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5 highest scoring trios of the 21st century

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were part of world-class attacking trios
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were part of world-class attacking trios

Modern football has seen attacking tridents become the norm. Managers expect fluidity in attack, with forwards capable of interchanging positions to cause maximum damage.

This has resulted in some of the best attacking sides in football. It helps when one of your attackers is either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, two of the best footballers to have played the game.

Barcelona and Real Madrid's dominance is clear. The two La Liga giants were feared in the early 2010s, with some of the best players in the world playing for the sides.

On that note, we look at the 5 highest scoring trios of the 21st century.

Note: All stats were gathered from transfermarkt.com


#5 Lionel Messi (73), Cesc Fabregas (15) and Xavi (14) | Barcelona | 2011/12

Lionel Messi and Xavi are regarded as legends of Barcelona
Lionel Messi and Xavi are regarded as legends of Barcelona

Pep Guardiola's final season as Barcelona manager saw Lionel Messi go haywire, as the superstar forward scored 73 goals in all competitions for the club.

Barcelona endured a quiet season, finishing 2nd in La Liga behind Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid. The Catalan club were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by Chelsea in the semi-finals, as Guardiola bowed out after enjoying incredible success as manager of the club.

Cesc Fabregas, who returned to Barcelona in 2011 for a fee of £30.5 million, scored 15 goals in all competitions for the club but never truly fit in at Barcelona, as he joined Chelsea in 2014.

Legendary midfielder Xavi, not renowned for his goalscoring, recorded 14 goals that season, scoring 10 goals in the league. This was the first and only time Xavi reached double figures for goals in La Liga.


#4 Lionel Messi (54), Luis Suarez (36) and Neymar (20) | Barcelona | 2016/17

Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez were a fearsome trio
Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez were a fearsome trio

Like Pep Guardiola before him, Barcelona manager Luis Enrique announced in March 2017 that the 2016/17 season was going to be his final season as Barcelona boss.

The Spaniard enjoyed a decorated spell as Barcelona manager and won the treble in 2015. Much of that success was down to their three forwards, as Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar proved to be a fearsome trio and are regarded as one of the best attacking tridents in football history.

The 2016/17 season was not trophy-laden for the Camp Nou outfit. Despite their frontline being in fine form, Barcelona finished 2nd in La Liga, behind Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid. They were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by Juventus in the quarter-finals.

Barcelona fans will remember this season because of La Remontada. The Catalans overcame a 4-0 deficit in the first-leg against Paris Saint-Germain in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League to beat them 6-1 in the second leg and progress to the next round.


Also Read: 5 wonderkids who have not lived up to the hype this season

#3 Cristiano Ronaldo (60), Karim Benzema (32), Gonzalo Higuain (26) | Real Madrid | 2011/12

Real Madrid won the league in 2012
Real Madrid won the league in 2012

Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid pipped Pep Guardiola's Barcelona to the league title in the 2011/12 season, with Los Blancos' attack of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain in full flow.

Real Madrid recorded 100 points to clinch the La Liga title, but faltered in the Champions League, as they were knocked out in the semi-finals by Bayern Munich. While much of the focus was on Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema and Higuain were excellent forwards who proved to be a good foil for the Portuguese.

While Higuain departed Real Madrid in 2013, Ronaldo and Benzema played crucial roles under Zinedine Zidane. Ronaldo joined Juventus in 2018 and Benzema continues to be one of Real Madrid's most important players.


#2 Lionel Messi (58), Neymar (39), Luis Suarez (25) | Barcelona | 2014/15

Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi in Barcelona colors
Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi in Barcelona colors

Barcelona won a historic treble in the 2014-15 season under the management of Luis Enrique, with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez proving to be a formidable attacking trio.

Suarez joined Barcelona that season for a fee of £73.5 million from Liverpool but missed the start of the season, having been banned for biting Giorgio Chiellini in the World Cup. However, the Uruguayan international proved to be a smart buy, with his partnership with Lionel Messi and Neymar taking Barcelona to new heights.

The three attackers enjoyed good chemistry on the field. Among the best players in world football, the 2014/15 season was the beginning of a fruitful and formidable attack which was dubbed the 'MSN'.


#1 Luis Suarez (59), Lionel Messi (41), Neymar (31) | Barcelona | 2015/16

Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar celebrate a goal
Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar celebrate a goal

As mentioned above, Luis Suarez's acquisition was a clever one despite the fee, and the Uruguayan showed his class and quality in the 2015/16 season.

Suarez scored 59 goals in all competitions in just 53 appearances, winning the Pichichi Trophy as well as the European Golden Shoe. Barcelona won La Liga again, but were knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid.

While Messi, Suarez and Neymar deservedly get credit for Barcelona's success under the management of Enrique, the likes of Gerard Pique, Dani Alves, Jordi Alba, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta all played crucial roles for the Catalans.


Also Read: 10 best finishers in world football right now

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Edited by Vishal Subramanian
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