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Messi wrote his name into the history books as he scored his 85th and 86th goals in 2012 to break Gerd Muller's record of most goals in a calendar year.

Lionel Messi scored twice inside the opening 25 minutes to help Barcelona to a 2-1 victory at Real Betis on Sunday, and in the process moved clear of Muller, who scored 85 goals during 1972.

Ruben Castro pulled a one goal back 6 minutes before the break as the hosts threatened to steal the headlines, but Barca held on for a victory that restores their eleven-point lead over Real Madrid.

There was some bad news for Barca, though, as midfielder Fabregas has been ruled out for up to four weeks with a thigh injury

Radamel Falcao gave another demonstration of his predatory instincts with a five-goal haul as Atletico Madrid crushed hapless Deportivo La Coruna 6-1.

The flow of goals for the Colombian continued after half-time as he slotted home a penalty and two more from close range to take his tally for the season to 19. Atletico are six points behind leaders Barcelona.