Lionel Messi just continues to defy all footballing odds. The Barcelona captain is once again producing mind-boggling numbers as he is steadily returning to his best, most dangerous self. And according to a new statistic from Opta, he is now outperforming even himself, which is no ordinary feat for any footballer. Not even Leo.
The stat highlights that with his eight goal tally in La Liga since the turn of the new year, he has exceeded his Expected Goals (xG) by a massive amount. With an xG of 1.87 in 2021, the Argentine has smashed the bar by 6.13. Prior to January, he had seven goals in the league, which was 3.37 than the 10.37 xG. It goes to show how rapidly he has gotten back to his goalscoring best.
After his superb brace against Alaves, Messi increased his tally to 19 goals across all competitions. Despite being a little sluggish out the blocks, he has still racked up laurels to his name. The mercurial Argentine surpassed Pele’s record for most goals scored for a single club back in December. Following this, he was also named the greatest footballer ever by the NFl, the greatest Argentine athlete of the decade and the Player of the Decade by the IFFHS.
There was no denying that Messi had a slow start to the season by his standards. The 33-year-old, following his penalty against Villarreal in the La Liga opener, did not score a league goal in the next five matches either. He did not score a goal from open play until well after a month into the season.
It was obvious that there would be a dip in motivation and form after the events that transpired at the end of last season. However, Barcelona fans were naturally concerned about Messi’s lack of clinicality in front of goal. The Argentine however, has looked a man reborn since January and has reclaimed his rightful position atop the La Liga scoring charts.
It just goes to show once again, that Lionel Messi’s magic on the pitch can never be bound to numbers. And no matter how slow the start, he will always surpass the competition.