x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Flamengo dispute Messi record as latest double for Barcelona extends haul to 88

The Argentine scored twice against Cordoba to extend his record for the calendar year - but Brazilian side Flamengo insist Zico still scored more.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi is pursued by Cordoba players as he heads towards goal.
Barcelona's Lionel Messi is pursued by Cordoba players as he heads towards goal.

Lionel Messi extended his goals scored in a year tally to 88 last night - even as his record was being questioned by Brazilian side Flamengo.

The 25-year-old Argentine grabbed another brace in Barcelona's 2-0 cup win over Cordoba, building on the record he set earlier this week after overhauling Gerd Mueller's 40-year-old record of 85 goals in a calendar year.

But last night Flamengo claimed that their former player Zico had scored 89 goals in 1979.

The club insists the former Iraq coach - who starred in the 1978, 1982 and 1986 World Cups for Brazil - scored 81 domestic goals, seven international strikes and one in a friendly.

"Messi has not bettered the record," said Bruno Lucena, a club historian.

"If he had played the whole year, Zico would have without doubt scored more than 100 goals," he said in reference to the fact that Zico missed a couple of months of the 1979 season through injury.

Messi's goals helped secure a win in the first leg of Barcelona's Spanish Cup last-16 match at Cordoba.

He opened the scoring on the 11th minute after being put through by David Villa, before latching onto an Alexis Sanchez pass to double the advantage in the 74th minute.

Barcelona's bitter rivals Real Madrid slipped to a 2-1 defeat away at La Liga strugglers Celta Vigo, though, Cristiano Ronaldo's goal four minutes from time gives them a precious away goal.

Real's evening had got off to a bad start when French international striker Karim Benzema had to go off in the 31st minute with what looked like a twisted ankle.

Athletic Bilbao side exited the competition at the hands of third division Eibar in their delayed last 32 second-leg match.

Bilbao went out on the away goals rule as last season's finalists were held 1-1 at home by their modest opposition.

Eibar's reward is a last 16 clash with Malaga with the first leg next Wednesday.

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