Football is all about goals. Putting the ball in the back of the net. That’s not to say that defenders who earn those hard-fought clean sheets are any less good than those attackers.
But this is where everything changes. Putting the ball in the back of the net consistently is not what every striker or attacker is capable of. Let alone top the scoring charts in a calendar year. When considered in a football season-wise, 20+ goals is regarded as a very good season. 30 goals and you’ve already done the best you can.
Now coming to topping scoring charts in a calendar year. On paper, it looks like a much easier task than topping charts in a season, but it’s not. FootTheBall takes a look at the players who have the most goals in a calendar year.
Lionel Messi – Barcelona & Argentina: 91 goals (2012)
During the 2012 calendar year, Lionel Messi had the best individual season of his career. The little magician scored a whooping 91 goals in 2012, scoring 79 for Barcelona and 12 for Argentina.
It might have been a very good season on an individual basis for Messi, although Barcelona failed as a collective unit. The Catalans finished 2nd in La Liga and lost to Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals. The Argentine also had a stunning 22 assists from 69 appearances that calendar year.
5 players each from Real Madrid & Barcelona 😳#UCL #ChampionsLeague #ChatGPT pic.twitter.com/6AmlrBNgh1
— FootTheBall FC (@FootTheBallFC) May 24, 2023
Gerd Muller – Bayern Munich & West Germany: 85 goals (1972)
Gerd Muller was known for his killer instincts in front of goal. The Bayern Munich legend scored a stunning 365 goals in the Bundesliga, with another Bavarian player close in the form of Robert Lewandowski with 278 goals.
The German also scored a massive 68 goals in 62 appearances for West Germany. His 85 goals record in a single calendar year stood for nearly 40 years before Lionel Messi entered the frame and shattered all records for good.
Pele – Santos & Brazil: 75 & 72 goals (1958 & 1965)
Brazil legend Pele announced himself as a 17-year-old kid back in 1958 and did it in some style. He played most of his football for Santos during the entirety of his…