It’s been a year of two halves for Barcelona legend Lionel Messi.
The Argentine enjoyed an excellent 2019-20 campaign on an individual level, scoring 31 goals and registering 27 assists. Fifty-eight goal contributions in just 44 games was a remarkable return from the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
However, Messi was left crestfallen after Barça’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League back in August. Shortly afterwards came the shock news that the forward wanted to leave Camp Nou.
The 33-year-old had made up his mind. He believed it was in the best interests of all concerned if he moved on. Waiting in the wings were Manchester City, poised to bring him to the Premier League.
However, when it became clear that Messi would need to take Barça to court in order to force his exit, a transfer away from Camp Nou broke down.
By all accounts, Messi remains determined to leave Barcelona when his contract expires in the summer.
The South American will be free to discuss terms with overseas clubs from January 1 and Paris Saint-Germain will be at the front of the queue for his signature, with Man City also a potential destination.
Although Messi insisted during an interview at the start of the season that he would give his all for Barça, he hasn’t been at his world-class best in recent months.
In 18 appearances, Messi has scored 10 goals and set up five more for his teammates. Decent stats for most footballers, but we’re used to much better from the player many football fans regard as the best ever.
Barcelona currently sit sixth in La Liga, nine points behind Atletico Madrid, and a title challenge seems unlikely unless Messi suddenly hits top gear again.
As we reach the end of 2020, Madrid-based outlet Marca have ranked the best 100 players of the year.
But they have Messi all the way down in 10th place, despite his performances during the first half of the year.
“There's not much left to say about Messi,” Marca write. “He won the Pichichi top goalscorer award in LaLiga Santander, as well as registering the most assists (21).
“But it was his off-pitch activity that made most of the headlines in 2020, particularly his explosive Burofax and interview stating his wish to leave Barcelona.”
That maybe so, but 10th place still seems rather harsh.
This is Marca’s top 50…
50. Jesus Navas | Sevilla
49. Georgino Wijnaldum | Liverpool
48. Rodri | Manchester City
47. Lautaro Martinez | Inter Milan
46. Frenkie De Jong | Barcelona
45. Andy Robertson | Liverpool
44. Ansu Fati | Barcelona
43. Fede Valverde | Real Madrid
42. Jan Oblak | Atletico Madrid
41. Marquinhos | PSG
40. Alisson | Liverpool
39. Ederson | Manchester City
38. Marcus Rashford | Manchester United
37. Jules Koundé | Sevilla
36. Roberto Firmino | Liverpool
35. Leon Goretzka | Bayern Munich
34. David Alaba | Bayern Munich
33. Joao Felix | Atletico Madrid
32. Angel Di Maria | Paris Saint-Germain
31. Romelu Lukaku | Inter Milan
30. Bruno Fernandes | Manchester United
29. Thibaut Courtois | Real Madrid
28. Timo Werner | Chelsea
27. Raheem Sterling | Manchester City
26. Zlatan Ibrahimovic | AC Milan
25. Serge Gnabry | Bayern Munich
24. Luka Modric | Real Madrid
23. Son Heung-min | Tottenham
22. Harry Kane | Tottenham
21. Mohamed Salah | Liverpool
20. Toni Kroos | Real Madrid
19. Sadio Mane | Liverpool
18. Marc-Andre ter Stegen | Barcelona
17. Thiago Alcantara | Liverpool
16. Alphonso Davies | Bayern Munich
15. Virgil van Dijk | Liverpool
14. Ciro Immobile | Lazio
13. Kevin De Bruyne | Manchester City
12. Trent Alexander-Arnold | Liverpool
11. Thomas Muller | Bayern Munich
10. Lionel Messi | Barcelona
9. Erling Haaland | Borussia Dortmund
8. Manuel Neuer | Bayern Munich
7. Karim Benzema | Real Madrid
6. Neymar | Paris Saint-Germain
5. Cristiano Ronaldo | Juventus
4. Sergio Ramos | Real Madrid
3. Kylian Mbappe | Paris Saint-Germain
2. Joshua Kimmich | Bayern Munich
1. Robert Lewandowski | Bayern Munich
An interesting top 10, that’s for sure.
Cristiano Ronaldo won’t be flattered to see his name down in fifth place, while Joshua Kimmich in second position is a bold shout.
There can, however, be no doubt that Robert Lewandowski has been the best player over the course of 2020. Fifty-five goals and 10 assists in 47 competitive matches is a phenomenal return from Bayern Munich’s Polish striker.News Now - Sport News