London: World football`s governing body FIFA has said that they were unable to check whether claims that an African footballer was the record holder for the most goals scored in a calendar year instead of Argentina star Lionel Messi.
“Thanks for the questions about Godfrey Chitalu. Our official stats are limited to FIFA competitions, so we cannot verify this ``record``,” Sport24 quoted FIFA`s communications department, as saying on its Twitter account @fifamedia.
“We keep records for all FIFA competitions,” it added.
According to the report, Barcelona forward Messi was hailed by many as the greatest player ever in the game after he scored twice on Sunday to beat the 40-year-old record of Germany`s Gerd Mueller and take his tally to 86 for 2012.
But claims emerged that he may still in fact be well short of Zambia legend Chitalu, who netted 107 times – 49 in league matches for Kabwe Warriors and 58 in cup and internationals – between January 23 and December 10, 1972, the report said.
A black and white photograph of a smiling Chitalu, dressed in a suit and holding a ball inscribed with "1972 Godfrey Chitalu 107 goals" has been widely circulated on the Internet, the report added.
Yet there have also been claims that his name was raised by jealous supporters of Barca rivals Real Madrid to prevent the record going to a Barcelona player, the report concluded.
The actuality of the matter couldn’t be verified as yet.