Messi scored one and set up two more against Levante. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

We are seeing Leo Messi at his very best this season. He’s not only scoring goals, but he’s providing them too. Like Neymar, he’s scored three goals in five official matches, but Messi also provided the assists for six of the other nine goals.

Away to Levante he set up both Neymar and Sandro, while last Wednesday it was his free kick against APOEL that led to Piqué’s winning header. And before that he supplied the passes for both of Neymar’s goals against Bilbao, and in the previous game, against Villarreal, it was him who provided the ball for Sandro’s winner.

Creative genius

Leo Messi has developed into a total footballer. He doesn’t just play as a ‘false centre forward’, he also drops back and helps construct the play. His impeccable vision means he can produce perfect passes out of apparently nothing, as he did for Neymar on Sunday. But he also has the skill and speed to nip through the defence and score goals himself. He now only needs five more to beat Zarra’s legendary record of 251.

There is no doubt that there has been a change in Leo Messi. His role as a more complete all-rounder was reflected in the stats at the Ciutat de València, where he was the third most active player with 99 interventions. Only the ‘hyperactive’ Rakitic (142) and Alves (126) ranked higher.

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