Lionel Messi has become the greatest ever goalscorer in a calendar year after scoring a brace in Barcelona's win over Mallorca to take his 2012 tally to 76.
GettyImagesLionel Messi became the highest ever goal scorer in a single calendar year with a brace at Mallorca
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Messi, 25, has scored 64 goals for Barcelona and 12 for Argentina so far this year, helping him surpass Brazilian legend Pele's previous record of 75 goals.
The Argentine has more than 300 career goals and is currently La Liga's top scorer having found the net 15 times in 11 matches this season.
Messi scored Barcelona's second and fourth goals on Sunday to help fight off a resilient Mallorca side that was able to pull two goals back against the league leaders.
Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova praised Messi's goal scoring prowess, insisting they are not all easy chances.
"Leo continually breaks records. His goal tally is spectacular," Vilanova said. "It takes other great players seven or eight seasons to score the amount of goals he scores in one season. Also, some of his goals are absolute beauties."
Sergio Busquets echoed the sentiments of his manager, saying: "If there is a player capable of doing everything, beating all the goalscoring records, it is Leo." And Gerard Pique also praised his team-mate, adding: "Messi? His second goal was a stunner and he gaves us a lot of life. That is why we have him."
Despite scoring four goals, Vilanova was openly disappointed at the 'slightest errors' that are costing Barcelona. But midfielder Cesc Fabregas believes it is not an issue given the strength of Barca's attack.
"Mallorca scored its goals through isolated plays - a defensive error and a penalty," he said. "These things happen. The team's reaction was positive and we managed to score the fourth goal without letting our nerves get the best of us."