How old was messi in 2012 ? The first came in the first game of the season – the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup at Real Madrid – and it was the Lionel Messi we already knew rather well and would come to know even better: an unassisted left-footed finish tucked nicely under Iker Casillas. It was his first of three in the tie, and anyone remarking on him setting an unsustainable scoring pace had as little an idea of what was coming as the rest of us.
The context of Messi’s 2011-12 season was that of a 24-year-old being talked about as an all-time great. He had won the Ballon d’Or for three years running and would win it once more before ceding the next two. Barcelona had the previous season won everything but the Copa del Rey, but some would argue the praise of Sir Alex Ferguson referring to that Barcelona team as the best team he’d ever faced is worth more than another trophy.
The team around Messi was special but not unbeatable. Special in the sense that it made up the most significant parts of the in-progress Spanish dynasty plus Lionel Messi, which sounds unbeatable. But the 2011-12 team wasn’t quite special enough to accomplish all that much in terms of trophies as it had been the previous season. Real Madrid won La Liga. Barca finished on 91 points, nine back from Madrid and 30 ahead of Valencia in third. A second-place team with a +85 goal difference. In the Champions League, Barça went out in the semi-finals to eventual champions Chelsea.
Rather, it was statistically the finest individual season of Messi’s career and the finest individual attacking season data is aware of.
Looking back strictly at the totals, reaching that 70-goal milestone appears to have come with something of a cushion. The reality is Messi entered Barcelona’s second-to-last La Liga match – their third-to-last match of the season – against city neighbours Espanyol on 68 goals. The doubt was gone when he completed his brace in the 64th minute, but it wasn’t completed at all because he added two more in the next 15 minutes. And those four league goals made him the first La Liga player to reach the 50-goal mark in a single season. In retrospect it’s good he did, because Cristiano Ronaldo scored 48 La Liga goals three seasons later.
Even that four-goal game was unremarkable for Messi that season. He scored once in 15 matches and had 22 multi-goal games. He scored twice in 12, scored three goals seven times, four twice and five once.
The five came at Camp Nou in a Champions League knockout match against Bayer Leverkusen, marking the first time a player had scored five goals in a single UEFA Champions League game, and it’s the only time Messi has scored this many in a single performance.
And unsurprisingly for a player who’s never been one for a goal before the fans are in their seats, the 2011-12 goals came later in both halves. The second half brought 39 after 34 in the first, and he more than tripled his scoring output of the first 15 minutes in the last 15 minutes.
His trademark No. 10 shirt was more apt than ever, given his scoring output was that of 10 outfielders combined: His 50 strikes in La Liga in 2011-12 were more than 61 of the 98 teams within the top five European leagues managed.
On a personal level, he played more games (60), more minutes (5,221) and took more shots (328) across all competitions than in any other season, but that frequency on the pitch was matched with some of his greatest outputs. He scored once every 4.5 shots, which is the third-best rate of his career behind 2012-13 (3.6) and 2010-11 (4.45). And he scored every 71.5 minutes, which he bettered only the following season with 60 goals in 50 games.
That proficiency, yet there was no Vardy-like streak. Messi’s longest scoring streak that season was eight games, in which he scored 18 goals from 14 February to 24 March. He scored 10 of those goals in a three-match span against Valencia, Atlético Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen. The most memorable of the bunch was perhaps the free kick vs. Atlético on 24 February, his 43rd of the season, a left-footed outswinger from the left that curled into the top-right corner. It’s hard to say Thibaut Courtois was frozen because his head turned to follow it in as he uncertainly stepped left without even attempting to save it. The bend was such that if it didn’t find the goal, the ball may have landed and wound up near the right corner flag.
25 year-old Messi breaks barrier of 300 career goals
Barcelona’s Argentine forward Leo Messi scored his 300th and 301st career goals on Saturday against Rayo Vallecano in Vallecas. Messi reached this landmark as his team Barcelona romped to a 5-0 league win against Rayo and, after scoring 73 goals in 2012, he’s now closing in on Pelé’s record of 75 goals in a single calendar year, set back in 1959.
25 year-old Messi is La Liga’s top goalscorer with 13 goals. His brace against Rayo saw him score his 300th and 301st career goals. The Argentine’s goalscoring stats are 270 goals for Barcelona: 182 in the league, 20 in the Spanish Cup, 53 in the Champions League and 15 between the Spanish Super Cup, European Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup, as well as the 31 goals he’s scored for the Argentina national team.
With his goals against Rayo, Messi has now scored 73 goals in 2012, leaving him just 2 goals away from equalling Brazilian legend Pelé, who scored 75 goals in 1959 for his club, Santos and the Brazilian national team.
Messi’s first goal in Vallecas was the second of the game, right at the start of the second half, and it came as the Argentine fired a powerful shot in from the right after being played in by Montoya. His second, Barça’s last of the game was all his own doing, dribbling around the keeper and firing in with his right foot.
Average Minutes per Goal in 2012
At an average of 66 minutes per goal in 2012, Messi was electrifying, tearing up La Liga and the Champions League, in a season that we will likely never see repeated in the modern game.
For most players, those mere mortals we watch week in and week out, an average of a goal every two games is considered to be good. This puts into perspective just how stunning a season Messi had in 2012.
Incredibly, despite scooping 4 trophies with Barcelona over the course of the season, the Catalonian giants missed out on both the league title to Real Madrid, and were eliminated in the semi final of the Champions League to Chelsea.
Had they captured every available honour, this would surely have gone down as the greatest single season by any club or player in the history of the game.
Comparing Messi’s 2012 Efficiency to Other Seasons (Messi top three seasons)
When ranking Messi’s top three seasons, of course the 2011/12 season has to rank top of the list of personal achievements. However, it tells us so much about the man, and the player, that there are a wealth of options to choose from when ranking Messi’s standout seasons.
Far from being the only impressive season the Argentinian superstar has notched up in his career, the 2011/12 season stands alone as the benchmark against which all others are measured.
Without further ado, let’s dive in and take a look at the diminutive wizard’s three best goal scoring seasons of his illustrious career to date.
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