Messi, Kane, Mbappe: Europe's top stars ranked per their stats over the last year

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Since his shock switch from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain over the summer, Lionel Messi hasn't exactly shown the form which has seen him land a staggering six Ballon d'Or titles across his iconic career.

The Argentinian superstar has managed just one goal in five appearances for Mauricio Pochettino's men - and has yet to truly find his feet at the Parc des Princes.

Messi, though, remains a heavy favourite to be named the best player on the planet for a seventh time when the 2021 Ballon d'Or prize is awarded next month. 

The 34-year-old was pivotal to Barcelona managing to secure a top-three finish in La Liga last term - as well as lifting the Copa del Rey - with an impressive return of 38 goals and 14 assists from 52 games.

However, it's not just in those two key areas where Messi has excelled over the past 12 months.

According to the Sky Sports Power Rankings, which rates players' all-round performances in matches using 35 different criteria, Messi has been the most effective player in all of European football's big-five leagues in the last year.

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ENTER GIVEAWAY

Amassing 114,503 points in the period per the Sky Sports algorithm, Messi is more than 10,000 points ahead of second-placed Robert Lewandowski, thanks to his greater overall contributions and the eight goals he scored from outside the area.

The Polish marksman leads the way in terms of goalscoring across Europe, though, hitting 47 league goals for Bayern Munich since October 1, 2020.

Lewandowski had been favourite to take home the Ballon d'Or last year, before the award was scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic - and these rankings certainly reflect his exceptional run of form. 

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema ranks third, largely on the basis of his 47 goal involvements for Los Blancos over the course of the period, while Messi's PSG colleague Kylian Mbappe finds himself in fourth place.

Read more: Champions League 2021/22: Fixtures, Draw, Results, Odds, Scores And Everything You Need To Know

Manchester United playmaker Bruno Fernandes is the highest-placed of four Premier League players included in the top 10. The 27-year-old occupies fifth spot overall and is joined by Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku and surprise inclusion Tomas Soucek.

Prolific Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland notched a creditable 32 Bundesliga goals in the period, but his lack of contributions elsewhere on the pitch see him ranked only sixth.

Lionel Messi: Can you get 20/20 on this quiz about his Barcelona career?

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At what age did Messi join Barcelona?

Top ten players in Europe's big-five leagues over the last 12 months (per Sky Sports' Power Rankings)

10. Harry Kane (Tottenham)

9. Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)

8. Memphis Depay (Barcelona)

7. Tomas Soucek (West Ham)

6. Erling Haaland (Dortmund)

5. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

4. Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

3. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

2. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

1. Lionel Messi (PSG)

The leading trio in this list are all highly experienced former Champions League winners. For all of the hype that surrounds the likes of Mbappe and Haaland, veteran campaigners like Messi and Lewandowski have proved over the last year that their hunger to compete is as great as ever.

If the bookmakers are on the money, Messi might well add another honour to his incredible resume when the winner of the 2021 Ballon d'Or award is announced in Paris on November 29.

Newcastle £320BN Takeover Complete! (Via The Football Terrace)

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