It’s no secret amongst the footballing world, but Lionel Messi is some talent.
The gifted genius continues to set new standards for what mere mortals thought was possible, the Argentina superstar continuing to produce extraordinary displays in the famous colour of Barcelona.
One look at Barcelona’s failed title defence and Messi’s lowest league tally for goals in over a decade may point to a disappointing season, but a look into the statistics points towards a player many feel is still the world’s best and arguably the greatest to have graced the game.
Here is a look at five stand out Lionel Messi statistics from the 2019/20 La Liga season:
Most goals and most assists
Messi’s haul of 25 league goals may have been his lowest tally since the 2008/09 season, but it was a tally that still delivered the Argentine yet another Pichichi Trophy as Spanish football’s leading scorer.
The Barcelona icon finished four goals ahead of nearest challenger Karim Benzema to finish as La Liga’s top scorer for the seventh time in his career to date, a landmark moment which saw him surpass legendary Athletic Bilbao forward Telmo Zarra’s record of six set more than half a century ago.
Messi’s game, however, is much, much more than simply scoring goals and his creative talents were at their magical best throughout the campaign – setting a new record for most assists in a La Liga season.
The forward’s 22 goals provided saw him eclipse the previous record of 21 held by former Barcelona teammate Xavi, and become the first player in the history of Spain’s top flight to register 20+ goals and 20+ assists in a single season.
He became just the second player in Europe’s top five leagues – after Arsenal’s Thierry Henry in 2002/03 – to achieve the feat this century and has now finished as the leading scorer and assist provider in La Liga for three consecutive campaigns.
Most chances and most big chances created
Messi’s league leading assist tally has come from his ability to create chances in both quality and quantity, his status as Spanish football’s chief creator unrivalled during a sensational individual season.
No La Liga player averaged more key passes per game than Messi (2.7), whilst his average of six through balls per fixture was the highest of any player amongst Europe’s leading leagues.
The quality of Messi’s creative play saw him create 88 chances for his Barcelona teammates, with over 40% of those chances (36) being classed as ‘big chances’.
The 33-year-old has shown no signs of slowing down and continues to make history in the colours of the Catalan club, eclipsing Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for the most hat-tricks in the history of La Liga this season.
Messi levelled the Portuguese icon’s landmark with a treble against Celta Vigo in November, before taking the record outright by claiming another match ball against Mallorca just three games later.
The Argentinian later netted his third treble of the season – and 36th of his La Liga career – after scoring four goals during a 5-0 destruction of Eibar at the Camp Nou in February.
Lionel Messi has now scored a hat-trick of hat-tricks in LaLiga this season:
🎩 vs. Celta Vigo
🎩 vs. Mallorca
🎩 vs. Eibar
Every other player in the division combined has one. 🙃 pic.twitter.com/47c02u8zTI
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 22, 2020
Most direct free-kicks
Amongst Messi’s magical repertoire of goals includes being one of the finest free-kick takers in world football, his portfolio of set-peice specials added to with a league-leading five efforts during the 2019/20 season.
Fouls anywhere around the edge of the Camp Nou penalty area are greeted with a hush of anticipation as Messi takes centre stage, a situation which often leads to euphoria inside the hallowed stadium.
Messi’s five free-kicks include two during his aforementioned hat-trick against Celta Vigo, alongside an audacious under-the-wall effort to secure victory over Alaves on the final day of the league season.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner’s formidable free-kick reputation also led to one of the most innovative assists of the season, chipping a delightful ball onto the head of an unmarked Luis Suarez as a Celta Vigo defence – scarred from their previous encounter with Messi – anticipated a shot from the edge of the penalty area.
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) July 19, 2020
Most take-ons completed
Arguably the best goalscorer and best creator in world football, is Messi also the best dribbler in the game?
The sight of the mesmerising Messi jinking past opposition challenges has been one of the most captivating images of the modern era, a player who becomes seemingly untouchable when hurtling forwards in that signature style – his low-centre of gravity, balance and acceleration leaving defenders in his wake.
Any suggestions that Messi may be significantly altering his style as he enters his thirties look unfounded given his record in La Liga this season, completing a league-high 182 take-ons as hapless defences have struggled to contain his unrivalled talents.
That tally is the same as Wolves’ flying machine Adama Traore – the most prolific dribbler in the Premier League – has managed this season, whilst no player can match Messi for dribbles-per-game.