Healed Messi fit to break Mueller record

After suffering an injury, Barcelona boss Tito Vilanova says Lionel Messi is ready for La Liga match against Real Betis.

    Healed Messi fit to break Mueller record
    Messi had to be stretchered off during mid-week Champions League game against Benfica [GALLO/GETTY]

    Barcelona forward Lionel Messi looks set to try and surpass Gerd Mueller's 40-year-old record for most goals in a calendar year when Barcelona plays Real Betis after recovering from a bruised left knee.

    Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova included Messi in his squad for the Spanish league match at Betis on Sunday, saying the forward will play barring a setback.

    "(Messi) feels fine, he isn't bothered (by the knee),'' Vilanova said on Saturday.

    "If he is traveling it's because he's in condition to play. It there existed even the smallest risk he wouldn't travel with the team."

    Vilanova said he didn't know yet if he would start Messi or bring him off the bench.

    Messi was carried off the pitch after a late collision with the opposing goalkeeper in Barcelona's 0-0 draw against Benfica in the Champions League on Wednesday. He hasn't missed a game because of injury since September 2010.

    The 25-year-old Messi is trying to match Mueller's record of 85 goals for Bayern Munich and West Germany in 1972. Messi has 84 goals so far this year for Barcelona and Argentina.

    Forward Alexis Sanchez and defender Dani Alves have recovered from injury and made the squad. 

    Barcelona leads the league after a record start of 13 wins and one draw in the opening 14 rounds.

    Real Sociedad defender Carlos Martinez scored an injury-time equaliser to secure a 1-1 home draw with Getafe in the Spanish league on Saturday.

    After an attractive second half with chances for both teams at Anoeta stadium, Getafe was moments away from a fourth straight victory when forward Angel Lafita charged into the area to head home Jaime Gavilan's cross in the 86th minute.

    But Martinez was left unmarked to meet Alberto de la Bella's lobbed pass at the far post and head it into the net in stoppage time to split the points.

    Sociedad remained undefeated in five rounds and moved up into eighth place. Getafe rose to fifth.

    SOURCE: AP


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