After setting yet more footballing landmarks by surpassing Gerd Müller's haul for club and country in a calendar year and becoming FC Barcelona's record goalscorer in Liga games, forward Lionel Messi insisted that "personal objectives are secondary" to those of the team.
The Argentinian was a solitary strike away from reaching former FC Bayern München and West Germany striker Müller's 85-goal mark – set in 1972 – prior to last Wednesday's UEFA Champions League meeting with SL Benfica. However, a knee problem sustained in the scoreless draw at Camp Nou threatened to scupper Messi's record-breaking attempt with four games remaining before the year's end.
After his club announced the 25-year-old was merely suffering with a bruised knee, however, Messi quickly recovered to post both goals in his team's 2-1 Liga win away to Real Betis Balompié to take his total to 86 goals for Barcelona and Argentina in 2012. "I was eager to play after the fright I suffered the other day," the 2012 FIFA Ballon D'Or contender explained.
"The record is important because of what it stands for but what's crucial is that the team won at a difficult venue and that we have maintained our lead over the chasing pack," he continued. "When we start the year, the goal is to win everything as a team – personal objectives are secondary."
Along with overtaking Müller's record, Messi registered his 192nd goal in Liga, taking him past César Rodríguez's previous club best of 190 set in the 1940s and 1950s. The Argentinian eclipsed César's 232-goal, all-time club record last March and has since raised his tally to 283. The Barça youth-team product also holds the record for most goals in a Liga season (50) while his 15-hat-tricks is also a club landmark.
A three-time UEFA Champions League winner, Messi sets the standard in that tournament for most goals in a single campaign (14) while he has also been the competition's top scorer for an unprecedented four straight seasons. No other player, meanwhile, can boast of having scored five goals in a single UEFA Champions League game as Messi did against Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the 2011/12 round of 16.
UEFA.com takes a look at some future targets for one of the game's greatest players.
UEFA Champions League top scorer: Raúl González (71)
Messi is currently level in second place with Ruud van Nistelrooy on 56 tournament goals.
UEFA Champions League career hat-tricks
Filippo Inzaghi, Mario Gómez and Messi all currently share a tournament-leading three hat-tricks.
Liga top scorer: Telmo Zarra (251)
With 192 top-flight goals and counting, the Argentinian continues to chip away at the legendary Athletic Club Bilbao forward's tally set between 1940 and 1955.
Liga top scorer in a single season: Lionel Messi (50)
After just 15 top-flight games this term, Messi's total of 23 goals is already one more than he managed at the half-way point in Liga last season.
Most El Clásico goals: Alfredo Di Stéfano (18)
Messi's double in last October's 2-2 draw against Barça's rivals Real Madrid CF moved him to within one of Di Stéfano's mark.
Argentina top scorer: Gabriel Batistuta (56)
With 31 international goals to date, Messi is still some way off 'Batigol's' best.
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