Lionel Messi: Graphic of Europe’s best passers shows PSG star is still on another level

  • Rob Swan
Graphic of this season’s best passers in Europe shows Lionel Messi is still on another level

By his own ridiculously high standards, it’s fair to say that Lionel Messi has had a disappointing debut season with Paris Saint-Germain.

The legendary Argentine forward was expected to tear up Ligue 1 and the Champions League alongside Kylian Mbappe and Neymar after completing a shock move to the Parc des Princes last summer.

Messi made no secret of the fact that he wanted to stay at Barcelona, where he’d lived since 2000 with his family, but the Catalan giants couldn’t afford to keep their star player.

Although we’ve seen glimpses of Messi at his world-class best this term, these standout performances have been few and far between.

In 28 appearances for the Parisians, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has scored just eight goals. Only three of those goals have been registered in Ligue 1.

messi psg
MADRID, SPAIN – MARCH 09: Lionel Messi of Paris Saint-Germain looks on during the UEFA Champions League Round Of Sixteen Leg Two match between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on March 09, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

These are extremely low figures for a player who netted an astonishing 672 goals in 778 games during his unforgettable 17-year professional career at Camp Nou.

Messi is on course to win the Ligue 1 title with PSG but was predominantly signed to help the club end their wait for their maiden Champions League title.

He was unable to prevent his current employers from slumping to a 3-2 aggregate defeat to Real Madrid in the Round of 16 and was subsequently booed by PSG’s fans in the club’s next match against Bordeaux.

While many football fans are convinced that Messi has been poor this season due to his lack of goals, it can’t be ignored that the 34-year-old has provided 14 assists.

Twenty-two goals involvements in 28 games would be considered a very good return for almost every other footballer on the planet.

Is Messi still the best passer in world football?

Furthermore, a fascinating graphic has been posted on social media by @gasipo_opinions showing that Messi is still in a league of his own when it comes to passing.

Taking data from statistics website FBref, the graph ranks players from Europe’s top five leagues by their progressive passes per 90 minutes and expected assists per 90 minutes.

In order to make the graph, players must have played a minimum of 13 90-minute matches during the 2021-22 campaign so far.

The graph displays three standout groups: ‘Progression Monsters’ (featuring the likes of Thiago Alcantara, Toni Kroos and Marco Verratti), ‘Double Threat’ (including Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joshua Kimmich and Kevin De Bruyne), and ‘Final Pass Specialists’ (featuring Mohamed Salah, Dimitri Payet and Mbappe).

Messi still in a league of his own

But wait… you’ll also notice a small fourth group in the very top right-hand corner featuring just one player: Messi.

Yep, even during the worst season of his career, Messi is still setting the bar when it comes to passes in the final third of the pitch.

Let’s check out some of the reaction to the graphic:

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