MADRID: Lionel Messi became the highest scorer in a single major European league season following his hat trick in Barcelona’s 4-1 win over Malaga on Wednesday that delayed Real Madrid’s Spanish league title celebrations.
Messi’s second penalty of the night in the 59th minute drew him level with Gerd Mueller’s 67-goal tally for Bayern Munich in 1972-73. He broke the record by chipping goalkeeper Carlos Kameni and knocking the ball into an empty net five minutes later.
Andres Iniesta set up Carles Puyol’s 13th-minute opening goal and was fouled for the first of Messi’s pair of penalties.
Jose Rondon had earlier equalized for Malaga with a header.
Iniesta was fouled inside the area to set up Messi’s 34th-minute spot kick that matched the 66-goal tallies by Pele for Brazilian club Santos in 1958 and Ferenc Deak for Hungarian team Ferencvaros in 1948-49.
Malaga midfielder Duda barged into Messi to set up his second successful penalty and match Mueller. Messi surpassed the former West Germany striker when Iniesta slipped a perfect long ball between defenders.
Messi’s ninth hat trick of the season, and seventh in the league, extended his record league tally to 46 goals. Cristiano finished with 44 goals when Madrid won its record 32nd league title at Athletic Bilbao.