Here is a very quick inforgraph of Lionel Messi and his La Liga goals for Barcelona, up to the end of the 2016/17 season the Argentine has scored 349 goals in 382 games. That is an average of 0.91 goals per game, an astonishing average I am sure you will agree.
But are we witnessing the peak of Messi’s powers for Barcelona, the trend in the graph would seem to say so as it is now curving back around after hitting the heights back in 2011/12. That season saw him score a phenomenal 50 goals in La Liga alone.
To prove it was not a one season phenomenon he scored 46 the season after, that is 96 goals in just two seasons. What is even more outstanding is that it only took him 69 games in which to score that abundance of goals for the Catalan giants.
Since then the goals have been something of a yo-yo effect in the past four seasons, with notable peaks and troughs. By his own standards 28 goals in 2013/14 and 26 goals in 2015/16 are what I guess you would consider “poor seasons” but for anyone else bar perhaps Cristiano Ronaldo they are goal tallies that are not to be sniffed at.
If we look at his appearances, goals and goals averages since the start of his Barcelona career
You will see that in three seasons he has scored more goals in which he played games, to do that once is something to be heralded but to do that on three seperate occasions is nothing short of outstanding. If we take 0.91 goals as the average of his career, you can see that in six separate seasons he has recorded a final season average higher than his career one.
Also if we take his goalscoring record solely from the 2008/09 season he has scored 328 goals in 332 matches, that is an average of 0.99 goals per game. If we bring it in a season closer to when Cristiano Ronaldo joined Real Madrid the average then becomes 1.08 goals per game.
The argument that can be made here is whether or not these two really do spur on to heights that arguably will never be reached, when you look at the goals that both Messi and Ronaldo have scored since both competing in La Liga then you would have to say that is the case.
How long Messi can keep up the scoring ratio of this magnitude remains to be seen, for example to continue at the 0.91 average this season he is going to have to score 31 goals from 34 La Liga appearances. Considering he scored 37 last time around that looks more than possible.
I don’t think the Argentine’s powers are waning just yet, I think it’s a case of those two absolutely ludicrous goal hauls have enhanced his already impressive stats, it will be interesting to see what he can do this time around as to whether he can get anywhere near 30 or so goals.
That is a breakdown of Lionel Messi’s La Liga goals, I hope you enjoyed reading it
I hoped you enjoyed reading this and if you have any football data work available then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org as I am always looking to undertake additional projects to the ones I already have. Thanks, Dan.