LIONEL MESSI’S top team-mates have been revealed with an ultimate Barcelona star-studded line-up. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has s
LIONEL MESSI’S top team-mates have been revealed with an ultimate Barcelona star-studded line-up.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has spent his entire career with the Nou Camp club, progressing through the famous La Masia academy.
He made his official first-team debut in October 2004 and has developed into one of the – if not the – greatest footballers of all time.
Across his 17 years, he has played alongside scores of top-class players on his way to winning ten LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues.
In the meantime, the Mirror have found out the players who have lined up alongside the 33-year-old the most, not an overall list of the most talented players.
While great rival Cristiano Ronaldo’s list features eight Real Madrid stars and three from Manchester United, there is one common denominator with Messi’s XI – and it could have featured the Portugal legend if Sir Alex Ferguson got his way.
Although others may have played more matches, such as Carles Puyol on 269 and Ivan Rakitic on 166, the line-up has been done in an actual formation.
Here’s Lionel Messi’s elite XI…
GK: Victor Valdes
Valdes played 353 times alongside the great man, doing the business at the back while Messi did the damage going forward.
The stopper emerged as Barca’s first-choice keeper in the 2003/04 season so was No1 when Messi broke through until leaving in 2014 and joining Manchester United.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen has been the No1 between the sticks since and played 200 times with Leo.
RB: Dani Alves
The pair formed a rather formidable partnership down the Barcelona right between 2008 and 2016.
They teamed up a total of 349 times and won 23 trophies as part of arguably the best football team of all time.
CB: Gerard Pique
Pique is just four months older than Messi and the pair came through at La Masia together.
After a brief stint at Manchester United where he played with Ronaldo, Pique returned to the Nou Camp and they have played over 500 matches together and remain team-mates.
CB: Javier Mascherano
Javier Mascherano is a very fortunate man indeed, lining up with Messi 413 times.
Not only did he spend eight years at Barcelona after signing from Liverpool in 2010 but he also enjoyed 13 years alongside Messi for the Argentina national team – they have a combined 285 caps.
LB: Jordi Alba
Alba rejoined Barcelona from Valencia to replace Eric Abidal as left-back in 2012/13, resulting in the Frenchman leaving in 2013.
A former Barca youngster, he has played with Messi 289 times and, at 31, is still the No1 choice in the left-back position.
CDM: Sergio Busquets
Busquets comes out top of the pile, lining up with Messi more than anybody else.
The holding midfielder made his LaLiga debut in September 2008 and has been a mainstay ever since.
The legendary midfielder misses out on the 400 club by falling one short on 399 games with Leo.
But he did win 24 of his 25 honours with his boyhood club alongside Messi. Not bad.
CM: Andres Iniesta
The passing excellence and creative genius of Xavi and Iniesta no doubt played a huge role in making the Messi the record-breaking star he has become.
For Iniesta, he took to the field 489 times with the Argentine legend before heading to Vissel Kobe in Japan.
Despite being just a month younger than Messi, Pedro had to wait until January 2008 to make his first-team debut.
He then made 270 appearances in attack with the current Barca captain – no forward has managed more – and scored 99 goals before signing for Chelsea.
ST: Luis Suarez
It could have been very different if Arsenal got their way but Suarez moved to Barcelona in 2014 and has not looked back since.
They are close friends off the field and played almost 300 matches together, with Suarez racking up a total of 198 goals for the club and 13 pieces of silverware.
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Neymar spent four years at the Nou Camp and played 161 times alongside Messi before his world-record transfer to PSG in 2017 – but could he add to that number with a stunning return to Barca?