Barcelona: The numbers that prove Lionel Messi does not need Xavi or Andres Iniesta to excel
It’s still mind-boggling Lionel Messi was ranked the fifth best player in the world last year.
Despite netting more goals than any other player on the planet, the Barcelona star was named behind Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Cristiano Ronaldo and eventual winner Luka Modric in the Ballin d’Or final five.
This season Messi has again been spectacular – and although he wont beat his own world-record haul of 73 goals back in 2011/12, he is close to displaying his best ever form in the famous Blaugrana jersey.
The little Argentine has the most goals (42), most assists (21), most free-kick goals (6) and the most hat tricks (4) in Europe this season, despite missing a month through injury.
He has also scored the most goals in the history of the top five leagues (415).
Messi’s season in numbers
La Liga – 32 goals in 28 appearances
Champions League – 8 goals in 6 appearances
Copa del Rey – 2 goals in 4 appearances
Most goals (42)
Most assists (21)
Most free-kick goals (6)
Most hat-tricks (4)
There was once a theory, however, that Messi only produced these remarkable stats due to the talent of Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta behind him.
But he has shown that isn’t the case, and, if anything, the Barca skipper excelled more since the departure of the two iconic midfielders from Camp Nou.
After Xavi transfer to Al-Sadd SC, Messi has scored 195 goals in 194 matches.
Meanwhile, in Iniesta’s absence, following a transfer to Japanese outfit Vissel Kobe, he’s managed 42 goals in 39 matches.
Furthermore, Messi’s assist rate is virtually the same since Xavi and Iniesta left.
When playing with both Xavi and Iniesta, he recorded 115 assists in 309 LaLiga appearances – averaging an assist in 0.37 per cent of league matches.
In the four seasons following Xavi’s departure, and in a different role, he has 41 assists in 131 LaLiga matches – averaging an assist in 31 per cent of league matches.
Messi has undoubtedly proven that myth wrong and it’s only a matter of time before the golden ball is back in the hands of the Barcelona star.
Source: SportsLatest TS