German legend Gerd Muller believes Lionel Messi deserves to surpass his goalscoring record, but hinted that he might have scored more against modern defenses.
The Barcelona forward equaled 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 back heel.
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 Gazzetta dello Sport. "With the defenses as they are [in modern times], people would score more."
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 has had an incredible start to the 2012-13 season, dropping 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 its Champions League group, and will find out who it will face in the second round of the competition on December 20 when the draw takes place in Nyon.