Lionel Messi has scored more goals than anyone else from outside the box since 2007/08

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Barcelona's dependence on Lionel Messi has been glaringly obvious in recent weeks. 

Ernesto Valverde was given some much-needed respite with a 2-0 win over Getafe on Saturday, but his problems are far from over. 

The Blaugrana sit fourth in La Liga as we err dangerously close to the point in the season when the table starts to tell an accurate story. 

Their poor start to the season can no longer be dismissed as a handful of anomalies, and that's due in no small part to Messi's injuries. 

The Argentine has only made two league appearances and one of those was from the bench. 

It's not just that the 32-year-old has been their top scorer in all competitions in all but one of their campaigns since 2008/09. 

Messi is a magician, an alchemist.

Like Cristiano Ronaldo, he has had to adapt his style of play over the past few years as his body begins to slow down, but he is still capable of scoring from a range of positions and creating chances that others just don't see.


The five-time Ballon d'Or winner - who was recognised with FIFA's 'The Best' award earlier this month, much to the surprise of Virgil van Dijk admirers around the world - still has an impressive knack for scoring crucial goals outside the box.

In fact, according to Opta, Messi has struck the back of the net from outside the area more than any other player in the top five European leagues dating back to the 2007/08 season. 

The breakdown looks like this: 

Miralem Pjanic is the youngest of the four - but he's still 42 behind Messi. 

The only player with even the faintest prayer of catching him is Ronaldo, but he is an almost certainly insurmountable 15 behind and tends to shoot more from close range than he did at his peak. 

All in all, it's yet another record that nobody is likely to take off the G.O.A.T.

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