It has been a year of two halves for Barcelona legend Lionel Messi.
The Argentinian has had an excellent 2019-20 campaign at the individual level, scoring 31 goals and registering 27 assists. Fifty-eight goal contributions in just 44 games have been a remarkable comeback from the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
However, Messi remained depressed after Barca’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League in August. Soon after, there was shocking news that the striker wanted to leave Camp Nou.
The 33-year-old had made his decision. He thought it was in everyone’s best interest to move on. Manchester City were waiting behind the scenes, set to take them to the Premier League.
However, when it became clear that Messi would need to sue Barca to force his exit, a move away from Camp Nou failed.
By all accounts, Messi remains determined to leave Barcelona when his contract expires this summer.
The South American will be free to discuss conditions with foreign clubs from January 1 and Paris Saint-Germain will be leading the queue for his signing, with Man City also being a potential destination.
Although Messi insisted in an interview at the start of the season that he will give anything for Barca, he has not been at his best world level in recent months.
In 18 appearances, Messi has scored 10 goals and put in five more for his teammates. Decent stats for most footballers, but we’re used to a lot better from the player who many football fans consider to be the best ever.
Barcelona Currently sits in sixth place in La Liga, nine points behind Atletico Madrid, and a title challenge seems unlikely unless Messi suddenly shifts into high gear.
As we come to the end of 2020, Madrid store Marca has ranked the 100 best players of the year.
But they have Messi all the way down to 10th place, despite his performances in the first half of the year.
“There is not much more to say about Messi,” Marca to write. “He won Pichichi’s top scorer award in LaLiga Santander, in addition to recording the most assists (21).
“But it was his activity off the pitch that made most of the headlines in 2020, especially his explosive Burofax and his interview affirming his wish to leave Barcelona.”
That might be true, but 10th place still seems pretty tough.
It is Marca 50 first …
50. Jesus Navas | Seville
49. Georgino Wijnaldum | Liverpool
48. Rodri | Manchester city
47. Lautaro Martinez | Inter Milan
46. Frenkie De Jong | Barcelona
45. Andy Robertson | Liverpool
44. Ansu Fati | Barcelona
43. Fede Valverde | real Madrid
42. Jan Oblak | Atletico Madrid
41. Marquinhos | PSG
40. Alisson | Liverpool
39. Ederson | Manchester city
38. Marcus Rashford | Manchester United
37. Jules Koundé | Seville
36. Roberto Firmino | Liverpool
35. Leon Goretzka | Bayern Munich
34. David Alaba | Bayern Munich
33. Joao Felix | Atletico Madrid
32. Angel Di Maria | Paris Saint Germain
31. Romelu Lukaku | Inter Milan
30. Bruno Fernandes | Manchester United
29. Thibaut Courtois | real Madrid
28. Timo Werner | Chelsea
27. Raheem Sterling | Manchester city
26. Zlatan Ibrahimovic | AC Milan
25. Serge Gnabry | Bayern Munich
24. Luka Modric | real Madrid
23. Son Heung-min | Tottenham
22. Harry Kane | Tottenham
21. Mohamed Salah | Liverpool
20. Toni Kroos | real Madrid
19. Sadio Mane | Liverpool
18. Marc-André ter Stegen | Barcelona
17. Thiago Alcantara | Liverpool
16. Alphonso Davies | Bayern Munich
15. Virgil van Dijk | Liverpool
14. Ciro Immobile | Lazio
13. Kevin De Bruyne | Manchester city
12. Trent Alexander-Arnold | Liverpool
11. Thomas Muller | Bayern Munich
10. Lionel Messi | Barcelona
9. Erling Haaland | Borussia Dortmund
8. Manuel Neuer | Bayern Munich
7. Karim Benzema | real Madrid
6. Neymar | Paris Saint Germain
5. Cristiano Ronaldo | Juventus
4. Sergio Ramos | real Madrid
3. Kylian Mbappe | Paris Saint Germain
2. Joshua Kimmich | Bayern Munich
1. Robert Lewandowski | Bayern Munich
An interesting top 10, for sure.
Cristiano Ronaldo won’t be flattered to see his name drop to fifth place, while Joshua Kimmich in second is a bold cry.
There is no doubt, however, that Robert Lewandowski was the best player of the year 2020. Fifty-five goals and 10 assists in 47 competitive appearances is a phenomenal comeback from the Polish striker from Bayern Munich.
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