Lionel Messi’s PSG revival in numbers

Speaking during the last international break, Lionel Messi (35) said that he was feeling “more comfortable” at PSG this season, and the numbers back that up. 

Despite registering 15 assists, which put him top of the Ligue 1 assists charts, in the 2021/22 season, it was widely accepted that Messi didn’t reach his usual lofty heights. This season, he has already registered 7 Ligue 1 assists in just 10 league matches. 

It is in other metrics of performance that Messi’s revival is most pronounced. Last season, he only managed six Ligue 1 goals, and this term he has already reached five with just a fraction of the season played. In many areas, he is registering Europe-best figures. 

In Europe’s top five divisions, he is top in passes into the area (55), through balls (8), progressive passes (119), shot-creating actions (66), shots on target (25), and total shots (49). 

Last year, as I’ve already said, I was going through a difficult period. I never found myself. Now it’s different. I feel good; I feel different from last year. I knew it was going to be like this. I’m more comfortable with the club, the dressing room, my teammates and the game. I feel very good, so I’m starting to enjoy myself again,” said Messi after Argentina’s 3-0 win against Honduras in September.

Whilst acclimatisation is a factor in Messi’s return, so is the system change instilled by new Paris Saint-Germain manager Christophe Galtier. Deploying his side in a 3-4-3, Messi is naturally playing closer to Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, facilitating the types of tight interchanges off which Messi thrives. Should he continue on his current trajectory, he looks set to obliterate his figures for last season in what could potentially be his last season with the Parisian club. Talks over a renewal are on hold until after the World Cup, which begins in late November. 

Luke Entwistle

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