BARCELONA superstar Lionel Messi has climbed off the canvas to become the greatest goal scorer of all time.
Carried off an a stretcher after injuring his left knee in a mid-week Champions League match, the Argentine scored two goals before half-time against Real Betis in a La Liga match, taking him past the previous record of 85 goals in a calendar year set by German Gerd Mueller in 1972.
Barcelona won the match 2-1 to extend its best start to a season with 14 wins and a draw from the opening 15 matches.
The split-up of Messi's 86 goals in 2012 has been as follows: 74 goals for Barcelona (56 in La Liga, 13 in Champions League, five in Cup matches), and 12 for Argentina.
The extraordinary return has come from 67 matches.
When he set the record back in 1972, Mueller scored 72 goals for Bayern Munich and 13 for Germany in a total of 60 matches.
Messi still has two league matches and one King's Cup game to add to his tally before the end of the year.
He is also on target to set a new season benchmark in La Liga having knocked in 23 goals from 15 matches in 2012/13.