The Zambian FA and Brazilian football club Flamengo have complained to FIFA that they both have players who have scored more than 88 and that Lionel Messi’s current 88-goal record should not be acknowledged.
The 25-year-old created headlines around the world and was celebrated by many as the best ever footballer after he broke Gerd Muller’s 40-year-old record for the most goals scored in a calendar year earlier this week.
However, according to the Zambian FA, the record was never Muller’s to be broken, but was rather Kabwe Warriors striker Godfrey Chitalu who scored 107 goals, also in 1972.
The five-time Zambian player of the year’s feat was never officially recognised by FIFA, but Zambian officials have approached football’s governing body to have the goals officially recorded.
“Messi has not bettered the record,” said Bruno Lucena, a club historian.
“If he had played the whole year, Zico would have without doubt scored more than 100 goals,” he said in reference to the fact that Zico missed a couple of months of the 1979 season through injury.
Zico, who last month stood down as coach of Iraq after previously managing Japan, Fenerbahce and CSKA Moscow, scored 647 goals for clubs and 52 for Brazil in his 1971-1994 career.