Johannesburg, Dec 12(ANI): Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova has claimed one of Lionel Messi's key strengths is that his approach to the game is the same now as it was when he was a teenager.
Now aged 25 and voted World Player of the Year the past three years, Messi set a record for the most goals scored in a calendar year of 86 on Sunday, surpassing the previous best of 85 set by German Gerd Muller in 1972.
"Messi's great virtue is that he is still playing now as a professional the same way he did as a youth player," Sport24 quoted Vilanova, as saying.
"His career, what he has achieved, nobody could have predicted it. I loved and enjoyed watching him play back then and now at this age too. I hope it continues for a good deal longer," he added.
Messi can add to his 2012 goals tally in the Cup game at Cordoba and Barcelona have another two La Liga games, at home to Atletico Madrid and away at Real Valladolid, before the end of the year.
The Argentinean genius is likely to smash plenty more scoring records before the end of his career and with 192 goals is already Barcelona's all-time leading scorer in La Liga and ninth overall behind top marksman and former Athletic Bilbao forward Telmo Zarra on 251. (ANI)