On Monday night in Zurich, Lionel Messi was crowned as the world footballer of the year winning the coveted Ballon d’Or for a record fourth consecutive year. Although Barcelona did not shine in 2012 (bitter rivals Real Madrid comfortably won the Spanish league and the Catalans were eliminated in the semi-finals of the Champions League), the virtuoso Argentine had a phenomenal year, breaking Gerd Mueller’s long-standing, 40 year-old record of most goals scored in a calendar year.
Messi surpassed Mueller’s 1972 tally of 85 shortly before the end of the year, totalling 91 himself – 79 for Barcelona and 12 for La Albiceleste – in 69 games. The record breaker said, “To tell you the truth this is really quite unbelievable. The fourth award that I have had is just too great for words. I would like to recognise my other colleagues from Barcelona. Andres, it has been great to train and play alongside you.”
Meanwhile, Manchester City and Chelsea are on high alert after Messi’s ex-coach and mentor Pep Guardiola announced that following his one year sabbatical in New York, he will return to the coaching scene next season. The ex-Barcelona boss stressed that no destination had been chosen but ruled out coaching Brazil since he does not agree with foreign coaches managing national teams. After winning 14 trophies in four seasons, the 41 year-old will not be short of options.