Lionel Messi sets European record
BARCELONA, Spain -- Lionel Messi broke Gerd Mueller's 39-year-old record for goals in a European club season, scoring a hat trick for Barcelona in a 4-1 win over Malaga on Wednesday night to raise his total to 68.
The 24-year-old converted penalty kicks in the 35th and 59th minutes, then chipped onrushing goalkeeper Carlos Kameni to score in the 64th for his ninth hat trick of the season.
Mueller had held the record since scoring 67 goals for Bayern Munich in 1972-73.
Messi has played 57 games for Barcelona this season. He has scored a record 46 goals in the Spanish league, plus 14 in the Champions League, three in Spanish Super Cup, two each in the Club World Cup and the Copa del Rey, and one in the UEFA Super Cup.
It was the 21st multigoal game of the season for Messi and his seventh league hat trick, tying the mark set by Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo this season.
Messi, a three-time FIFA player of the year, has 248 goals in 326 games for Barcelona.
Mueller scored 36 Bundesliga goals in 1972-73, 12 each in the European Cup and the German League Cup and seven in the German Cup.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press