After 98 days away from La Liga action, Barcelona returned to winning ways in Spain on Saturday night and once again it was largely due to the brilliance of Lionel Messi.
The Argentine grabbed two assists and a late goal in a blistering performance as Barça came away from the Iberostar Stadium as 4-0 winners.
Messi’s injury time strike added to goals from Arturo Vidal, Martin Braithwate and Jordi Alba as Barcelona extended their lead at the top of La Liga to 4 points, with Real Madrid due to face Eibar later this evening.
With his goal, Messi became the first player ever to score 20+ league goals for 12 consecutive seasons in Spain. Another record to add to an illustrious career of what many consider to be the greatest player of all-time.
The assist puts him on 14 league assists for the season too, which means if Messi can supply 6 more goals for his team-mates in the remaining 10 La Liga fixutres he will join a very exclusive club.
Since Opta began recording stats, only Thierry Henry has ever managed to achieve the coveted 20/20 season for goals and assists in a single league campaign across Europe’s Top 5 Leagues. The Frenchman, who was teammates with Messi during his time at Barcelona, notched 24 league goals and 20 assists for Arsenal during the 2002/03 campaign.
The assist record still stands today in the Premier League, something Kevin De Bruyne is chasing this year but the double is something many will be surprised to learn that Messi hasn’t accomplished yet.
The closest he has come so far was back in 2014/15 as part of the ‘MSN’ trio where he got 19 assists to go with his 43(!) league goals. While 6 assists in 10 games is not out of the question for the greatest playmaker to grace a football pitch, it’s unlikely he’ll feature in every fixture. La Liga are cramming 110 games into 39 days, meaning Barcelona will play 11 games in just 5-and-a-half weeks.
Messi had been struggling with a thigh injury prior to yesterday’s game so despite the 90 minutes fulfilled, Mallorca’s manager said he think’s it’s “impossible” that anyone can play every game.
If anyone can not play in every fixture and still get 6 more assists, it’s probably Lionel Messi.