The best-ever? With the calendar year yet to run its course no-one has ever scored more than Lionel Messi; 86 goals, on average one every four days since last January.
Now a father as well, 2012 is a red-letter year.
“I am so happy, this is a record”, he said after Sunday night’s match against Betis when his brace took him to the new tally. “I will try to score more goals, so it’s even more difficult for the next one”.
Reactions have been ecstatic from fans and neutrals alike, and in the shrine of the Neu Camp in Barcelona the little Argentine has become an international giant whose name sells a lot of balls and much else besides:
“Messi is a god, like Zidane for the French, on the same level. He’s the Spanish Zidane,” said one fan.
“I don’t think anybody else will ever do it again, not even Wayne Rooney. I just think Messi is the best player around the planet at the moment,” said a visiting British fan.
Gerd Mueller’s 85-goal record did stand for 40 years, so Messi’s will take some beating. For now though he is the undisputed top footballing dog.