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article imageOp-Ed: Electrifying duo reach 60-goal plateau

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By John Duarte     Apr 8, 2012 in Sports
With the due respect for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, two of the most electrifying figures in sports netted the 60th goal in their respective seasons on Saturday.
In two very different sports, FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Tampa Bay Lightning’s Steven Stamkos reached that plateau reserved for elite players in their respective sports. What makes this even more special is that these two young athletes are, by all intents and purposes, still at the relative beginning of their professional careers. Which beg us to pose the question… how much more can we expect from these two sports superstars?
Lionel Messi
Messi, who is arguably the best soccer player in the world today, scored twice in a Spanish league win over Real Zaragosa. The two goals leave the 24-year-old Argentine just seven shy of the mark set by Gerd Muller, who scored 67 in 1972-73 when he played for Bayern Munich.
The Barcelona striker scored his first goal of the game in the 39th minute, to put his team ahead 2-1, and converted a penalty shot at the 86-minute mark to close out the score sheet and give Barcelona a 4-1 victory.
Messi has scored 38 goals in Spain’s first-division league play and 14 in the UEFA Champions League, including a five-goal performance against Bayer Leverkusen. He is the only player to ever score five goals in a Champions League game. Messi’s other eight tallies this season came by way of three in the Supercopa, two in the Copa del Rey and at the Club World Cup and one in the UEFA Super Cup.
Before this year’s statistics are completed, Barcelona still has seven Spanish La Liga games, at least two games against Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals and the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao. That makes 10 games to score seven goals to tie the record or eight to set a new one. Even a non-betting man can see that Muller’s all-time scoring record is destined to fall. It would also be hard to vote against him to win his fourth European Footballer of the Year.
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos  pictured here in his rookie year (2009).
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos, pictured here in his rookie year (2009).
Resolute
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Steven Stamkos
Stamkos scored his 60th goal of the season on the last day of the National Hockey League (NHL) regular season. The goal came at 3:29 of the third period in Tampa Bay Lightning’s overtime 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Although there have been 39 60-goal seasons previously in the NHL, the 22-year-old forward became only the 19th player to accomplish the feat and that places him in elite company.
The Unionville, Ontario, native has impressive statistics. He has scored 179 goals in 325 NHL games, after netting 100 in 124 junior games with the Ontario Hockey League’s Sarnia Sting. He has also scored 13 goals in 31 international appearances for Canada. This year’s 60 goals mean that Stamkos has now topped the 50-goal mark twice in his four-year career.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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