'Titles are more important'

Lionel Messi insists that his record-breaking 86-goal haul in 2012 will count for nothing if Barcelona miss out on La Liga and Champions League titles.

The Argentine star wrote his name into the history books by overhauling German legend Gerd Mueller’s 1972 record of 85 goals in a calendar year with a first-half double that helped his side to an important 2-1 win at Real Betis.

But the 25-year-old was happier to highlight the win more than the record as his team eye a domestic and European double. “I’ve said it a lot, it’s nice to beat records but the win for the team is what is important and the points difference at the top,” said Messi.

“My goals are to win titles with the team, the Spanish league, Spanish Cup or Champions League is more important than any personal records.”

It did not take long for Messi to equal Mueller’s record with his side’s first real attack on 16 minutes in Seville and his history-making moment came nine minutes later. “My objective at the start of the season was to win another La Liga title,” added Messi, who is also in line to win a record fourth successive Ballon d’Or.

For that accolade, he will face competition from team-mate Iniesta and Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo. “If Iniesta wins, it will be well-deserved for all that he has done, for the way he plays. Again, it will also be a prize for the dressing room.”
His team-mates took to Twitter to congratulate him. “What great match!

Congratulations to Leo for having surpassed the record,” wrote goalkeeper Victor Valdes. Iniesta tweeted: “Congratulations Leo...you are magnificent”.

Comments (+)