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Nov 23, 2012

Messi: Muller 'great goalscorer'

Muller scored 85 goals in a single calendar year, with the Argentine superstar just five shy of that record following his midweek UEFA Champions League brace over Spartak Moscow. But Messi is refusing to dwell on breaking that particular record.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi has hailed Gerd Muller as a "great goalscorer" as the Argentina international attempts to break his long-standing record.

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Messi's double strike in Barca's routine 3-0 Champions League win over Spartak Moscow on Tuesday brought his tally to 80 goals for 2012, just five behind 'Der Bomber' Muller's calendar year record of 85 set in 1972.

While Messi, 25, says he never saw the former Bayern Munich man live, what he has seen on video he has been more than impressed by.

"I did not see him play, but I have seen a lot of images of him. He was a great goalscorer, he needed very little space to play in," he said.

When asked to explain the competitive drive that pushes him towards such outstanding achievements, Messi says it is something he always had which comes from within.

"I love to train, play and win," he said. "I even like to win in training games. I have been that way since I was a kid and I do not think I will change. That is the way I am. I want to improve and try and win everything we have all over again. I am very competitive in my profession."

The brace against Spartak also saw Messi join ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid centre-forward Ruud Van Nistelrooy in second place in the all time Champions League top scorers list on 56. Messi says this competition, where he has top scored for the last four consecutive seasons, is special to both him and his Barcelona team-mates.

"The Champions League is a challenge for us, because of what it means," he said. "It is the hardest to win, the best to play in and it is where the best teams are. We will work hard to win it again."

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