Messi has scored over 800 goals for club and country throughout his career, including a quite ridiculous tally of 672 for Barcelona. And only top players with most assists for Lionel Messi goals are just cream of the crop.
It’s fair to say that the Argentinian is talented enough to have scored hatfuls whether he was turning out for Doncaster Rovers or Dog & Duck FC, but with a career spent at the very top, he’s been blessed to have some world-class team-mates.
But which has he linked up best with? We’ve taken a look at the five players to have assisted the most Messi goals (with thanks to OPTA’s The Analyst for the numbers). Jordi Alba (23 assists for Messi), Neymar (23), Ivan Rakitic (19) and Sergio Busquets (16) are those that just miss out on cracking the top five.
5. Pedro – 25
Having come through Pep Guardiola’s promotion-winning Barca B side, Pedro began to be integrated into the first team when his coach was given a promotion to the top job in 2008.
He was only a peripheral figure in the treble-winning 2008-09 campaign, with 14 appearances and no goals in all competitions, but by 2010-11 he was a regular starter in arguably the best side in Barcelona history, having formed an irresistible front three with Messi and David Villa.
Over the course of their nine seasons together, Pedro assisted 25 of Messi’s goals. Messi returned the favour by assisting 29 of Pedro’s 99 Barcelona goals.
4. Xavi – 31
Given that Xavi clocked up 27,775 minutes on the pitch at the same time as Messi, it’s actually somewhat surprising the era-defining midfielder didn’t notch more assists for Barcelona’s No.10.
But Xavi’s game was always more about controlling the tempo than providing the killer final ball. Still, he could certainly pull that out of his locker when necessary, as this ball in for one of Messi’s best and most iconic goals in the 2009 Champions League final shows.
3. Andres Iniesta – 37
Of Messi’s 778 appearances for Barcelona, 489 were alongside Iniesta. Only Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique have played more games in the same team as the club’s record goalscorer. It was always clear as day that the two of them loved lining up in the same team.
“Andres and I are similar in that we both use our bodies a lot, to avoid opponents. But he has something that always amazes me,” Messi said.
“There’s always a moment when you think you’re going to catch him, when you think you’re going to get the ball off him, but you can’t. He’s not especially quick, but he has that ability to always get away from you, which comes from his technique.”
2. Dani Alves – 42
Dani Alves was one of Guardiola’s first signings in the summer of 2008, and the Brazilian right-back’s telepathy with Messi instantly became one of Barcelona’s deadliest weapons.
“It was very strange because from the time I arrived at Barcelona, from the first day, we had this very, very, very, very weird connection – I mean that in a positive way,” Alves in a Sky Sports interview back in 2018.
“I remember the first game we played together as if it was today. We were doing one-twos all the time, we understood each other with no more than a little look. We knew exactly where the other one was.” Most assists for Lionel Messi goals list is being made and not including Alves a crime.
1. Luis Suarez – 47
During Suarez and Messi’s six years together at Camp Nou, Barcelona were a devastating attacking force. They won four league titles and four Copa del Rey, as well as a treble-completing Champions League in Suarez’s debut 2014-15 campaign.
The trident with Neymar was just breathtaking in its sheer brutality, with the three South American attackers all arguably at the peak of their powers and able to get the best out of one another.
Even when the Brazilian left and struggled to be replaced, Messi and Suarez’s partnership – which led to a close friendship off the pitch – yielded great success.
Between 2014 and 2020, Messi scored 280 goals for Barcelona and Suarez scored 198. Suarez assisted 47 of Messi’s goals in that time and Messi assisted 52 of Suarez’s. Unstoppable.