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Messi sets UEFA Champions League goal record

By scoring twice against AC Milan, Lionel Messi broke the record for most strikes in a UEFA Champions League season and also matched José Altafini's 14-goal European Cup best.

Lionel Messi converts the first of his two penalties at the Camp Nou
Lionel Messi converts the first of his two penalties at the Camp Nou ©AFP/Getty Images

Lionel Messi became the outright holder of the record for most goals in a single UEFA Champions League campaign after scoring the first of his two penalties in FC Barcelona's 3-1 quarter-final triumph against AC Milan.

Starting the second leg at the Camp Nou with 12 European goals to his name this season, the same total he registered last term and which Ruud van Nistelrooy managed in 2002/03 for Manchester United FC, the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year set a new best when he beat Christian Abbiati from the spot after 11 minutes.

That was also his 50th goal in the competition – a milestone previously reached by Raúl González, Van Nistelrooy and Thierry Henry. Continuing a prolific season in which he has become the first player to score five times in a UEFA Champions League game, against Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Messi then equalled José Altafini's 14-goal all-time European Cup record for Milan in 1962/63 when he converted his second spot kick four minutes before half-time.

The 24-year-old has struck three more continental goals in 2011/12 than Mario Gomez, whose FC Bayern München team are also through to the semi-finals. 

UEFA Champions League leading scorers season by season
2010/11: Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) – 12 goals
2009/10: Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) – 8
2008/09: Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) – 9
2007/08: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United FC) – 8
2006/07: Kaká (AC Milan) – 10
2005/06: Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan) – 9
2004/05: Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United FC) – 8
2003/04: Fernando Morientes (AS Monaco FC) – 9
2002/03: Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United FC) – 12
2001/02: Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United FC) – 10
2000/01: Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan) – 9
1999/00: Mário Jardel (FC Porto), Rivaldo (FC Barcelona), Raúl González (Real Madrid CF) – 10
1998/99: Andriy Shevchenko (FC Dynamo Kyiv), Dwight Yorke (Manchester United FC) – 8
1997/98: Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus) – 10
1996/97: Milinko Pantić (Club Atlético de Madrid) – 5
1995/96: Jari Litmanen (AFC Ajax) – 9
1994/95: George Weah (Paris Saint-Germain FC) – 7
1993/94: Ronald Koeman (FC Barcelona), Wynton Rufer (SV Werder Bremen) – 8
1992/93: Romário (PSV Eindhoven) – 7