Barcelona coach Quique Setien says captain Lionel Messi is not just about goals after the captain hit yet another landmark on Saturday.
The Argentine notched his 20th league goal of the season in Barcelona’s 4-0 win over Real Mallorca, meaning he’s now hit at least 20 goals for 12 seasons in a row.
Setien was asked about Messi during Monday’s pre-match press conference and was full of praise for the 32-year-old.
“Leo is fine. You don’t only have to assess the goals he scored, but also the rest of his contributions, like assisting. That gives us a lot of points. It’s an astronomical number. I think he’s reached 700 goals and that’s why he’s the best player in the world.”
Messi leads the goalscoring charts in Spain 2019-20 by six from Karim Benzema and is on target to win the Pichichi Trophy for the seventh time in his career. He’s currently on 698 goals for club and country and needs just two more to bring up 700.
Leganes up Next for Messi
Barcelona and Leganes are up next for Messi in La Liga. Javier Aguirre’s side head to the Camp Nou on Tuesday in 19th place in the table after defeat to Real Valladolid last time out.
Messi played all 90 minutes against Mallorca, after shaking off a minor injury ahead of the game, but Setien also said in his press conference he would be making changes due to the hectic nature of Barcelona’s fixture list.
“The idea is to make changes and we will do as the games continue. I want to see how tiredness affects each player because I want to reach the end of the season with the necessary freshness. We will see how the championship progresses and how the players recover from their efforts.”
Barcelona have little rest then before their next fixture at Sevilla on Friday. Julen Lopetegui’s side are currently in third in La Liga and will provide a stiff test of the Catalans’ title credentials.
Messi Crucial to Barcelona’s Title Hopes
Setien will need to balance Messi’s playing time carefully over the next 10 games. The Argentine turns 33 later this month but still remains utterly crucial to Barcelona’s hopes of success.
Opta highlighted just how effective he has been in 2019-20:
Juan Manuel Diaz at Sport has also highlighted Messi’s importance. The forward played his 475th game for the club on Saturday and has a record of 355 wins, 77 draws, and 43 defeats.
Yet looking even closer at the figures it can be seen that Barcelona win 74.8 percent of their games when Messi is in the team. And in the current season, Messi has played 23 of their 28 La Liga games, with Barca winning 51 of the 69 points available.