La Liga wrap: Barça’s Lionel Messi finally breaks Gerd Müller’s record

La Liga wrap: Lionel Messi nets his 86th goal in 2012 for Barcelona in a 2-1 victory over Real Betis. Tom Wellman reports

By    
lionel messi
Lionel Messi has scored 86 goals in 2012 Photo: FC Barcelona

lionel messi

Messi emulates Müller as a goal-scoring great

Lionel Messi’s week was dominated by fears over a knee injury sustained in the draw with Benfica, but the Argentina star shrugged off any pain to eclipse Gerd Müller’s 40-year record for the number of goals scored in a calendar year. On 84 goals coming into the tie with Betis, Messi took little time in grabbing his first to draw level with Muller and put Barça 1-0 up. The 25-year-old eclipsed Muller shortly after by finding the corner following Andrés Iniesta’s back heel – the Argentine’s 86th goal of an incredible 2012. Despite his strikes, Betis came close to winning a point, hitting the woodwork three times in the second half after Ruben Castro pulled one back before half-time. Instead Barça ran down the clock sufficiently and secured their 14th league win of the season.

Phenomenal Falcao plunders five in Deportivo rout

Goal scoring records tumbled on Sunday night as Radamel Falcao made history of his own, netting five against a despondent Deportivo La Coruna. No Atlético Madrid player had ever scored five in La Liga before and Falcao became the first player, since Fernando Morientes in 2002, to score so many in a single La Liga game. Although the Colombian’s first was marginally offside, his second was a stunner from 20 yards that curled perfectly away from keeper Daniel Aranzubia. His third came from the penalty spot, a fourth was nodded in from a yard out and Falcao then worked his way into a shooting position for his record-breaking fifth. Diego Costa scored the other in a 6-0 drubbing keeping Atlético in Barcelona’s shadow but rooting Deportivo to the bottom of the table.

Mourinho’s men improve wretched away form

Mesut Özil scored two crucial goals as Real Madrid avoided another embarrassing result against Valladolid at the Estadio José Zorrilla. Madrid’s away from has been woeful this season, losing three already and fell behind twice thanks to former Manchester United striker Manucho. Madrid fought back, unlike against Betis in their last away league performance, as Karim Benzema scored the first before Özil equalised again before half-time. The Germany international netted a free-kick, generously awarded and graciously accepted by Real, which proved to be the pivotal moment. Unusually, regular free-kick taker Cristiano Ronaldo opted to allow Özil to take the set-piece – strange considering he had walloped one in against Atlético last week – which was a rare sign of unity within the squad this season.

Valverde has instant impact at Valencia

Valencia wasted little time in appointing Maurico Pellegrino’s successor as Ernesto Valverde stepped into the vacant managerial role for the first time against Osasuna. Valverde had inherited a squad yet to win away from home but he changed that statistic immediately as Roberto Soldado’s goal was the difference between them and their struggling opponents. It appears that Soldado has finally found some form too having scored four in his previous three La Liga games and if Valverde can coax the best from him then Valencia could make a timely surge towards the top four.

Relegation fears increase as Levante humble desperate Mallorca

On a winless run almost as lengthy as Queens Park Rangers’, Mallorca are in desperate danger of relegation. Even though they were at full-strength, Levante managed to record a comfortable 4-0 thrashing courtesy of some calamitous defensive play. Pedro Geromel gifted Obafemi Martins the first, falling over the ball in the Mallorca penalty area and David Navarro then scored the easiest header of his career, unmarked from a corner. Ruben Garcia finished off a neat move for Levante’s third before Vicente Iborra made it four as Mallorca failed to get anywhere near either goal scorer. The atrocious defending leavesJoaquín Caparrós with plenty to contemplate as Mallorca hover perilously above the bottom three.

MORE: Top 20 Nigerian players in Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature

MORE: The 15 best African players to have worn the Arsenal shirt

MORE: Do you know the top Muslim footballers in the Premier League?

MORE: Back to The Sport Review homepage

MORE: Man United latest news

MORE: Arsenal latest news

MORE: Chelsea latest news

MORE: Liverpool latest news

Slideshow
The Sport Review
The 13 best African players to have worn the Liverpool FC shirt
Slideshow
The Sport Review
Top 25 most stylish footballers: Arsenal, Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
15 of the best foods to eat after a gym workout
The Sport Review
Arsenal WAGs 2017: Meet Granit Xhaka, Shkodran Mustafi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s wives and girlfriends
The Sport Review
12 young Arsenal players who fans should get excited about
The Sport Review
Top 25 Muslim football players in Premier League: Arsenal, Liverpool, Man United and Chelsea stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 26 Christian footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd players feature
The Sport Review
Roberto Firmino: 25 photos of the Liverpool forward’s stunning wife
The Sport Review
Federer, Kohlschreiber, Verdasco and more are 30 and thriving in Dubai
The Sport Review
Four stats highlight why Chelsea are better without Cesc Fabregas
The Sport Review
Dubai 2017: Stan Wawrinka, the quiet champion, falls to outsider Dzumhur