Lionel Messi has been Barcelona’s most important player in the Quique Setién era, and it’s not even close. The Argentina has scored or assisted 23 of the 29 goals (not counting own goals) the Catalans have scored in La Liga since the manager took over for Ernesto Valverde. That means 79% of Barcelona’s goals in that time have been either scored or assisted by Messi.

In 17 games, Messi has provided 15 assists and scored 8 goals. Sergi Roberto, Arthur, Arturo Vidal, Luis Suárez, and Ansu Fati (twice) are the only Barcelona players besides Messi to have scored in this time without being assisted by Messi in the process.

Barcelona won their first game under Setién 1-0, with Messi assisting Vidal for the winner. They then lost to Valencia, 2-0. Afterwards, Messi assisted Fati twice in a 2-1 win over Levante, and then got a hat trick of assists in a 3-2 win over Real Betis. Messi scored the opener against Getafe, and then Junior Firpo assisted Roberto in a 2-1 win.

Messi scored the first four goals against Eibar, and then Arthur tapped in a goalkeeper save to make it 5-0. Barcelona then lost to Real Madrid 2-0, and then won 1-0 against Real Sociedad via a Messi penalty. Continue reading

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