Brazilian club Flamengo believe they have significant evidence to prove that Lionel Messi has not surpassed the goalscoring record of their former player Zico in 1979.
Messi, 25, recently broke Gerd Muller’s mark of 85 goals in a calendar year when he scored a brace in Barcelona’s 2-1 win over Real Betis on the weekend, but Flamengo claim that Zico netted 89 goals in the late ’70s.
Just a day after the Zambian Football Association contested Messi’s record, insisting that Godfrey Chitalu scored 107 goals in 1972, the Brazilian side suggest their archives show that Zico scored 81 times in the Serie A, seven times for the national team and once in a World XI exhibition match.
Although another two goals from Messi in Barca’s 2-0 Copa del Rey win over Cordoba on Wednesday, taking his tally to 88 goals in 2012, could render Flamengo’s argument insignificant, the club’s coordinator of research and statistics is adamant that Zico’s mark should be recognised.
“We are upset, Messi has not passed his record,” Lucena told Lancenet. “If he had players the whole year, it is a certainty that he would have more than 100 goals.”