Barcelona’s Lionel Messi equals Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of 12 goals in a single Champions League season

The diminutive Argentine star continues to break and create records in Europe as he has brought himself at par with one set by the Netherlands veteran

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has equalled Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record haul of 12 Champions League goals in a single season.

The 23-year-old found the target in the 54th minute in the final against Manchester United at Wembley on Saturday evening to increase his goal tally to 12 for this campaign.

The goal came with the encounter tied at 1-1. Messi picked up a short pass, galloped forward a few paces and unleashed a curling shot from 20 yards out with his left foot into Edwin van der Sar's bottom left corner to give his team a 2-1 lead.

Van Nistelrooy scored the same number of goals for Manchester United in the 2002-03 campaign. The Netherlands veteran striker finished top scorer that season, as he did in 2001-02 (10 goals) and 2004-05 (eight goals).

Messi has finished as the top marksman in the Champions League for the past two seasons and he is now certain to become only the third player after Gerd Muller (Bayern Munich) and Jean-Pierre Papin (Marseille) to top-score in three successive campaigns in Europe’s premier club competition.

The Argentine sensation's strike against United at Wembley was also his 53rd goal in all competitions this term, bringing him levelled with Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo. It's the highest tally by any player in Europe in the 2010-11 season.

Messi has now totalled 37 Champions League goals, allowing him to leapfrog Ferenc Puskas into 10th place in the all-time top scorer's table.

    Top Single-Season Goalscorers In The Champions League
Season Player Club Goals
2010-11 Lionel Messi Barcelona 12
2002-03 Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester Utd 12
2006-07 Kaka Milan 10
2001-02 Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester Utd 10
1999-00 Mario Jardel Porto 10
Rivaldo Barcelona 10
Raul Real Madrid 10
1997-98 Alessandro Del Piero Juventus 10
2008-09 Lionel Messi Barcelona 9
2005-06 Andriy Shevchenko Milan 9
2003-04 Fernando Morientes Monaco 9
1995-96 Jari Litmanen Ajax 9

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