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Dec 10, 2012

Modest Messi humbled by record

Lionel Messi has put the team before his record-breaking achievement after he eclipsed Gerd Muller's tally for goals scored in a calendar year during Barcelona's 2-1 victory over Real Betis on Sunday.

• Hunter: Messi's drive to be the best
• Tyler: Putting Messi's record in context
• Blog: Numbers you need on Messi's year
• European gallery Photo Gallery
• La Liga: Saturday review

Messi netted his 85th and 86th goals of 2012 to move past the mark set by Muller in 1972. However, the Argentine forward insists the emphasis should be on Barca extending their lead at the top of La Liga to six points, rather than his first-half brace.

"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. My objective at the start of the season was to win another La Liga title."

Barca now sit 11 points ahead of fierce rivals Real Madrid. Another battle between the Spanish giants will take place when the Ballon d'Or award is handed out next month, and Messi is hoping that he or team-mate Andres Iniesta ge the nod ahead of Madrid's 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," he said.

Manager Tito Vilanova did not hold back his praise for Messi, though, claiming the feat could be just the start of a string of similar records set during his career.

"It seems impossible to score so many goals, let's hope he can add to the record in the games to come," said Vilanova.

"He is still young and gives us so much, even tonight he helped us out defensively when we needed it, he has so many more qualities than just his goals."

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