Lionel Messi breaks Champions League record with 72nd goal

Lionel Messi broke the Champions League goal-scoring record with the 72nd of his career during Barcelona's Group F game against APOEL on Tuesday - and went on to cap the feat by completing a hat trick.

Messi entered Barca's game tied with Real Madrid legend Raul with 71, and took the record after diverting Rafinha's goal-bound shot into the net in the 38th minute. He then added his 73rd and 74th career competition goals in the second half.

The 27-year-old had matched the record in just 90 games, while Raul played in 142 Champions League games for Madrid and Schalke between 1995 and 2011.

Cristiano Ronaldo, 29, is also in the race for the record, with the Real Madrid star having scored 70 Champions League goals in 106 appearances. The Portuguese forward could well surpass Messi's total against Basel on Wednesday.

Tuesday's achievement was the second goal-scoring record Messi has broken in a week. He moved past Telmo Zarra's La Liga tally of 251 goals with a hat trick against Sevilla on Saturday.

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola said Messi's Liga record -- which currently stands at 253 goals -- will not last for 60 years, but 600 years.''

Despite his recent exploits on the pitch, speculation has surrounded Messi's long-term Camp Nou future, with the player suggesting he could consider his options at the end of the season amid persistent media reports that he is tired of being singled out for attention by Spain's tax authorities.

Former Barca forward Johan Cruyff believes internal issues are behind Messi's apparent unhappiness, stating: "What I can imagine is that Messi is pretty annoyed with the tax things, because it is something joint with the club, and he is being investigated every three or four years."