Lionel Messi: record-breaker?

Lionel Messi: record-breaker? Photo: AP

SWITZERLAND: Governing body FIFA said on Friday that it would not get involved in a controversy that has erupted around Lionel Messi's goal-scoring record. The Barcelona striker scored his 85th and 86th goal of the year in his club's 2-1 win at Real Betis, breaking the record of 85 goals held previously by Germany's Gerd Mueller. The Zambian federation however, said that Godfrey Chitalu scored 107 goals in 1972. FIFA spokesman Alex Stone told the BBC that as it did not keep domestic records, it was not an official FIFA record. ''We don't have a database which details every football game played in every country from around the world since day one of their formation,'' Stone said. He said that the organisation did not recognise Messi - or anybody else for that matter - as holding the record. ''It's a record where someone in the media obviously collected statistics from somewhere and noticed Messi was about to pass that record.''

City's loss drop

ENGLAND: Manchester City revealed it made an annual loss of £97.9 million ($A150 million) during its English Premier League title-winning season. While the figure would represent a massive problem for most clubs, it was actually a significant improvement for the big-spending Eastlands outfit, which lost £197.5 million 12 months ago. City's turnover last season was £231.1 million, the highest in the club's history, and although the failure of Roberto Mancini's team to progress from the Champions League group stage for the last two years has had an impact on turnover, the club's Abu Dhabi-based owners are still happy with the financial performance. City owner Sheikh Mansour clearly still has to put in his own cash to make the club viable in the short-term, as the annual statement also confirms the ''capital base of the club has also been strengthened through the issuing of £169 million in new equity during the year, avoiding debt-based funding and continuing to ensure that the club is virtually debt free''.

No to safety nets

MANCHESTER United manager Alex Ferguson and Liverpool counterpart Brendan Rodgers have joined forces to slam talk of introducing safety nets to protect players from objects thrown by fans. After United defender Rio Ferdinand was struck by a coin as he celebrated Robin van Persie's late goal in United's win at Manchester City last weekend, the Professional Footballers' Association called for the introduction of nets between fans and the pitch. But Ferguson feels that, despite a similar incident at Chelsea earlier in the season, that would be a step too far. ''Stewarding is a better policy, I think,'' he said. Rodgers said: ''What happened last week was scandalous, it could have taken out Rio Ferdinand's eye. But to go back to what it was years ago or putting nets up, I don't see that as a way forward.''

Bayern's battle

GERMANY: Runaway leader Bayern Munich needed a second-half equaliser to snatch a point in a 1-1 draw at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach on Friday in their final Bundesliga match of 2012. The draw left Bayern 12 points clear of the chasing pack, all in action over the weekend, while Gladbach moves up to sixth. Having already opened the season with a record eight straight wins, Bayern is hoping to finish the weekend with another achievement as it looks to break Borussia Dortmund's record 10-point lead at the halfway stage. After Gladbach claimed a half-time lead through a Thorben Marx penalty, Bayern battered its guests' goal before equalising though Swiss star Xherdan Shaqiri.

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