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Ranking Lionel Messi's top 5 teammates

  • Lionel Messi has lined up alongside some exceptional talents in his highly successful career.
  • Lionel Messi formed excellent relationships with his most gifted teammates, and the results were spectacular.
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Feature
Modified 22 May 2020, 22:01 IST

FC Barcelona v Betis - Copa del Rey
FC Barcelona v Betis - Copa del Rey

Given that Lionel Messi is the best football player in the world and arguably in history, it is fairly obvious that Barcelona's talismanic captain has played alongside some of the best players of the 21st century.

Barcelona has experienced abundant success over the past decade, and much of their silverware rests on the shoulders of Lionel Messi and his talented teammates.

Who are Lionel Messi's most talented teammates?

From World Cup winners to samba magicians, Lionel Messi has created on-pitch relationships with several visionaries of the game. Here is a list of the five best teammates Lionel Messi ever shared the pitch with.

Honourable mentions: Neymar, Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, David Villa, Deco


5. Dani Alves

Dani Alves was Lionel Messi
Dani Alves was Lionel Messi's comrade on the pitch

Come hell or high water, Dani Alves would always pick Lionel Messi out on the pitch. Their telepathy was always magical, but on occasion, it was mind-boggling.

Dani Alves joined Barcelona in 2008 and went on to become one of the club's most successful signings under Pep Guardiola. The Brazilian instantly hit it off with a young Lionel Messi who was playing on Barcelona's right flank at the time.

Dani Alves won three Champions League trophies at Barcelona and was the provider for Lionel Messi's goals on an astonishing 42 occasions.

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4. Ronaldinho

Ronaldinho took a young Lionel Messi under his wing
Ronaldinho took a young Lionel Messi under his wing

Arguably the single greatest influence on Lionel Messi's career, Ronaldinho was a force of nature at his best. Much like Lionel Messi today, the Brazilian could take out entire defences with a simple flick of his foot.

Ronaldinho stayed at Barcelona till 2008 and was Lionel Messi's mentor at the club. The Brazilian constantly looked to the Argentine genius on the pitch, and the South American duo forged a relationship that has endured to this day.

Ronaldinho set Lionel Messi up for his first goal in a Barcelona shirt, and La Pulga hasn't looked back since. The Brazilian magician is also one of the only Barcelona players in history to receive a standing ovation from Real Madrid's fans at the Santiago Bernabeu.


3. Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez is Lionel Messi
Luis Suarez is Lionel Messi's go-to striker on the pitch

Luis Suarez is clearly Lionel Messi's favourite footballer at FC Barcelona. In addition to Messi's friendship, the Uruguayan also enjoys his trust on the football pitch. The two South Americans regularly find each other in the final third, and the result is often devastating for the opposition.

Suarez was an instant hit in Barcelona and won the Champions League trophy in his first season at the club. The former Liverpool striker formed a lethal combination with Lionel Messi and Neymar under Luis Enrique. The trio scored an astonishing total of 122 goals in the 2014-15 season.

The charismatic striker scored 40 goals in the following La Liga season and became the first player other than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to claim the Pichichi trophy since 2009.


2. Xavi

Xavi and Messi often terrorised goalkeepers with their exceptional dead-ball skills
Xavi and Messi often terrorised goalkeepers with their exceptional dead-ball skills

In today's Barcelona, set-piece responsibilities almost always rest with the left-footed Lionel Messi. Rewind to a few years ago, and Messi would often be seen sharing the burden with his right-footed counterpart Xavi Hernandez.

Xavi was a wizard in the middle of the pitch. The Spanish midfielder played the puppeteer on the football field and was solely responsible for creating several opportunities for Barcelona's strikers and attacking midfielders.

The Barcelona legend could read Messi's movements like an open book and possessed the ability to render entire sections of the pitch redundant with a mere turn. Xavi was arguably the most intelligent player Lionel Messi has ever played with.


1. Andres Iniesta

Barcelona v Sevilla - Spanish Copa del Rey Final
Barcelona v Sevilla - Spanish Copa del Rey Final

Andres Iniesta will probably remain the best player Lionel Messi ever plays with. 'El Illusionista' as he is popularly known, Iniesta was the only player on the pitch who could match Lionel Messi dribble for dribble.

Iniesta was Barcelona's primary creative force in midfield, and his telepathic relationships with both Xavi and Lionel Messi created a synergy that hasn't been experienced at Barcelona since his departure. Iniesta spoke with his feet, and while several defenders fell for his fluent imagery, they seldom noticed that he had played them off the park.

Andres Iniesta was loved universally for his attitude and his approach to the sport. The Spanish magician's spellbinding feet hypnotized viewers and defenders alike and often resulted in some special goals.

Iniesta's bade Barcelona a tearful farewell in 2018 and left the club with 4 UEFA Champions League trophies and an astonishing 9 La Liga titles. In addition to being one of Lionel Messi's most successful teammates, Andres Iniesta was also the most magical.


Published 22 May 2020, 22:01 IST
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