- Lionel Messi nominated for The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2019
- Won La Liga, helped side to UEFA Champions League semi-final and Copa del Rey final
- Added three new goalscoring records to an already extensive list of individual achievements
Despite the passage of time, Lionel Messi’s powers show no sign of diminishing, and it comes as no surprise to anyone to see him among the finalists for The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2019 award.
It has been a 12 months in which the Argentinian has added three new goalscoring records to an already extensive list of individual achievements.
On 22 May, Barcelona drew 2-2 with Eibar to clinch the Spanish league title. Messi scored both goals to take his tally for the season to 36, more than enough for him to become La Liga’s highest scorer for the sixth time in his career and for the third time in a row.
That achievement puts him level with legendary Spanish forward Telmo Zarra and ahead of other icons such as Alfredo Di Stefano and Hugo Sanchez, who were both pichichis (as the Spanish league’s leading scorer is known) on five occasions.
Messi, who averaged 1.06 goals per game (36 in 34), ended the season 15 goals clear of his closest pursuers: team-mate Luis Suarez and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema.
His catalogue of goals included an exquisite chip away to Real Betis in March, which earned him an ovation from the home fans and a place among the finalists for the 2019 FIFA Puskás Award. Messi also served up 15 assists over the course of the Liga season, more than anyone else.
Continental goal king
Messi capped another stellar campaign by winning the sixth European Golden Shoe of his career, two more than his closest challenger Cristiano Ronaldo.
His 36 Liga goals left him three ahead of French superstar Kylian Mbappe and ten clear of Italian striker Fabio Quagliarella. It was the third time in a row that Messi had topped the European scoring charts, another record.
The leading scorer in the Champions League
Though his side went out to Liverpool in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League, Messi ended the competition as its top goalscorer for the first time since the 2011/12 season.
The Barça No10, who shared the tournament’s goalscoring honours with Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo in 2014/15, struck 12 goals in ten games, an average of 1.2 per match.
Six of those goals came in the knockout rounds:
- Two against Lyon in the Round of 16
- Two against Manchester United in the quarter-finals
- Two against Liverpool in the semi-finals