We all know it was a great year for the Barcelona number 10. He passed Cesar Rodriguez's goal scoring record, won his third Ballon d'Or and scored 91 goals, the most a player has ever scored in a calendar year.
But how did he surpass Gerd Müller's record that has stood for forty years? That is the purpose of this article. To analyse and breakdown how, where and against who Messi netted this astonishing figure.
We will start with who we scored the goals for. The record is for both club and country and unsurprisingly the club tally is much higher than his international record. Messi scored twelve goals in the blue and white of Argentina but scored just over six and a half times that number when in the red and blue of Barcelona. Hitting 79 goals for the Blaugrana.
Next we will look at how he has scored these goals. Being 5ft 7in it is to be expected that the majority of Leo Messi's goals aren't headers. But nevertheless he did manage to head home three goals this year. The next smallest tally was his right foot. Messi can use his right foot but if he gets the chance he will always strike it with his left, so a low statistic of eight is also to be expected. There is no doubt though when it comes to his left foot, last year he scored 80 goals with his favoured foot. A simply unbelievable tally if you think that Cristiano Ronaldo scored 63 goals overall in 2012.
The stats also show that the majority of Messi's goals came in front of an adoring Camp Nou crowd as Leo notched 45 goals into his home net. While his away figure was just shy at 42 goals and the remaining 4 goals came on neutral turf.
Messi rose up the La Liga all-time scoring charts with 59 goals in the league and continued his dominance of being the top scorer of the Champions League with 13 goals in the European competition. For domestic cup competitions, Messi has scored five goals in the Copa del Rey and two goals in the Spanish Supercup against Real Madrid. As for international competitions, Messi netted five times during his country's qualification for the 2014 World Cup and seven in international fixtures.
Thirty one different teams felt the full force of Leo Messi as he reached almost a century of goals last year. A stand-out highlight of Messi's year was the record five goals the Barcelona number ten scored against Bayer Leverkusen and unfortunately for the German side, as well as Málaga, they were the team to concede most goals to Messi in 2012. Other notable opponents include this stunner against Brazil and a Clásico brace in October.
As for where on the pitch the Argentine scored, the majority of his goals came from within the penalty area. Sixty four goals were scored inside the box and six were struck outside. Seven goals were free kicks and the remaining fourteen goals came from the penalty spot.
Finally, the men who made the goals. Messi was assisted by eighteen different teammates, most frequently was Iniesta who assisted eight of Messi goals. Just one behind was Alexis Sánchez and the other summer 2011 signing, Cesc Fàbregas, assisted six times. Barca veterans Xavi and Pedro assisted Leo five times. The bombarding full back Dani Alves made four goals while Messi's Argentina compatriot Gonzalo Higuaín assisted three times. Adriano, Busquets, Agüero, Tello, Alba and Montoya all assisted twice and Thiago, Keita, Di Maria, Gago and David Villa all assisted Barcelona's brightest star once.
So that was Messi's year. Record-breaking, unbelievable, one of kind, just some of the ways to describe Messi's year and surely there can be no question that he is the best ever. As for 2013, if it's even half as good as Messi's 2012 then we are in for a treat.