment it may be too close to call, I don’t think anybody will be too surprised if Messi’s record does not last the 40 years that Gerd Müller’s did. But at the moment he has the luxury of knowing he is the only player coming close to challenge his own record.
Even if he doesn’t break his record, he looks sure to be the best goal scorer in the world again this year.