The 2021/22 season certainly hasn’t been Lionel Messi‘s finest so far.
That’s something of an understatement really, with the Argentine enduring a very difficult start to life at Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi has only found the back of the net four times for the French club, a rather low total for a player who many believe to be the greatest of all time.
But despite his struggles at PSG, the 34-year-old is the firm favourite to win the 2021 Ballon d’Or on November 29th.
And why’s that? Because for the majority of the year, Messi was his usual brilliant self.
As well as dropping a plethora of masterclasses that helped Argentina win the Copa America in the summer, the forward has a high number of club goal contributions this year thanks to the final months of his legendary spell at Barcelona.
In fact, Messi features on the right-wing in our XI made up of the players with the most goals and assists combined from January 1st onwards.
He’s joined by some familiar faces, but there’s no place for Cristiano Ronaldo…
All stats sourced from Transfermarkt. Only players from teams in Europe’s top five leagues have been considered for selection.
Goalkeeper | Bono, Sevilla
Right-back | Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool
Centre-back | David Alaba, Real Madrid
Centre-back | Bremer, Torino
Left-back | Jordi Alba, Barcelona
Centre-mid | Ilkay Gundogan, Manchester City
Right-wing | Lionel Messi, Paris Saint-Germain
Left-wing | Lorenzo Insigne, Napoli
Attacking-mid | Bruno Fernandes, Manchester United
Striker | Kylian Mbappe, Paris Saint-Germain
Striker | Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich
Lewandowski has the most goal contributions in 2021, which will come as no surprise to anyone. However, what will catch people out is is how close Mbappe is to the Bayern striker at the time of writing.
He’s not bad at football that Kylian…
The Frenchman’s place alongside Messi means PSG are the only club to have two representatives in the XI, while the Premier League and La Liga have the joint-most players with three apiece.