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Messi passes Pele's goal milestone

updated 9:30 PM EST, Sun November 11, 2012
Lionel Messi, center, celebrates with Barcelona teammates Cesc Fabregas, left, and Xavi Hernandez after matching Pele's 75 goals in a calendar year. Lionel Messi, center, celebrates with Barcelona teammates Cesc Fabregas, left, and Xavi Hernandez after matching Pele's 75 goals in a calendar year.
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Messi magic
Second best
Proud dad
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Golden boot
Goal machine Gerd
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Lionel Messi scores twice as Barcelona beat Mallorca 4-2 on Sunday
  • Argentine forward moves past Pele's landmark 75 goals in a calendar year
  • He now has nine more matches to beat the record set by Gerd Muller in 1972
  • Messi's rival Cristiano Ronaldo suffers eye injury in Real Madrid victory

(CNN) -- The goals just keep flowing for Lionel Messi, who on Sunday surpassed soccer legend Pele's mark of 75 in a calendar year to help Barcelona bounce back from a rare defeat.

The Argentina star netted twice in the 4-2 win at Mallorca that kept the Catalans three points clear in Spain's La Liga, leaving him just nine short of Gerd Muller's all-time record.

The 25-year-old, who became a first-time father earlier this month, was able to put a bit more enthusiasm into his new thumb-sucking celebration than when he scored late in the shock midweek Champions League loss to Scottish side Celtic.

"Leo continually breaks records. His goal tally is spectacular," said Barca manager Tito Vilanova, who has yet to experience a domestic league defeat after his first 11 matches in charge, equaling the best start to a season set by Real Madrid.

Daniel Craig and Cristiano Ronaldo have both been outspoken in their desire to reclaim a right to privacy. Both men have become frustrated with their treatment in public. Daniel Craig and Cristiano Ronaldo have both been outspoken in their desire to reclaim a right to privacy. Both men have become frustrated with their treatment in public.
007 and CR7
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The Real Ronaldo The Real Ronaldo
Barcelona fans hold letters forming the word 'Independencia' and wave Catalan 'Estelada' independence flags in the match against Real Madrid. Barcelona fans hold letters forming the word 'Independencia' and wave Catalan 'Estelada' independence flags in the match against Real Madrid.
Independence day
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Spanish heavyweights battle El Clasico draw Spanish heavyweights battle El Clasico draw
Pep Guardiola waved goodbye to Barcelona on Friday in the only way he knows how -- by winning a trophy. The club's victory in the Spanish Cup final took his haul of trophies to 14 during his four years in charge.
Pep Guardiola waved goodbye to Barcelona on Friday in the only way he knows how -- by winning a trophy. The club's victory in the Spanish Cup final took his haul of trophies to 14 during his four years in charge.
Guardiola's long goodbye
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How Pep Guardiola reinvented football How Pep Guardiola reinvented football

"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."

Read blog: Is loyalty Barca's biggest strength?

Messi has now scored 64 goals for his club and 12 for his country this year, from just 59 matches overall.

Pele managed 75 from 53 as a 17-year-old in 1958, helping Brazil to win the World Cup for the first of a record five times.

Muller, a World Cup winner in 1974, surpassed Pele's record in a year that West Germany won the European Championship.

Messi has yet to win a senior title with Argentina, though he won Olympic gold with the under-23 side in 2008.

He has nine matches left this year to catch Muller -- six in La Liga, two in the Champions League and one in the Spanish Cup.

His two goals against Malaga gave him 15 in the league this season, three clear of his big rival Cristiano Ronaldo -- who scored the opener in Real Madrid's 2-1 win on a waterlogged pitch at Levante in Sunday's late match.

Ronaldo, switched to a central attacking role with Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain out injured, suffered an early blow above the eye and was taken off at halftime.

The Portugal captain is now Real's seventh highest league scorer with 124 goals since his arrival from Manchester United in 2009 in a world-record $130 million transfer.

Levante leveled in the second half through Angel Rodriguez, but 20-year-old Alvaro Morata headed an 84th-minute winner with his first touch of the ball on his debut to keep Jose Mourinho's third-placed defending champions eight points behind Barcelona.

Lionel Messi's hat-trick against Granada took his tally for Barcelona to 234 and past the club's previous highest scorer, Cesar Rodriguez, who notched 232. The 24-year-old secured the record with this cheeky chip. Lionel Messi's hat-trick against Granada took his tally for Barcelona to 234 and past the club's previous highest scorer, Cesar Rodriguez, who notched 232. The 24-year-old secured the record with this cheeky chip.
Record breaker
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Messi\'s record-breaking career Messi's record-breaking career
France Football magazine has released a list of the highest-earning players in world soccer. Three-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi of Barcelona tops the list, earning $52 million in wages and sponsorship deals. France Football magazine has released a list of the highest-earning players in world soccer. Three-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi of Barcelona tops the list, earning $52 million in wages and sponsorship deals.
Lionel Messi $52M
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World\'s richest footballers World's richest footballers

Real inflicted Levante's first home defeat this season, hitting the crossbar twice and missing a penalty by Xabi Alonso, whose late freekick set up substitute Morata's winner.

Atletico Madrid retained second place after beating Getafe 2-0.

Adrian Lopez scored a first-half opener after his initial attempt was saved, while Arda Turan's second-half effort was allowed to stand despite a clear handball in the buildup.

In Italy, Inter Milan failed to reduce Juventus' four-point lead after suffering a surprise 3-2 defeat at Atalanta.

Veteran striker German Denis netted in the 60th and 67th minutes to put the home side 3-1 ahead, while Inter reduced the deficit through his fellow Argentine Rodrigo Palacio before Atalanta substitute Facundo Parra was sent off in time added on.

Napoli stayed third with a 4-2 win at Genoa, while fourth-placed Fiorentina won 3-1 away to troubled 2010-11 Serie A champions AC Milan.

Milan's sixth defeat in 12 league games left last season's runners-up in 13th place, with coach Massimiliano Allegri's future increasingly in doubt.

Lazio consolidated fifth place with a 3-2 win in the capital derby against Roma, as both teams had a player sent off.

In Germany, Bayer Leverkusen missed the chance to go above fourth-placed champions Borussia Dortmund after losing 3-1 to third-bottom Wolfsburg.

Leverkusen stayed a point above Hanover, who won 4-2 at Stuttgart.

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