BARCELONA: Leo Messi struck twice more in Barcelona’s 4-0 Liga win at sixth-placed Levante to move within three of Gerd Muller’s 40-year-old, 85-goal calendar year marksmanship record.

Messi’s 18th and 19th strikes of the Spanish league campaign mean the Argentinian World Player of the Year has scored 70 for his club and 12 for Argentina this year. He is also favourite to secure a fourth successive FIFA World Player award in January.

Messi, 25, has scored 279 goals in all competitions for Barcelona, whom he joined as a 13-year-old. Ahead of him in the Catalan club’s rankings are only Paulino Alcantara (369) and Pepe Samitier (333).

Both Messi goals were created by man-of-the-match Andres Iniesta who also created another for Cesc Fabregas and scored one himself.

Barcelona continue to hold a three-point lead over Atletico de Madrid who crushed nine-man Sevilla by the same scoreline.

The latest victory for Barca, their 12th in 13 matches, also put them 11 points clear of champions and arch-rivals Real Madrid, who slipped further back in third after they were upset 1-0 at Betis on Saturday.

Malaga are fourth on 22 points after they thrashed Valencia 4-0 on Saturday, level with fifth-placed Betis and two ahead of Levante in sixth.


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