Messi, Benzema, De Bruyne: The highest-rated XI for the 2021/22 season

There’s no denying that Lionel Messi wasn’t at his brilliant best for Paris Saint-Germain in 2021/22.

The little magician looked a little lost at times after making the move from Barcelona last summer and only managed to score six goals in Ligue 1 overall.

For a player who once found the back of the net 50 times in a single La Liga campaign, that return simply isn’t good enough.

However, while Messi struggled in front of goal, he still chipped in with a healthy number of assists – 14 to be exact.

Only his PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe recorded more in the French top-flight during 2021/22.

As a result of his efficient playmaking, Messi has secured the right-wing spot in the highest-rated XI for the entire season over on WhoScored.

That’s right, Liverpool goal machine Mohamed Salah misses out, although two of his teammates make the cut.

Mohamed Salah with Liverpool
VILLARREAL, SPAIN – MAY 03: Mohamed Salah of Liverpool looks on during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Leg Two match between Villarreal and Liverpool at Estadio de la Ceramica on May 03, 2022 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Check out the XI in full…

The highest-rated XI for the 2021/22 season

GK: Jonas Omlin (Montpellier) – 6.9/10

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) – 7.5/10

CB: Nico Schlotterbeck (Freiburg) – 7.4/10

CB: Joel Matip (Liverpool) – 7.4/10

LB: Joao Cancelo (Manchester City) – 7.4/10

RM: Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain) – 7.8/10

CM: Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig) – 7.6/10

CM: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) – 7.6/10

LM: Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain) – 8.0/10

ST: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) – 7.9/10

ST: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) – 7.7/10

The highest-rated XI

Amazingly, Messi is the third-highest rated player across Europe’s top five leagues for 2021/22 and is somehow ahead of Benzema – which will certainly raise a lot of eyebrows.

Only Lewandowski and Mbappe sit ahead of the former Barcelona man. They say the stats don’t lie, eh?

If we’re being completely honest, Messi should be nowhere near a best XI for the season, regardless of his high assist count.

Salah assisted 13 goals in the Premier League and also scored 23 of his own, 17 more than Messi managed in Ligue 1.

So how the Liverpool man hasn’t made the cut is truly baffling.

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