2012 wasn’t the most memorable year for FC Barcelona fans. The Catalonia giants finished 2nd to Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid in La Liga, got knocked out to eventual champions Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals. However, if there was one silver-lining to that year, it was that their mercurial magician was unplayable throughout the year for both Barcelona and Argentina.
The Argentine scored an astonishing 91 goals that year. However, as remarkable as that year was, let’s see how good that year REALLY was for Barcelona’s no.10.
Month by Month Analysis
“I feel sorry for those who want to compete for Messi’s throne – it’s impossible, this kid is unique.”Pep Guardiola in 2012
This quote from that time’s Barcelona manager truly defined how he was that year. No one matched him, not even Cristiano Ronaldo. The Messi-Ronaldo debate was a meaningless distraction to an inspired Leo.
In January, Lionel Messi won his third Ballan d’Or after having lead Barcelona to a double. In addition to that, he had already scored 27 goals at the start of the season, coming into 2012. After officially being considered the best player in the world for a third-straight year, the Argentine wasted no time in hunting down the 4th one.
The brace against Osasuna in the Copa Del Rey started off the astonishing year. He scored five times in La Liga during the month as Barca kept snapping at the heels of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga, but didn’t manage to net in the two-legged tie against the Los Blancos.
Goals in January: 7 (All for Barcelona)
Goals against: 2x vs Osasuna, 2x vs Real Betis, 3x vs Malaga.
In February, the man scored 10 goals for club and country. The month was highlighted by a 4-goal masterclass performance against Valencia followed by another masterclass against Switzerland in international colors. The 4-goal performance against Valencia also came in Messi’s 200th appearance for the club. In addition to that, he also scored against Bayer Leverkusen to open his Champions League account in the knock-out stages for the 2012 Champions League.
Goals in February: 10 (7 for Barcelona, 3 for Argentina),
Total Goals: 17
Goals against: 4x vs Valencia, 1x vs Real Sociedad, 1x vs Atletico Madrid, 1x vs Bayer Leverkusen, 3x vs Switzerland.
In March, Lionel Messi improved on an already incredible month of February. He became the first player to score 5 goals in the Champions League game in a 7-1 route over Bayer Leverkusen. In addition to that, he also scored a hattrick against Granada in a 5-3 win to keep pace with Real Madrid for the La Liga title.
Goals in March: 13 (All for Barcelona)
Total Goals: 30
Goals against: 5x vs Bayer Leverkusen, 2x vs Racing Santander, 1x vs Sevilla, 3x vs Granada, 1x vs Athletic Bilbao.
Despite scoring 9 goals, including 3 braces against Real Zaragoza, Levante, and Rayo Vallecano, Leo wasn’t able to step up on the biggest stages as his missed penalty against Chelsea and a poor showing against Real Madrid resulted in both the titles snatched away from the Catalans that they won last season.
However, he managed to extend his goal-scoring season in the Champions to 14 for the season, enough to make him the competition’s top goalscorer for a fourth consecutive season.
Goals in April: 9 (All for Barcelona)
Total Goals: 39
Goals against: 2x vs AC Milan, 2x vs Real Zaragoza, 1x vs Getafe, 2x vs Levante, 2x vs Rayo Vallecano.
In May, Barcelona won the Copa Del Rey for the departing manager Pep Guardiola with Messi netting one of the three goals against Athletic Bilbao. His hat-trick against Malaga on May 2 meant Messi surpassed Gerd Muller’s single-season goalscoring record from 1972-1973 with three matches left to play.
Goals in May: 8 (All for Barcelona)
Total Goals: 47
Goals against: 3x vs Malaga, 4x vs Espanyol, 1x vs Athletic Bilbao.
It was time to be Argentina’s main man in June. However, it was also time to be the main man in his personal life as his celebration after goal against Ecuador in the World Cup qualifiers suggested that his girlfriend Antonella Roccuzzo was pregnant, which was confirmed by him later.
Then, he became the main man in his professional life as a scintillating hat-trick against former World Champions Brazil followed.
Goals in June: 4 (All for Argentina)
Total Goals: 51
Goals against: 1x vs Ecuador, 3x vs Brazil.
New season, same old Lionel Messi. He started the 2012-2013 season in the same red hot form as before, scoring two against Real Sociedad on the opening weekend, two at Osasuna in the second game, and another two across the legs of the Super Cup contest with Real Madrid. making him Barcelona’s all-time top scorer in Clasico matches.
Goals in August: 7 (6 for Barcelona, 1 for Argentina)
Total Goals: 58
Goals against: 1x vs Germany, 2x vs Real Sociedad, 2x vs Real Madrid, 2x vs Osasuna.
5 goals in a month would be impressive for some, but it was a very lean year from Messi’s standards. He scored 2 braces against Getafe and against Spartak Moscow, opening his Champions League account for the 2012/13 Champions League season.
Goals in September: 5 (4 for Barcelona, 1 for Argentina)
Total Goals: 63
Goals against: 1x vs Paraguay, 2x vs Getafe, 2x vs Spartak Moscow
October was a back to basics for the magician. A brace against Real Madrid followed by a hat-trick against Deportivo La Coruna. In addition to that, his three strikes against Uruguay and Chile helped Argentina a little further along the path to Brazil 2014,
Goals in October: 10 (7 for Barcelona, 3 for Argentina)
Total Goals: 73
Goals against: 2x vs Real Madrid, 2x vs Uruguay, 1x vs Chile, 3x vs Deportivo La Coruna, 2x vs Rayo Vallecano.
The month of November brought good news in terms of professional life and private life for the now 6-time Ballan d’Or winner. His girlfriend gave birth to baby Thiago on November 2. The great man transformed that to the pitch as his goal tally continued to increase. His 2 goals against Real Mallorca ensured that he left the great Pele in his wake with 76 goals for the year.
Goals in November: 9 (All for Barcelona)
Total Goals: 82
Goals against: 1x vs Celtic, 2x vs Real Mallorca, 2x vs Real Zaragoza, 2x vs Spartak Moscow, 2x vs Levante.
December has arrived, and LIONEL MESSI STANDS ALONE. A record-breaking 86th goal of an unmatched year saw him topple Gerd Muller for most goals for the year. His two goals before the brace against Real Betis had already made him the greatest goal scorer that Barcelona has ever produced. The 91st and last goal of a prolific year came against Real Valladolid.
Goals in December: 9 (All for Barcelona)
Total Goals: 91
Goals against: 2x vs Athletic Bilbao , 2x vs Real Betis, 2x vs Cordoba, 2x vs Atletico Madrid, 1x vs Real Valladoid.
Don’t try to write him, don’t try to describe him. Just watch himPep Guardiola
Alongside many of the records that were broken, there were a few more records that were highlighted that the great man from Argentina broke.
The numbers are so extraordinary that we even we as writers get goosebumps just thinking about it.
2012 was the year that our generation never saw before and will never see again. 91 goals may make a successful career for a lot of footballers, but to score 91 in one year is nothing but astonishing. And considering that Lionel Messi is still able to maintain the high-standard 8 years after just shows that he is a sporting phenomena that we have just ran out of superlatives to describe.