Lionel Messi

Spread the love

In the realm of soccer, where legends are born and myths are created, stands a name that echoes through the ages: Lionel Messi. The Argentine maestro, a harbinger of awe and inspiration, has etched his name in the annals of the sport. With a career filled with unparalleled achievements, Messi now sets his sights on a new frontier: Major League Soccer (MLS), as he dons the Inter Miami jersey. As we embark on this majestic journey, let us delve into the depths of Messi’s potential impact in the MLS, exploring the numbers, projections, and the sheer magic that awaits.

Throughout his illustrious career, Messi has redefined the boundaries of what is possible on the soccer field. Since the 2008-09 season, he has consistently ranked among the top performers in Europe’s most challenging leagues. A staggering 14 out of 15 consecutive seasons, Messi has soared into the top five, even claiming the coveted top spot on numerous occasions. His dominance knows no bounds.

While MLS may not boast the same level of competition as Europe’s elite leagues, Messi has always defied expectations. Even at the age of 34, he bounced back with a remarkable performance at Paris Saint-Germain, notching 16 goals and 16 assists in Ligue 1. He also guided Argentina to triumph in the World Cup. With these recent achievements in mind, one can’t help but wonder what marvels Messi has in store for the MLS.

Now, let us turn our attention to Messi’s best seasons, for even amidst his perpetual greatness, certain campaigns shine brighter than the rest. The pinnacle of his brilliance arrived during his age-24 campaign in 2011-12, the so-called “prime years” for most players. Messi left the world spellbound as he netted an astonishing 50 goals and provided 16 assists. This extraordinary feat remains unmatched in any of Europe’s premier leagues.

But the brilliance did not end there. The following season witnessed an even more sensational Messi. Despite playing 600 fewer minutes in LaLiga, he surpassed his previous goal tally, reaching an astounding 42 non-penalty goals. Accompanied by 11 assists, his non-penalty attacking production per 90 minutes soared to an astonishing 1.8. To put this in perspective, only a select few players achieve a score of 1.0 or higher per season. Even Erling Haaland’s record-breaking 36-goal debut season in the Premier League pales in comparison to Messi’s peak goal-scoring prowess. In 2012-13, Messi was involved in scoring or assisting more than an additional goal every two games.

As we transition our focus to the MLS, let us explore the realm of records. Carlos Vela’s 34-goal season with Los Angeles FC in 2019 stands as the current benchmark. Remarkably, Messi has surpassed that number an impressive five times throughout his career. In MLS history, only two other players have breached the 30-goal mark in a single season, while Messi achieved this feat an astounding nine times for Barcelona.

When it comes to assists, the longstanding record of 26, set by Carlos Valderrama of the Tampa Bay Mutiny in 2000, still stands. While Messi has never reached that level of assists in a single season, it is crucial to note that his goal-scoring prowess often overshadows his playmaking abilities. In the 2020-21 season, Messi, along with Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City and Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid, led Europe with 16 assists. Valderrama, on the other hand, scored a mere 16 goals over his nine-season MLS career, while Messi has scored fewer than 16 goals in a single season only once since 2008.

Now, let us unveil the grand spectacle that awaits as Messi graces the MLS stage. To paint a vivid picture, let us consider Carlos Vela as our reference point. Before joining MLS, Vela played for Real Sociedad in La Liga, where he netted nine goals and provided two assists, averaging 0.39 goals plus assists per 90 minutes. In his inaugural MLS season, that number skyrocketed to 0.87 goals plus assists per 90 minutes. If we project Messi’s recent performance with PSG and apply the same rate of improvement, we arrive at a breathtaking 2.24 goals plus assists per 90 minutes.

Considering Messi’s typical playing time of approximately 83% of available minutes in a full MLS season of 34 games, we can anticipate him delivering around 63 goals and assists. To put this staggering figure into perspective, the current combined goals and assists record in MLS stands at 60.

While these projections provide a glimpse into the realm of possibilities, it is important to acknowledge that they represent a simplified approach and do not account for variables such as injuries, performance fluctuations, or the team dynamics at Inter Miami, which currently finds itself in the last place. However, history has shown time and again that Messi possesses a remarkable ability to surpass expectations.

For a more nuanced analysis, we turn to esteemed analyst Tony El Habr, who has extensively examined player production across various leagues. His findings indicate that when forwards or attacking midfielders aged 30 or older transition from Ligue 1 to MLS, their production tends to increase by approximately 25% based on underlying performance metrics. By considering expected goals and assists as predictive baselines, we gain valuable insights into how these players perform.

In Messi’s case, his consistent ability to outperform his expected numbers throughout his illustrious career provides further confidence in his shot creation and goal-scoring prowess. While recent seasons have seen him slightly exceed his expected goals and assists, his overall performance remains exceptional. By adopting a conservative approach and relying on last season’s numbers (1.02 goals plus assists per 90 minutes), we can project a 25% increase, bringing his rate to 1.28 goals plus assists per 90 minutes. With a typical playing time of 83% in a full MLS season, this projection yields approximately 36 goals plus assists.

Although this falls short of the lofty 106-goal-and-assist prediction, it still positions Messi among the elite goal producers in MLS history. Notably, only three players have achieved this level of production in the past five full MLS seasons. However, it is important to note that these projections lean towards the conservative side, considering Messi’s extraordinary talent and capabilities.

As Lionel Messi embarks on his MLS odyssey with Inter Miami, fans and pundits alike brace themselves for an era of soccer unlike any other. Beyond the numbers, Messi’s true power lies in the intangibles—the grace, artistry, and mesmerizing presence he brings to the field. From visionary passes to breathtaking dribbles, he possesses the ability to transcend the game itself, captivating audiences with his sheer brilliance.

Get ready, for Lionel Messi is about to revolutionize the MLS landscape, leaving a trail of breathtaking moments and indelible memories in his wake. As we embark on this majestic journey, let us witness the unfolding of a legend in a new land—a chapter destined to be etched in the annals of soccer history. For when was the last time Lionel Messi failed to exceed our wildest dreams?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *