Zico and Chitalu hold goal-scoring record, say officials in Brazil and Zambia respectively.
Brazilian club Flamengo are contending that their former player Zico held the record for goal scoring in a calendar year, despite Barcelona’s Lionel Messi being credited with the accolade last week.
Zico, who starred in the World Cup in 1978, 1982 and 1986 without lifting the trophy, scored 89 goals in the 1979 season, according to Flamengo.
Meanwhile, local bosses in Zambia are claiming that Godfrey Chitalu, not Messi nor Zico, scored most goals in a calendar year.
Zico scored 81 goals for the Rio-based club, seven for Brazil and one in a friendly, Lance newspaper reported.
Barca’s Messi was credited with the new record after going better than German legend Gerd Mueller’s previous reported best of 85 goals in 1972, with a first-half brace that sealed his side’s 2-1 win over Real Betis on Sunday.
“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.
Meanwhile, leading officials in Zambia claim Chitalu scored well over 100 goals in 1972.
“Godfrey Chitalu scored 49 goals in the league matches and 58 in cup and international matches between January 23 and December 10, 1972.
“The number of goals scored during this season goes to 107,” local commentator Musonda Chibulu said.
Chibulu and fellow researcher Jerry Muchimba compiled their proof from daily newspapers Times of Zambia and the Zambia Daily Mail, as well as the national archives.
The southern African nation’s football federation intend to try and get Chitalu’s tally ratified by football’s governing body.
“We are planning to take the evidence to FIFA,” association spokesman Eric Mwanza said.
Chitalu died with the whole national football team when their airplane crashed off the coast of Gabon in 1993 on the way to a World Cup qualifier in Senegal.
He was head coach at the time.
Messi added to his 2012 haul on Wednesday night with a brace in Barca’s Spanish Cup win over Cordoba putting the Argentine maestro on the 88 mark.
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