Messi excels despite declining Blaugrana – the stats from Barcelona's worst season since Rijkaard
- Although Barcelona lead the way for the title in Spain, 2019-20 has been a turbulent and often underwhelming season for the Blaugrana.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic hit Spain, it had been an uneasy season for Barcelona, despite the Blaugrana sitting top of LaLiga by two points when the division's suspension was confirmed.
It remains to be seen whether the 2019-20 season resumes at all – it is not outside the realms of possibility the campaign is voided across Europe, even if the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) insists it will be finished.
If it were to be nulled, one gets the feeling few associated with Barcelona would be especially angry to see the back of 2019-20 – even if it means the title is no longer attainable, as strange as that sounds.
With the help of Opta data, we've taken a look back at Barcelona's campaign and, despite the issues surrounding the club, Lionel Messi unsurprisingly still comes out well…
1950 - The last time @LaLigaEN had fewer matchdays than this season was in 1949/1950 (26 games) when Atletico Madrid won the title. Suspended?@FCBarcelona #FCBarcelona#LaLigaSantander pic.twitter.com/f1VVXaBDiT— OptaJose (@OptaJose) March 16, 2020
BARCA IN 2019-20
58 - Barca have 58 points at the 27-match mark, making it their worst haul at this point of the season since 2007-08 – the campaign before Pep Guardiola took charge – when they had 54 at this stage. Frank Rijkaard was in charge at the time.
1 - Ernesto Valverde became the first LaLiga coach since Radomir Antic in 1991-92 to be dismissed in the same season he was top of the table during Spain's winter break. Johan Cruyff's Barca won the title that year.
63 - Barca's haul of 63 goals is also the fewest they have managed after 27 matches since netting 52 in 2007-08, when they finished third.
5 - Five defeats have already been inflicted upon Barca this season, more than in any of the previous 11 LaLiga seasons.
15 - The most shots taken in Europe's top five leagues this season directly following a 'one-two' (playing the pass before the chance created and taking the shot):15 | Lionel Messi— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 18, 2020
11 | Kevin De Bruyne
11 | Jack Grealish
10 | Joaquín Correa
10 | Luis AlbertoForesight. pic.twitter.com/LnLhrJs94K
MESSI SHOULDERS THE BURDEN
31 - With 19 goals, Messi is LaLiga's top scorer this season. But that's by no means all he has contributed – the Argentinian dynamo has also provided 12 assists in LaLiga, more than any other player.
2 - Indeed, Messi is one of only two players to reach double figures for both goals and assists across Europe's top five leagues – the other being Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho (G:14, A:15).
438 - Messi became the leading all-time goalscorer across Europe's top five leagues as well, having taken his tally to 438 from 474 matches. His eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo remains on his heels, however. The Portugal icon has 437 from 540 outings.
438 - @FCBarcelona's Lionel Messi has become the all-time top-scorer in the top five European leagues (438 goals in 474 appearances), surpassing Cristiano Ronaldo (437 in 540). Battle. pic.twitter.com/konZO1J8Pr— OptaJose (@OptaJose) March 7, 2020
1,002 - Quique Setien joined Barca with a reputation for his obsession for possession. So, it's perhaps unsurprising that in his LaLiga debut with the club, he became only the third coach since records began in 2005-06 to oversee a team that attempted over 1,000 passes in a single match. Against Granada, Barca tried 1,002.
3 - Ansu Fati became the third-youngest goal-scorer in LaLiga history (16 years, 304 days) when he scored against Osasuna in August. Only Fabrice Olinga (16 years, 98 days) and Iker Muniain (16 years, 289 days) were younger when they opened their respective accounts.
Published 18 Mar 2020, 18:26 IST
3 - Ansu Faty (16 years and 304 days) has become the third youngest player to score in LaLIga history, after Fabrice Olinga (16y & 98d) and Iker Muniain (16y & 289d). Future. pic.twitter.com/TdtV22nDCp— OptaJose (@OptaJose) August 31, 2019