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Ligue 1 2022/23: Lionel Messi’s return to form

Lionel Messi’s first season at Paris Saint-Germain did not go as planned. There was too much drama on and off the pitch at the French club. Messi struggled to play consistently and failed to create an impact whenever he did play. The Argentinian finished with six goals — joint third-fewest in his career. Messi played only 2297 minutes in the league last season and that was also one of the lowest in his career. We are eight games into the 2022/23 season, and Messi already looks to be back to his best.

The following visualisation shows where Lionel Messi ranks for some of the key metrics in the 2022/23 season so far.

Lionel Messi’s radar for the 2022/23 season looks like how a Lionel Messi radar would look usually. Hence, it is fair to say that Messi is well and truly back to form this season. Messi has been one of the best creators on the pitch for PSG — ranking 93rd percentile for Expected Assists (xA) per 90 minutes and 95th percentile for Key Passes per 90 minutes.

Messi has four goals to his name in eight appearances so far this season in the league. However, no player has a higher Expected Goals(xG) than Messi’s 6.68. Messi ranks 95th percentile for xG per 90 minutes. Messi’s biggest strength has always been his ability to find the most improbable pass and he has continued to do that this season. He ranks top tier for most of the passing metrics.

Lionel Messi seemed out of touch in so many ways last season. His return to form will prove vital if PSG are to continue their good start to the season. It will also be interesting to see if Messi can carry his club form to the international stage at the world cup which is not very far away now.