'The greatest goalscorer the game has ever seen' - Goal.com World Player of the Week Lionel Messi

World Player of the Week
Lionel Messi
AGE 25
FOR Barcelona
0-0 Benfica
1-2 Barcelona

Lionel Messi surpassed the great Gerd Muller's record for goals scored in a calendar year by netting twice in Barcelona's 2-1 win over Betis on Sunday.

The Argentine's first strike involved a trademark dribble from right-to-left diagonally into the box, burying his effort in the bottom right-hand corner. His second came from a similar position, but was created by a deft Andres Iniesta backheel.

Tens of thousands congratulated the Camp Nou star on Sunday night via Twitter, and Goal.com's Robin Bairner suggested: "Tonight the debate should be: who is the second best in the world? [Cristiano] Ronaldo or [Radamel] Falcao? Outstanding from Messi."

Goal.com International's Spanish football expert Ben Hayward summed up the Ballon d'Or candidate's amazing 12 months: "Messi is now, officially, the greatest goalscorer the game has ever seen. Last season, he bettered Muller's mark of 67 goals in a season, netting 73 in 2011-12. And now he has surpassed the German great for goals in a calendar year. The record was 85. Now it's 86 and counting because Leo could yet feature in three more games this year for Barcelona.

"But perhaps the most impressive thing of all was the way he shook off what looked at the time a very painful injury (against Benfica on Wednesday) to come out as if nothing had happened and shoot down Betis with such brilliance just four days later: Messi is irrepressible, irresistible and unstoppable."

Congratulations to Lionel Messi, Goal.com's 186th World Player of the Week winner!

The Shortlist

Radamel Falcao - Atletico Madrid

‏@JoeWright004: "Five goals scored from five shots taken v Deportivo. Simply perfection."

Goal.com's Luis Herrera: "Became the first ever Atletico player to score five goals in one game on Sunday."

Francesco Totti - Roma

 @dfraser355: "Besides his two goals and an assist, his passing and dribbling were fantastic."

Goal.com's Sergio Chesi: "He is just four goals off second place in the Serie A all-time goalscorer list."

Fernando Torres - Chelsea

@Hzz_exellency: "Four goals and one assist in two games. Torres is [my] #WPOTW."

Goal.com's Miles Chambers: "Under new boss Rafa Benitez, he looks to have finally found that illusive spark."

Cesar Delgado - Monterrey

 @joeman4ever: "Some fantastic goals for Monterrey in [the] Fifa Club World Cup."

Goal.com's Cristian Nacimbera: "His two goals enabled the Mexican team to qualify for the semi-final."