Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona

ALABAMA - Eleven years ago, Lionel Messi finished off the best year of his hugely successful career. On 2012, the Argentine accomplished something that seemed unthinkable for decades, as he surpassed Gerd Müller's record of 85 goals that had stood for 40 years. On December 22 of that year, Messi scored his last strike of the calendar year against Real Valladolid in Barcelona's 3-1, closing out 2012 with 91 goals across all competitions.

That wasn't the only crazy record he set during that calendar year. Along to his record-tying 3rd Ballon d'Or award, here's a look at other incredible accomplishments by Messi eleven years ago.

Most goals in a LaLiga season (50)

During the 2011-12 LaLiga season, Messi scored an overwhelming 50 goals in league play, surpassing the LaLiga single-season record by a landslide (Cristiano Ronaldo – 41 in 2010-11). Collectively, it wasn't a successful season for Barcelona as they missed out on the league title to rivals Real Madrid.

On his way to the half century mark, Messi scored 3+ goals in eight league games during that season, tied with Cristiano Ronaldo (also eight in 2014-15) for the LaLiga single-season record.

To this day, Messi's 50 goals in 2011-12 remain as the second-most ever in a single season across Europe's top 5 leagues, only behind Dixie Dean's 60 league goals for Everton in 1927-28.

Most UEFA Champions League goals in a single game (5)

During Barcelona's 2011-12 Round of 16 tie against Bayer Leverkusen, Messi made history by becoming the first player to score a total of five goals setting a competition record.

Arguably the best one out of the five, Messi's long range strike capped off a fantastic night for the Argentine. He finished the year scoring 4+ goals in three games.

Lionel Messi vs Bayer Leverkusen, Round of 16 - UEFA Champions League 2011-12 (via FC Barcelona's official YouTube channel)

To this date, the only other player that has managed to score 5+ goals in a single UEFA Champions League game is Shakhtar Donetsk's Luiz Adriano, when he scored five goals in a 7-0 win over BATE Borisov in 2014-15.

Most LaLiga goals in a calendar year (59)

The Argentina superstar had his most prolific years between 2012 and 2013, in which he scored 96 LaLiga goals in 69 games played. In 2012 alone, Messi scored 59 league goals that helped him land two consecutive Pichichi Awards. He scored multiple goals in 23 of his LaLiga games played in 2012.

Player with the most Ballon d'Or awards (3)

Messi kept on rewriting history at a young age when he won his third consecutive Ballon d'Or award in 2012 and tying Michel Platini, Marco van Basten and Johan Cruyff as the only players to receive the award at least three times.

At the age of 24, he surpassed Johan Cruyff as the youngest three-time winner. The former Barcelona and Netherlands player won his third award at age 27, with Messi doing so three years earlier.

Fast forward more than a decade later, Messi has now extended his record as the player with the most Ballon d'Or awards with eight total wins, three more than any other player (Cristiano Ronaldo, 5).

Lionel Messi, 2012
Lionel Messi accepting his 3rd Ballon d'Or award in January 2012 Via

Most consecutive LaLiga matches with at least one goal (21)

A record that started in November of 2012 and concluded six months later, Messi scored in 21 consecutive league games for Barcelona. This run of scoring helped him with his 2nd Pichichi with 46 LaLiga goals, in a season in which Barcelona tied Real Madrid's record from the previous season as the only teams to achieve 100 points in a single league campaign.

Watch all of Lionel Messi's 91 goals in 2012 - (Via IsmailArts on YouTube)

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