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Lionel Messi, three articles at The New York Times

Leo Messi broke Gerd Müller’s longstanding goalscoring record on Sunday evening when Barça faced Real Betis at the Benito Villamarín. FC Barcelona’s star forward struck twice to take his goal tally in a calendar year to 86, one more than Müller had scored in 1972. In the days after the Betis-Barça match, The New York Times published three articles on the Argentinian's brilliant 2012. Here’s an overview of the three articles:

1- Messi’s Brilliance Transcends His Numbers (Jeré Longman)

Excerpt:

"But Messi is best appreciated, Guardiola admonished, in the virtuosity of the moment, not against the backdrop of history and statistics. Soccer, like figure skating, demands art as much as sport. This is not baseball, where numbers mean so much that they seem to carry a moral weight. Soccer’s beauty is that it surpasses mathematics, or, in Barcelona’s case, conjures a sublime human geometry of triangular passing and movement."


2- There’s More to Messi Than a Record of Goals (Rob Hughes)

Excerpt:

"The essence of Lionel Messi is not in the bare statistic that now makes him the most prolific scorer of goals in a single year in the history of the game.

It is in the way that he does it. It is the desire of the man who, at age 25 and possibly just reaching the middle of his career, makes every game seem like such a joy, for himself and others.

There is a child in Messi that will not grow up, thank goodness."

 

3- Messi’s Mark Leaves a Goal Yet to Achieve  (Andrew Das)

Excerpt:

“[Messi’s] latest scoring feat is remarkable. Those who correctly point out that Messi hasplayed more games this year than Müller did in ’72 conveniently ignore the fact that Müller’s record had stood for four decades, surviving the bulk of Johan Cruyff’s career and the entirety of Maradona’s, and that it was finally overcome despite a schedule that players of Müller’s era could not have imagined.”

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