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The German goalscoring legend has praised the Barcelona forward for surpassing his 85-goal mark on Sunday night against Betis, but hinted that he could score more in modern times

Bayern Munich legend Gerd Muller has showered praise on Lionel Messi for surpassing his goalscoring record, but hinted that he might have scored more against modern defences.

The Barcelona forward equalled his tally of 85 goals in a calendar year against Betis on Sunday night, and then quickly surpassed it with a second first-half goal from an Andres Iniesta backheel.

With the record now standing at 86 and with the possibility of it finishing even higher, Muller has heralded the Camp Nou forward despite making it clear that attackers have it easier in the 21st century in his opinion.

"He deserves to supersede me," the German told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "With the defences as they are [in modern times], people would score more."

Muller told Sport1.de: "My record stood for 40 years - 85 goals in 60 games - and now the best player in the world has broken it, and I'm delighted for him. He is an incredible player, gigantic."

"He's such a nice and modest professional and I hope he gets one or two more goals in 2012 and that he can then hold onto the record for the next 40 years.

"He's fantastic. He only has one defect and that is that he doesn't play for Bayern Munich!"

Tito Vilanova's men face Cordoba in the Copa del Rey on Tuesday, offering Messi a chance to pursue the 90-goal mark should he wish.

Barcelona have dropped just two points in 15 league games to sit six points clear at the top of the Liga table.

The Spanish side also comfortably topped their Champions League group, and will find out who they will face in the second round of the competition on December 20 when the draw takes place in Nyon.

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