Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona beat Real Mallorca 4-2 to extend its unbeaten start in Spanish soccer’s La Liga. Inter Milan lost ground on Italian Serie A leader Juventus with a 3-2 loss at Atalanta.
Messi now has 76 goals in 2012, including matches for Argentina and in all competitions for Barcelona, surpassing Brazilian Pele’s career-best tally of 75 goals in 1958. He’s nine goals short of Gerd Muller’s all-time record from 1972, according to Infostrada Sports.
“His goal tally is spectacular,” Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova said of Messi on his team’s website. “It takes other great players seven or eight seasons to score the amount of goals he scores in one season.”
Xavi Hernandez and Cristian Tello also got goals at Mallorca yesterday as Barcelona maintained its three-point lead over Atletico Madrid, which beat Getafe 2-0. Third-place Real Madrid won 2-1 at Levante last night, with 20-year-old striker Alvaro Morata getting the winning goal for the defending champion in the 84th minute.
Atalanta striker German Denis scored twice in the second half to give his team the win against Inter, which fell four points behind Juventus. The defending champion, which had its unbeaten league record ended by Inter last weekend, won 6-1 against Pescara two days ago with Fabio Quagliarella scoring a hat trick.
Yesterday, AC Milan slipped to a 3-1 defeat against visiting Fiorentina and is 13th in the standings. Napoli won 4-2 at Genoa to hold third place from Fiorentina, while Lazio defeated Roma 3-2 in their derby match.
Bayern Munich remains seven points clear in Germany’s Bundesliga after a 2-0 win against Eintracht Frankfurt two days ago. Second-place Schalke defeated Werder Bremen 2-1.
Bayer Leverkusen lost 3-1 at Wolfsburg yesterday, missing the chance to move above Eintracht into third. Borussia Moenchengladbach beat Greuther Furth 4-2 and Hanover defeated Stuttgart by the same score in yesterday’s other matches.
Paris Saint-Germain failed to take full advantage of a 2-2 home tie between Marseille and Nice in France’s Ligue 1, as it drew 1-1 at defending champion Montpellier last night.
PSG leads Marseille by goal difference atop the standings with both teams on 23 points, though Marseille has played one game fewer.
PSV Eindhoven won 5-2 against Heerenveen to move atop the Eredivisie as FC Twente was held to a scoreless tie at Vitesse Arnhem. PSV leads Twente by one point, with Vitesse another four points back.
In Norway, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Molde secured back-to- back championships with a game to spare after it beat Honefoss 1-0 and Stromsgodset lost.
“There was much talk of us not being able to win the league again, but we have proved them wrong,” Solskjaer, who rejected offers from English Premier League clubs to remain as Molde coach, said on UEFA’s website.
WEEKEND RESULTS =============== Spain: Real Betis 1-2 Granada, Rayo Vallecano 3-2 Celta Vigo, Espanyol 0-3 Osasuna, Real Zaragoza 5-3 Dep. La Coruna, Malaga 1-2 Real Sociedad, Real Valladolid 1-1 Valencia, Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Sevilla, Real Mallorca 2-4 Barcelona, Atletico Madrid 2-0 Getafe, Levante 1-2 Real Madrid. Italy: Cagliari 0-0 Catania, Pescara 1-6 Juventus, Palermo 2-0 Sampdoria, AC Milan 1-3 Fiorentina, Chievo 2-2 Udinese, Genoa 2- 4 Napoli, Lazio 3-2 Roma, Parma 0-0 Siena, Torino 1-0 Bologna, Atalanta 3-2 Inter Milan. Germany: Mainz 2-1 Nurnberg, Bayern Munich 2-0 Eintracht Frankfurt, Augsburg 1-3 Borussia Dortmund, Fortuna Dusseldorf 1- 1 Hoffenheim, Freiburg 0-0 Hamburg, Schalke 2-1 Werder Bremen, Wolfsburg 3-1 Bayer Leverkusen, Greuther Furth 2-4 B. Moenchengladbach, Stuttgart 2-4 Hanover. France: Nancy 1-3 Rennes, Lille 1-0 Brest, Bastia 2-3 Valenciennes, Reims 1-2 Evian, St Etienne 2-0 Troyes, Toulouse 2-4 AC Ajaccio, Marseille 2-2 Nice, Lorient 0-4 Bordeaux, Sochaux 1-1 Lyon, Montpellier 1-1 Paris Saint-Germain. Netherlands: NAC Breda 0-1 Groningen, RKC Waalwijk 4-0 FC Utrecht, Den Haag 2-2 AZ Alkmaar, VVV 4-1 Willem II, NEC Nijmegen 3-2 Heracles, Vitesse Arnhem 0-0 FC Twente, FC Zwolle 2-4 Ajax, Feyenoord 5-2 Roda JC, PSV Eindhoven 5-1 Heerenveen.
To contact the reporter on this story: James Cone in London at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at email@example.com.