Lionel Messi breaks Gerd Mueller's 40-year record with 86th goal
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Messi, who became a father for the first time on Nov. 2 to a baby boy named Thiago, was announced as one of the three finalists for the FIFA world player of the year award along with teammate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi has won the Ballon d'Or award for the past three years in helping Barcelona win three Spanish league titles and two Champions League crowns, along with various other competitions. He is seeking to become the only player to win the award for a fourth time when the winner is announced in Switzerland on Jan. 7.
Iniesta participated in both of Barcelona's goals in Seville on Sunday, and Messi said he would be happy to see his teammate win the award.
"If the Ballon d'Or is for Andres, he deserves it for everything he shows us game after game,'' Messi said.
Nicknamed "The Flea'' for his small stature and uncanny ability to slice through defenses, Messi has shattered several records during the past year.
He scored 73 times in all competitions for Barcelona last season, breaking the previous European club record of 67 goals set by Mueller in 1972-73 and the prior world club mark of 70 established by Archie Stark of Bethlehem Steel in the American Soccer League in 1924-25.
Fittingly, Messi scored his 73rd and final goal of the 2011-12 season as Barcelona beat Athletic Bilbao 3-0 in the Copa del Rey final in May to give then-coach Pep Guardiola his 14th title in his final game.
In March, Messi passed Cesar Rodriguez's 57-year-old milestone of 232 goals to become Barcelona all-time leading scorer. He also equaled the record of 14 goals in a single European Cup competition last season, scoring five times in one Champions League match to set yet another mark.
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