Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona due to “economic and structural obstacles,” the club said in a shocking announcement Thursday.
Messi was supposed to agree on a new deal with Barca after becoming a free agent at the end of last season.
But the club’s dire financial situation meant they couldn’t bring their greatest player ever back under La Liga wage restrictions.
Messi’s next move is far from clear, but the sensational development ends a brilliant career at Camp Nou.
Using Opta data, Stats Perform examines some of the attacker’s incredible feats with the Blaugrana.
Messi played 778 games for Barcelona in all competitions, scoring 672 goals And providing 265 assists through those games. This is equivalent to 937 goal involvements during his career in Barça, which began at the age of 17.
The club’s first appearance with Barcelona came under Frank Rijkaard against Espanyol in October 2004, while his first goal came seven months later against Albacete at Camp Nou on an assist from Ronaldinho.
The great Brazilian Ronaldinho was the last Barcelona player to wear the famous number 10 before Messi took that shirt in 2008 and made it his own.
But Ronaldinho doesn’t figure among Messi’s best goal assists, a list he is led by Luis Suarez (47). Dani Alves assists at 42 of the striker’s goals and the third is Andres Iniesta with 37, six more than the legendary midfielder Xavi.
Messi played under eight different coaches during his time with Barcelona. Of those, him featured more often (219 appearances) e scored more goals (211) during the tenure of Pep Guardiola.
however, the 60 goals scored by Messi in 50 games under the late Tito Vilanova – an average of 1.20 goals per game – it was his best goal return per game with only one manager.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Messi’s lowest average goal-to-play ratio was during the Rijkaard era early in his career (0.38), followed by 0.63 managed under Quique Setien between January and August 2020.
Messi’s most prolific season as a Barcelona player was in 2011-12 when scoring a remarkable 73 goals in all competitions e providing another 28 assists, setting a personal best in both categories.
Indeed, the attacker 79 goals scored for his club in calendar year 2012, which is a record amount for a single player. His second most prolific year was 2010 upon registration 58 times.
In more recent years, Messi has scored 51 goals in 2016, 50 goals in 2017, 47 goals in 2018, 45 goals in 2019 and 26 goals in 2020 – a steady decline he had already rectified this year, having scored 28 times in the first half of 2021.
He is the only player to have scored 10 or more goals in LaLiga in 15 consecutive seasons.
Messi’s 672 goals for Barcelona were he scored against 82 different teams. Sevilla were his favorite opponent, finding the net against them 38 times in 43 appearances.
Atletico Madrid were next on that particular list, with Messi scoring 32 goals in that match, followed by Valencia (31), Athletic Bilbao (29) and bitter rivals Real Madrid (26), making him the all-time top scorer in El Clasico.
As for the individual goalkeepers, Diego Alves was Messi’s biggest victim, the former Almeria and Valencia after conceding 21 goals against the Argentine superstar.
Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas is tied for third with 17 goals conceded, one less than 18 against Gorka Iraizoz.
Messi is obviously synonymous with Camp Nou, a field where he scored 394 goals in 381 games with an average of 1.03 per game. Madrid fans will be particularly fed up with him as he did scored 15 times in 22 games at the Santiago Bernabeu – his second favorite place.
Vicente Calderon, former home of Atletico Madrid (14 goals in 20 appearances). Riazor Stadium of Deportivo La Coruna (13 out of eight) and Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan of Sevilla (13 in 18) complete the top five.
At the other end of the spectrum, Messi has played multiple times at Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena (three) without scoring than any other stadium for Barcelona. He is also without a goal in two away matches at the English stadiums of Anfield and Old Trafford.
Other important records and successes of Messi
– Messi is La Liga’s all-time top scorer with 474 goals and is the second-best scorer ever in the top five European leagues behind Cristiano Ronaldo (476).
– He scored in 21 consecutive La Liga games between November 2012 and May 2013, a record for a player in the history of the competition.
– Newell’s Old Boys product is one of only two players to reach 100 goals in Champions League history (120), alongside Cristiano Ronaldo (134).
– Messi was the first player to score five goals in a Champions League match, against Bayer Leverkusen in March 2012 at the Camp Nou.
– The Argentine striker is one of six players to score more than 50 goals in Copa del Rey history and the only one to score in six different tournament finals (Telmo Zarra scored in five).