THE MASTERY OF LIONEL MESSI

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There was a time where Messi scored 91 goals in a calendar year and I thought he would never be able to top that level of performance again. Though he hasn’t reached that goal scoring output since, Messi is a much better player now. His game has gone to a whole new level, which is an incredible thing to say. Consistently, Messi has scored over 40 goals a season for Barcelona but it is his overall play that makes him the greatest player in the history of soccer.

Messi is more than just an elite goalscorer. For example, you can easily make the argument that Messi is one of the greatest passers of all time. There have been numerous matches that I have watched where Messi has played a pass with the precision that a surgeon would be proved of. He plays intricate through balls and long sweeping passes that only a master-passer can make. Be it 5 yards to 50 yards, his passing range is incredible for a striker. In his career so far, Messi has 270 assists to his name which is outrageous given that he has mainly been utilized as a striker. I thought that Paul Scholes was the best passer I have ever seen, but he has been usurped by the Argentinian.

His finishing, passing range and dribbling abilities rival the best to have ever played the game. It is so rare to find a player that is elite in every single one of these attributes, but Messi is. In fact, Messi can easily be regarded as the greatest of all time in all of these categories. The eye-test and statistics clearly indicate this to be true.

Messi’s career stats

Messi’s offensive output, throughout his career, has been ridiculous. I have created a graph below which shows his up to date goals and assists numbers. When you view the totality of Messi’s career you can see that his goals and assists numbers, when combined, equal to a value higher than the number of his appearances. So, on average, Messi has contributed either a goal or an assist in every game that he has played in! Nobody, not even Ronaldo, can compete with this level of productivity.

In 806 appearances, Messi has scored 660 goals and has 270 assists to his name. The little Argentinian has dominated soccer since he became the main man in Barcelona. As you can see from the bar chart that I have created; his goals and assists numbers are insane.

Messi is not the most athletic player. He’s not the strongest player and he’s not the quickest player, but he still manages to dominate the game like no other. Messi can dictate the tempo of the game, like a deep-lying playmaker, and can also be his team’s creative spark, just like an attacking-midfielder. Essentially, Messi is like two players in one. A prolific goal scorer and a chance creator on a level we have never seen before.

This Season

This past year, Messi’s productivity has gone up a level. In 2018, Messi scored 51 goals and notched up 26 assists; all in 54 appearances! Also, in 2018, Messi contributed to 47.6% of Barcelona’s goals which is an incredibly high percentage. The Argentinian has scored 50+ goals in 8 of the last 9 seasons and he has consistently posted outrageous offensive numbers. As you can see, 2018 was a year to remember for Messi.

These next statistics are just as ludicrous:

Europe’s top five leagues in 2018-19:

Most goals – Messi

Most assists – Messi

Most chances created – Messi

Most free-kicks scored – Messi

Most key passes per 90 mins – Messi

Most goals from outside the box – Messi

Statistically, Messi has been unbelievable this season. In 44 games, he has scored 41 goals and has 17 assists to his name. He leads La Liga in both categories. His wider offensive output is unparalleled as he averages 5.3 shots per game, 3.1 key passes per game, 3.8 dribbles per game and has a pass accuracy of 83%. As the averages show, Messi is an offensive force that has no equal. Certain players can impose their will upon a game and Messi certainly does that. Has there been a more dominant force in soccer? I do not think so.

Messi’s game has constantly evolved and the Argentinian has thrived in all sorts of positions. It has been an honor to watch him play and it will be a sad, sad day when he decides to retire. There are things he does on the pitch where I just find myself saying “wow.”  

In my opinion, Messi is the most complete soccer player that we have ever seen. Messi is an artist and the pitch is his canvas. He is, in my mind, the greatest of all time.

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COMMENTS

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