Compilation Of Lionel Messi's 'Pre-Assists' This Season Dispels Myth His Levels Have Dropped
Lionel Messi has 18 goals and five assists in 22 appearances in La Liga this term but his contributions go beyond statistics.
A compilation of Messi's "pre-assists" this season shows that despite there being a narrative of his levels dropping, he is still very much running the show in a pretty poor Barcelona side.
"Pre-assists" don't go towards a player's goal involvement tally but Messi is the absolute master of the pass before the assist.
And this season has been no different. Some of the passes the Blaugrana captain has played in the build-up to goals has been nothing short of sublime.
The 33-year-old is at the heart of any attack Barca construct and it's Messi who provides the penetration through a a slaloming dribble or defence-splitting passes.
Every "pre-assist" by Lionel Messi this season.pic.twitter.com/J2tXRLk4sD- ° (@tiniademaj10) February 26, 2021
As the clips show, the purring playmaker loves that gloriously disguised pass to find the rampaging Jordi Alba down the left flank.
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The vision to see the pass is one thing, and there's the execution to find the Spaniard's run and put him in a dangerous position.
Messi had a wonderful understanding with the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta but his telepathy with Alba is on the same level.
After a number of years as colleagues, the link between the pair is so natural that he knows when a no-look pass is coming in his direction.
"Jordi Alba knows me to perfection," Messi told Catalunya Radio, via the Barca website.
"He knows when I will give him a no-look pass. I have a special connection with him."
Another stunning passage of play from Messi this season came in a 5-2 win against Real Betis. Not fit enough to start the game, Messi came off the bench at half-time with the scores 1-1.
Within four minutes, he made an instant impact by producing an outrageous dummy from an Alba cross, allowing Antoine Griezmann to tap into an empty net.
Most players would have tried to take the opportunity on themselves but Messi thinks differently. It didn't go down as an assist as far as statistics are concerned but it highlighted the genius of Barcelona's all-time top scorer.
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