Just like it was being foreseen, Lionel Messi was really considered the best player in the world in 2019 by France Football, after already having received the FIFA award. The Argentinian player presented incredible numbers, although he hasn’t won very significant collective titles…
The coldness of the numbers
Despite Barcelona absolutely catastrophic end to last season, with the elimination from the Champions League against Liverpool – where they wasted a 3-goals advantage they had brought from the 1st leg – and the loss on the final of the Copa del Rey in Spain against Valencia, Lionel Messi seems to have come out of that collective disaster unscathed.
His individual numbers were once again impressive and with Cristiano Ronaldo having a season of transition from La Liga to Italy that reduced his goalscoring ratio, it was the Argentinian superstar having the best numbers of the season.
On the other hand, Lionel Messi also managed to fail with the Argentinian national team in the Copa America, clearly not adapting to the weak quality of the South American pitches and going through the competition practically unnoticed.
A blazing start to the season
After all of these disasters at the end of the 2018/19 season, Lionel Messi was being priced with higher odds on the market to win the Ballon D’Or than Virgil van Dijk, who won the Champions League with Liverpool and reached the final of the UEFA Nations League with the Netherlands.
Cristiano Ronaldo also saw his odds dropping significantly after winning another competition with the Portuguese national team, at the same time he was the top goal scorer of the Final Four of the UEFA Nations League.
However, the start of the 2019/20 season would end up returning the favouritism to Messi, thanks to his excellent performances at Barcelona.
The Albiceleste genius has been carrying his team at a time where the manager himself Ernesto Valverde seems to be totally dependent on what his player can do in order to keep his job for a while longer.
— BandSports (@bandsports) December 3, 2019
A lot might remember that this was a disappointing season for Messi collectively, but others will also remind that he was sublime during several moments and it would be hard to do better than that on a Barcelona side that is somewhat amorphous in crucial moments.
His geniality continues to be very visible in each match and the way he dealt with Atlético de Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano a couple of days before the ceremony of the Ballon D’Or was another clear statement from the Argentinian.
The ghost of the Champions League…
Lionel Messi counts with 4 Champions League’s titles throughout his career. However, he is without winning the most important club title in Europe for 4 years.
After having won several on the glory days of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona, in the company of the geniuses Xavi and Andres Iniesta, Messi has been feeling a little lonely at the Catalan club, who seems unable to find players capable of being the right complement for the Argentinian.
👑 Leo #Messi 🙌
😉 Único jogador da história com 6️⃣ Bolas de Ouro. Parabéns, gênio! 💫
— FC Barcelona (de 🏡) (@fcbarcelona_br) December 2, 2019
Xavi and Iniesta were experts of possession and passing quality and that allowed Messi not to go that far back on the pitch to organize the game of the team, at the same time that also generally meant that he received the ball in excellent conditions on more advanced stages of the pitch.
Now, that doesn’t happen and not even the arrivals of promising midfielders like Arthur Melo or Frenkie de Jong seem to be solving that structural problem of the Blaugrana side.
El Clasico to clear the doubts at the top of the standings
But before the European decisions that are still a bit far, it is time to focus attentions in La Liga where Barcelona and Real Madrid share the lead after 15 rounds. However, both teams have 1 less match played than the rest of the clubs.
It is the famous “El Clasico” that was postponed after the riots that occurred in Catalunya a couple of weeks ago, and the encounter is only scheduled to be played on December 18th, on a match that can be important to understand what is the team in best form in Spain right now.
With still a couple of days to go until that duel, Barcelona are ahead in terms of the odds, being priced at around 1.71 due to the home advantage and due the fact they’re the current champions, while Real Madrid are in a good moment of form and will try to cause an upset in Catalunya, with the odds currently at 3.72 on bookmakers like 1XBet.