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08.04.2010 14:30

Messi better with Guardiola

David Saura

Since Pep Guardiola took over at Barça, Leo Messi’s goalscoring rate has shot up to an average of 0.81 goals per game.

Leo Messi will go to the Bernabéu as top scorer in the league (26 goals), the Champions League (8) and tied with Wayne Rooney in the chase for the Golden Boot. The Argentine striker is breaking records left, right and centre.

From Rijkaard to Guardiola

2010-04-06_PARTIDO_46.JPGMessi is unstoppable, and this has been especially so since Pep Guardiola became manager in the summer of 2008. In his 110 official Barça appearances until then, he had scored 42 goals. That was 1 goal every 2.6 games.

Under Guardiola, he has scored 77 goals in 94 games, meaning a massive increase in effectiveness, he’s now getting 1 goal every 1.2 games.

More of a protagonist

2010-04-06_FCB_-_ARSENAL_002.jpgUnder Frank Rijkaard, Messi was only starting out for Barça (especially in the first season and a half) and was still only playing a subsidiary role to the likes of Ronaldinho, Deco and Eto'o. But Guardiola has also shown that he knows how to make the most of his Argentinian star, playing him in more attacking positions.

No change for Argentina

But Messi has not shown the same signs of improvement for his country, Argentina. In the famous blue and white shirt, and up until 2008, he had scored 6 goals in 21 games (1 goal every 3.5 games), which is roughly the same as what he has achieved more recently (7 goals in 23 games, one goal every 3.3 games). This clearly shows that no Argentinian manager has managed to get the same out of Messi as Pep Guardiola has done at Barça.
Messi better with Guardiola
Fifth visit to Santiago Bernabéu
Saturday will be Messi’s fifth trip to the Real Madrid stronghold, where he first appeared in 2005, and at the age of 18 was involved in the win spearheaded by Ronaldinho (0-3). His best showing at the Santiago Bernabéu was last season (2-6), where he got two goals.

In all games with Real Madrid, Messi has scored 6 goals in 7 games, including his famous hat-trick past Casillas in 2007 (3-3).

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