Lionel Messi’s poor start to life as a Paris Saint-Germain player has been backed up by a stat which shows he is no longer one of the best dribblers in the world.
Messi arrived in Paris this summer where he has struggled to reach the lofty heights of his spectacular displays in a Barcelona shirt.
A knee injury and lack of cohesion with the rest of the side has resulted in a highly ordinary return of three goals in eight appearances for the attacker.
But it appears his exceptional dribbling, something which he has been known for since becoming a first-team regular at Barcelona as a teenager, has also deteriorated this season.
Data released by stats firm CIES Football Observatory shows Messi, who used to make a mockery of defenders, is no longer in the top 50 dribblers across Europe’s top five leagues.
The study collated the number of dribbles completed by footballers after 100 minutes of game time and found that PSG teammates Kylian Mbappe and Neymar far outperform Messi in that regard.
French phenomenon Mbappe ranked 10th in Europe’s top five leagues with 5.33 dribbles per 100 minutes while Neymar recorded 6.28, ranking him 5th.
Well-known players to miss out on the top ten but still impress were Real Madrid star-boy Vinicius Junior (11th) and England wonder-kid Jude Bellingham (36th).
Do you think Messi's age has finally caught up with his dribbling capabilities? Let us know in the comments section.
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The top three was made up of Newcastle’s silky winger Allan Saint-Maximin in third (7.02), Rafael Leao of AC Milan (7.1) in second and Wolves' Adama Traore in first place with a sensational 11.24 dribbles per 100 minutes.
Traore is regarded one of the fastest players in the world when he’s in full flow, though it will still shock fans to see him rated twice as effective as the at-times magisterial Mbappe at dribbling.
The top-ten list of dribblers across the 'top five' leagues according to CIES is as follows:
1. Adama Traore (Wolves) – 11.24
2. Rafael Leao (AC Milan) – 7.10
3. Allan Saint-Maximin (Newcastle United) – 7.02
4. Kamaldeen Sulemana (Stade Rennais) – 6.44
5. Neymar (PSG) – 6.28
6. Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich) – 6.14
7. Jeremie Boga (Sassuolo) – 5.80
8. Sofiane Boufal (Angers) – 5.52
9. Nahitan Nandez (Cagliari) – 5.36
10. Kylian Mbappe (PSG) – 5.33
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