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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 26 March, 2019

Sorry, Messi -- Chitalu scored 107 goals in a year, claims Zambian FA

True or not, we’d still back Leo to score another 22 goals before the end of the year.

Image: MANU FERNANDEZ/AP/Press Association Images

IT TOOK 40 years for someone to break Gerd Muller’s world record for the most goals scored in a calendar year. Now Lionel Messi’s new landmark is already under threat from the Zambian FA who claim that the true record belongs to one of their most famous strikers.

Messi’s first-half double against Real Betis on Sunday took his tally to 86 goals in 2012, one better than the long-standing total set by Muller with Bayern Munich and West Germany in 1972.

The little Argentinian’s feat was lauded as “gigantic” by Muller himself but the Football Association of Zambia believes that Messi still has a long way to go before he surpasses the 107 goals of Chipolopolo legend Godfrey Chitalu.

An FAZ spokesman told Soccer Laduma that the Association is preparing its case in a bid to have the tally, also scored by Chitalu in 1972, recognised by FIFA.

We have this record, which has been recorded in Zambian football, but unfortunately it has not been recorded in world football.

The team that we have put together is going to calculate all of those goals, recording which ever game or tournament they were scored in. We will then send that to CAF and FIFA so that we can show that, while Messi’s record is there, while Muller’s record is there, the actual record holder in terms of goals per calendar year is actually an African. It’s actually Godfrey Chitalu.

Chitalu, a five-time Zambian Footballer of the Year, died in 1993 when a plane carrying the national team to a World Cup qualifier crashed, killing all 25 passengers and five crew members.

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Niall Kelly

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