With his assist in the victory against Deportivo Alavés, Lionel Messi managed to break Xavi Hernández’s record to become the player with most assists in a single La Liga course.
On Sunday, with the end of La Liga, Lionel Messi managed to add another achievement to his record list. With his assist in the victory against Deportivo Alavés, Messi broke Xavi Hernández‘s record as the player with the most assists in a single La Liga campaign in the history of the competition. Xavi’s highest figure was in the 2008/09 course, where he recorded 20 assists, but with his pass to Ansu Fati’s opener at Mendizorroza Leo overcame his former teammate for his 21st assist this term.
The Argentinian could also equal, but not beat, the record for the European leagues held by Bayern Munich’s Thomas Müller. Both have registered 21 assists this season, the most in history in Europe. By sharing the crown with the German international, Messi achieved, once again, a historical milestone in international football.
Top 5 list of players with mosts assists in a single league season in Europe
1. Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona | 21 assists in 33 matches | 2019/20 season
2. Thomas Müller, Bayern Munich | 21 assists in 33 matches | 2019/20 season
3. Kevin De Bruyne, Wolfsburg | 20 assists in 34 matches | 2014/15 season
4. Xavi Hernández, FC Barcelona | 20 assists in 35 matches | 2008/09 season
5. Thierry Henry, Arsenal | 20 assists in 37 matches | 2002/03 season
Despite having won the Pichichi trophy for a record 7th time, this has not the best year for Lionel Messi in terms of goalscoring stats. That said, he has known how to improve and evolve by increasing his assisting figures and generating clear cut chances for his teammates. If he does not score, he allows others to score the goals. Leo could not finish this disappointing campaign for Barça without taking something positive from it.
Even if many consider this an average year for Lionel Messi, he has improved Thierry Henry’s record-breaking 2002/03 season | Photo by Jamie McDonald via Getty Images
It should be noted that with his assist and brace against Alavés, Lionel Messi also surpassed the record from Arsenal’s former Thierry Henry for the most goals contribution of players with 20+ goals and 20+ assists. Henry completed 20 assists and 24 goals in the 2002/03 Premier League season. Now not only did Leo join Thierry’s 20 / 20 club last week against Real Valladolid, but versus Alavés he also placed himself ahead of the Frenchman with a total of 21 assists and 25 goals.
The truth is that throughout the season Messi has displayed his most creative version ever. He has matured in using his vision to look for teammates, and on many occasions he has preferred to pass the ball before shooting, knowing what the best for the team is. If the number 10 manages to maintain this level in terms of assists and perfect his effectiveness in his shots, fans could be witnesses of the most complete Lionel Messi ever seen.
Koeman has ruled out the departure of Junior Firpo
According to a report published by SPORT, Ronald Koeman has ruled out any and all departures from the squad in the winter transfer window – barring Matheus Fernandes -, including that of Junior Firpo to AC Milan.
The report states that Barcelona are in a sketchy position and do not want to sell any players because signing replacements is getting increasingly tough. The signing of Eric Garcia remains scheduled for the summer when he will be signed on a free transfer, while Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum seem extremely unlikely.
Firpo was linked out of Barcelona, with both Italian capital clubs – Inter Milan and AC Milan tracking his progress in Spain. A loan move to Milan with a €20 million option to buy was looking extremely realistic. Still, without reinforcements in that position, Barcelona should not be letting the Spaniard leave in the winter.
The truth is, while Barcelona are in crippling debt, and desperately require players off their wage bill, selling low-earners like Firpo seemed like a bad idea. The plan was to let go of the former-Real Betis defender and hand Alejandro Balde his debut. However, at the age of 16, that is too much pressure to knight to a player.
That said, the club is still willing to listen to offers for Matheus Fernandes, who has been deemed surplus. The Brazilian joined from Palmeiras in what was termed yet another shady deal by the long-gone Josep Bartomeu. He has registered no more than 17 minutes this season, coming on against Dynamo Kyiv in the UEFA Champions League.
Matheus was not even given the chance to play against UE Cornella in the Copa del Rey and has spent 11 games on the bench this season following his lucky 17 minutes in the UCL. Deportivo Alaves are eyeing a loan move for the 22-year-old owing to their budget limitations, and Barcelona will be hoping to make this transfer a reality soon.