Lionel Messi wrote another page in the record books when he set up Antoine Griezmann for Barcelona’s third goal against Villarreal for his 19th La Liga assist for the season – the Argentine’s best ever tally in the Spanish top-flight.
The 33-year-old had already set up Luis Suarez midway through the first half at El Madrigal, becoming the first player to reach 18 assists for the season since he did so himself in 2014-15 and prior to that in 2010-11.
He went one better shortly before the break, with his neat back-heel teeing up Griezmann who stroked home his ninth La Liga goal of the campaign. Messi has now up set up three of those nine goals, more than any other team-mate.
It was perhaps a timely reminder to the Barcelona hierarchy of Messi’s continued importance to Barca despite his advancing years.
Not only is he top of the assists chart, but he is also La Liga’s top scorer with 22 goals – five goals clear of nearest challenger Karim Benzema.
Messi’s latest match-winning antics comes after a week of frenzied speculation over his future at Camp Nou, with the striker yet to respond to Cadena SER’s claim that he could leave Camp Nou when his contract expires next summer.
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