Skip to main content

Messi leads Barcelona to new record

updated 6:16 PM EST, Sun January 13, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Barcelona unbeaten at halfway stage of La Liga season after 3-1 win at Malaga
  • World player of the year Lionel Messi nets his 37th goal of the campaign
  • Second-placed Atletico Madrid stay 11 points behind after beating Zaragoza 2-0
  • Italian champions Juventus drop points to see Serie A lead cut to three points

(CNN) -- Lionel Messi continued his remarkable season with yet another goal as unbeaten Barcelona secured an 11-point lead at the halfway stage of the Spanish league season on Sunday.

The Argentine, who won his fourth world player of the year award last week, scored once and was involved in both other goals as Barca won 3-1 at sixth-placed Malaga for a record 18th victory from 19 rounds.

It surpassed the previous leading halfway mark of 52 points that Barca recorded in winning the 2010-11 title.

While Atletico Madrid kept pace with a 2-0 win at home to Real Zaragoza on Sunday, third-placed champions Real Madrid now trail by 18 points following Saturday's 0-0 draw with bottom club Osasuna.

Messi was an unused substitute in Thursday's Spanish Cup win over Cordoba, but he returned to action at La Rosaleda along with cancer-stricken coach Tito Vilanova.

Read: Kaka sent off as Madrid miss Ronaldo

Lionel Messi breaks goal scoring record
Lionel Messi celebrates after matching Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals in a calendar year, netting in the 16th minute of Barcelona's match against Real Betis in December 2012. Just nine minutes later the Argentina star passed the German's 1972 milestone. Lionel Messi celebrates after matching Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals in a calendar year, netting in the 16th minute of Barcelona's match against Real Betis in December 2012. Just nine minutes later the Argentina star passed the German's 1972 milestone.
Messi beats Muller
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
>
>>
Lionel Messi\'s record year Lionel Messi's record year
In the absence of suspended skipper Roy Keane, Peter Schmeichel captained Manchester United to European Champions League glory in 1999. United trailed Bayern Munich 1-0 heading into the 90th minute, but stunned the Germans by scoring twice in a matter of minutes to seal a famous 2-1 success. The win completed an historic Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup treble. In the absence of suspended skipper Roy Keane, Peter Schmeichel captained Manchester United to European Champions League glory in 1999. United trailed Bayern Munich 1-0 heading into the 90th minute, but stunned the Germans by scoring twice in a matter of minutes to seal a famous 2-1 success. The win completed an historic Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup treble.
Great Dane
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
>
>>
Schmeichel\'s Champions League tips Schmeichel's Champions League tips
Lionel Messi and Radamel Falcao have both set La Liga alight this season with a number of stunning strikes. Messi had scored 88 goals in 2012 going into the clash, while Falcao had netted 16 times in the league this season ahead of the game at Camp Nou. Lionel Messi and Radamel Falcao have both set La Liga alight this season with a number of stunning strikes. Messi had scored 88 goals in 2012 going into the clash, while Falcao had netted 16 times in the league this season ahead of the game at Camp Nou.
Goal machines
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
Messi vs. Falcao Messi vs. Falcao

"We're very happy to get 55 out of 57 points, but logically it will be difficult to repeat that with the Champions League and the Spanish Cup to think about as well," Vilanova told reporters.

"We have to go to Atletico and we have to go to Real Madrid so we can't just stop now, we have to keep going."

While Real sorely missed the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo in Pamplona, Messi underlined his value to the Catalans -- who were without injured striker David Villa.

He broke the deadlock in the 27th minute, pouncing on a poor backpass by Ignacio Camacho before cutting back inside the keeper and slotting home his 28th league goal in 19 matches and 37th overall this season.

Five minutes after the halftime break Messi delivered a beautiful pass over the Malaga defense -- which has conceded the fewest goals of any of La Liga's 20 clubs this season -- for Cesc Fabregas to apply a calm finish past Willy Caballero.

Young midfielder Thiago Alcantara made it 3-0 with 10 minutes to go after cutting in from the right, playing a simple one-two with Messi and driving a low left-foot shot into the net.

Malaga, like Barcelona playing in the last 16 of the European Champions League next month, hit back with a superb late consolation free-kick by Diego Buonanotte that his compatriot Messi would have been proud to call his own.

Messi, who scored a world record 91 goals in 2012, is now 10 clear of Atletico's Radamel Falcao in the La Liga scoring charts.

The Colombia striker netted a first-half penalty against Zaragoza to be two ahead of Ronaldo, who has 16.

Midfielder Tiago opened the scoring as Atletico made it 10 wins from 10 home games.

Real Betis moved up to fourth place with a 2-0 win at home to Levante, as Ruben Castro netted his 11th league goal this season after an opener from on-loan Costa Rica international Joel Campbell.

Deportivo La Coruna drew 1-1 at mid-table Real Sociedad to mean Osasuna's move from the bottom of the table was a brief one.

In Italy, Juventus gave hope to Serie A's title hopefuls after dropping points in the 1-1 draw at Parma on Sunday.

The champions went ahead in the 52nd minute thanks to an own-goal by Jonathan Biabiany, but midtable Parma hit back with 13 minutes to play through Sergio Floccari.

Second-placed Lazio closed the gap to three points with a 2-0 win at home to Atalanta, while Napoli reclaimed third from Inter Milan with a 3-0 win over Palermo.

Seventh-placed AC Milan could only draw 0-0 at Sampdoria.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is provoking huge media interest and the hungry attention of Europe's top clubs.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
updated 2:58 PM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
updated 12:49 PM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
updated 6:12 AM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
updated 10:35 AM EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa line up in their tuxedo kit.
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
updated 7:03 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
updated 8:29 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
updated 12:56 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
updated 2:28 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Brazil's new coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player in 1994.
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
updated 10:20 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
updated 6:07 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
ADVERTISEMENT