Lionel Messi broke soccer’s single year scoring record as Barcelona defeated Real Betis 2-1, while Juventus stretched its lead in Italy after Napoli lost 2-1 at Inter Milan.
Messi put the visitors ahead after 16 minutes last night and nine minutes later the Argentina international eclipsed Gerd Muller’s record tally of 85 goals in 1972. Ruben Castro completed the scoring for Betis six minutes before halftime.
“My goals are to win titles with the team,” Messi told reporters. “The Spanish league, Spanish Cup or Champions League are more important than any personal records.”
Barcelona remains six points ahead of second-placed Atletico Madrid, which got five goals from Falcao in a 6-0 rout of Deportivo La Coruna last night. Barcelona has 43 points from 15 games.
Fredy Guarin and Diego Milito got first-half goals for Inter before Edinson Cavani scored for Napoli in the 54th minute.
Also yesterday, Juventus won 1-0 at Palermo, with Stephan Lichtsteiner getting the only goal for the defending champion.
Juventus leads Serie A with 38 points, with Inter on 34 and Napoli a further point back. Lazio, Roma and Fiorentina all have 29 points.
Lazio is at Bologna today, while Roma won 4-2 against Fiorentina on Dec. 8. Seventh-place AC Milan won 4-2 at Torino among yesterday’s other games.
In Spain two days ago, third-place Real Madrid twice rallied from a goal behind to win 3-2 at Valladolid, with Mesut Ozil scoring twice. Malaga defeated Granada 4-0 and Levante beat Mallorca 4-0 in other games.
Lyon stretched its lead in Ligue 1 to five points with a 1-0 win at Saint-Etienne in yesterday’s late game. Lyon has 34 points, with Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille on 29.
PSG defeated Evian 4-0 two days ago, while 10-man Marseille slipped to a 3-0 loss at home against Lorient yesterday. Marseille’s Charles Kabore was red-carded after 38 minutes.
Bayern Munich increased its advantage atop the Bundesliga to 11 points through the weekend’s matches. It won 2-0 at Augsburg on Dec. 8, while second-place Bayer Leverkusen lost 3-2 at Hanover yesterday.
Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt are three points further back. Dortmund was beaten 3-2 by Wolfsburg, and Frankfurt beat Werder Bremen 4-1.
PSV Eindhoven leads Dutch soccer’s Eredivisie by two points as it beat FC Twente 3-0 yesterday. Twente and Vitesse Arnhem, which lost 3-1 at VVV Venlo, are its closest challengers, with Ajax another point back. Ajax beat Groningen 2-0 two days ago.
WEEKEND RESULTS =============== Spain: Espanyol 2-2 Sevilla, Real Sociedad 1-1 Getafe, Malaga 4- 0 Granada, Valladolid 2-3 Real Madrid, Osasuna 0-1 Valencia, Levante 4-0 Mallorca, Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Celta Vigo, Atletico Madrid 6-0 Deportivo, Real Betis 1-2 Barcelona. Today: Rayo Vallecano vs Real Zaragoza. Italy: Atalanta 2-1 Parma, Roma 4-2 Fiorentina, Cagliari 0-2 Chievo, Palermo 0-1 Juventus, Pescara 2-0 Genoa, Siena 1-3 Catania, Torino 2-4 AC Milan, Inter Milan 2-1 Napoli. Today: Sampdoria vs Udinese, Bologna vs Lazio. Germany: Hamburg 2-0 Hoffenheim, Borussia Dortmund 2-3 Wolfsburg, Augsburg 0-2 Bayern Munich, Nurnberg 2-0 Fortuna Dusseldorf, Freiburg 1-0 Greuther Furth, Stuttgart 3-1 Schalke, Eintracht Frankfurt 4-1 Werder Bremen, B. Monchengladbach 2-0 Mainz, Hanover 3-2 Bayer Leverkusen. France: Toulouse 0-0 Bastia, Paris St. Germain 4-0 Evian, Montpellier 3-0 AC Ajaccio, Nancy 1-1 Valenciennes, Rennes 2-2 Brest, Sochaux 1-1 Lille, Troyes 1-1 Nice, Reims 0-0 Bordeaux, Marseille 0-3 Lorient, St Etienne 0-1 Lyon. Netherlands: Heracles 1-1 Utrecht, RKC Waalwijk 2-0 NEC Nijmegen, Den Haag 1-1 FC Zwolle, AZ Alkmaar 0-0 Willem II, Ajax 2-0 Groningen, Heerenveen 4-4 Roda JC, NAC Breda 2-2 Feyenoord, VVV Venlo 3-1 Vitesse Arnhem, PSV Eindhoven 3-0 FC Twente.