Golden chance for Lionel Messi to equal Mueller’s record
Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova gave Lionel Messi a golden opportunity to make the history by picking him for the last Champions League Group match against Benfica. The Argentina forward is just one goal shy Gerd Muller’s record of 85 goals in one calendar year.
Messi scored his 83rd and 84th goals of this season on Saturday in Catalan club’s 5-1 victory against Athletic Bilbao in a La Liga match. The triumph helped Barcelona to set their record of best start to the campaign. They collected 40 points after playing 14 games.
Now Barcelona is ready to take on Benfica in the final Group G match of UEFA Champions League. Vilanova decided to field the young team. Mostly senior players such as Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta, Javier Mascherano, Xavi, Pedro and Jordi Alba were all rested from the starting line-up, while ‘B’ team players Cristian Tello, Gerard Deulofeu, Sergi Roberto, Sergi Gomez, Carles Planas and Rafinha became successful to find a place in the squad.
Despite the absence of mostly senior players, Lionel Messi is set to feature against the Portuguese side. Vilanova said that Lionel was rested last week in the Copa del Rey fixture against Alaves, that’s why he was included in the team.
“It’s not about records for goals; the main thing is to win.” Vilanova “He always wants to play and he is in his best habitat when he is playing.”
Benfica, who will head into the game well rested, are 2nd in the group. Barcelona has won the last ten games at home against Portuguese rivals.
Lionel Messi would be one of the only three players, who have played for every minute in Europe this season. The other two names are Victor Valdes and Javier Mascherano.