Comparing Lionel Messi’s first season at PSG to his last at Barcelona

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Lionel Messi in action for PSG against ESTAC Troyes, Parc Des Princes, Paris, May 2022

Lionel Messi is about to finish his first season away from Barcelona as a champion of France with PSG, but his first campaign in Paris has been far from plain sailing. After making the shock move from Barcelona last summer, we compared his stats from his final campaign in Spain to his first in France.

The Argentinian was effectively forced into a move as Barcelona’s financial troubles meant that they could not afford to keep him, and he joined PSG on a free transfer, setting up the mouthwatering prospect of an attacking trident of Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

However, PSG have been relatively disappointing and their biggest stars have been criticised. Whilst they secured Ligue 1 after losing the title to Lille last season, Mauricio Pochettino’s side gloriously collapsed in the Champions League round of 16 against Real Madrid, and Messi even missed a penalty in the tie.

Messi took a while to score his first PSG goal and looks set to total fewer than 10 league goals for the first time in over 10 years.

Still, Pochettino has defended him from all and any criticism. “We’re not talking about an ordinary player, Messi is on the same level as Diego Maradona,” Pochettino told Europe 1, via Get French Football News.

“It is clear that his move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain was a big change, in which an adaptation process was necessary.

“Certain circumstances didn’t allow him to feel as comfortable as he did at Barcelona where he’d spent 20 years. Where he had been the standard-bearer of the club.

“To judge Messi in this way is unfair. I have no doubts about his quality… Next season will be a completely different season for him.”

But forget next season for a second. We’re here to look at this season at the Parc des Prince compares to Messi’s final season at Camp Nou? We’ve got a full rundown of the stats, courtesy of


Ligue 1
Games: 25
Starts: 23

Goals: 6
Penalties scored: 0
Assists: 13

Minutes per goal: 343
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 343
Minutes per goal or assist: 108

Expected goals: 9.7
Expected assists: 7.6

Shots per 90: 3.75
Shots on target per 90: 1.22

Passes per 90 (pass completion): 58 (84.6%)
Shot creating actions per 90: 6.02

Champions League
Games: 7
Starts: 7

Goals: 5
Penalties scored: 2
Assists: 0

Minutes per goal: 126
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 2
Minutes per goal or assist: 126

Expected goals: 4.7
Expected assists: 2.4

Shots per 90: 3.29
Shots on target per 90: 1

Passes per 90 (pass completion): 55.4 (86.2%)
Shot creating actions per 90: 4.14

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates with team mate Bojan Krkic after he scored against Arsenal in the Champions League. Camp Nou, Barcelona, April 2010.

READ: Where are they now? A ‘new Lionel Messi’ for every year since 2006


La Liga
Games: 35
Starts: 33

Goals: 30
Penalties scored: 3
Assists: 9

Minutes per goal: 100
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 111
Minutes per goal or assist: 77.5

Expected goals: 23.6
Expected assists: 19.5

Shots per 90: 5.65
Shots on target per 90: 2.53

Passes per 90 (pass completion): 46.3 (78.8)
Shot creating actions per 90: 7.17

Champions League
Games: 6

Goals: 5
Penalties scored: 4
Assists: 2

Minutes per goal: 108
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 540
Minutes per goal or assist: 77

Expected goals: 6.3
Expected assists: 2.5

Shots per 90: 5.33
Shots on target per 90: 2.5

Passes per 90 (pass completion): 67.3 (86.5%)
Shot creating actions per 90: 9.33

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