LONDON – Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez have now scored an incredible 102 goals in all competitions for Barcelona this season, after netting five of the club’s six against Getafe on Tuesday night.
That’s a Barcelona club record for an attacking trio, surpassing the 100 goals scored by Messi, Samuel Eto’o and Thierry Henry in the 2008/09 treble-winning season under Pep Guardiola.
With at least seven games left to play this year – potentially eight, should they reach the Champions League final – Messi, Neymar and Suarez still have plenty of time to further extend that record.
And after the trio combined in fine fashion against Getafe – each scoring and providing an assist in the same game for the first time – there’s every chance they’ll do just that.
Messi: 49 goals (38 in La Liga, eight in Champions League, three in Copa del Rey)
Neymar: 32 goals (20 La Liga, six in Champions League, six in Copa del Rey)
Suarez 21 goals (13 in La Liga, six in Champions League, two in Copa del Rey)
Here, we look at how those numbers compare with the best in Barca’s history, their rivals at Real Madrid and the best forward lines across Europe . . .
Messi, Eto’o and Henry fired Barcelona to an unprecedented La Liga-Copa del Rey-Champions League treble in 2008/09. Guardiola’s team was littered with star names in their pomp: Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Yaya Toure, Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique. Yet it was the devastating forward line that grabbed the headlines throughout the season.
Braces from Henry and Messi helped Barca hammer title holders Real Madrid 6-2 at the Bernabeu in La Liga, while the Argentine was again on target in a 4-1 thrashing of Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final. Samuel Eto’o scored 30 times in the league, before hitting the opener against Manchester United in the Champions League final in Rome, where Messi headed in a fine second.
In total, Messi – who won the Ballon d’Or for the first time at the end of 2009 – scored 38, Eto’o 36 and Henry 26 as Barcelona swept all before them. Club president Joan Laporta labelled them the ‘best team in the history of Barca’.
This season, the treble is on again, with Barcelona five points clear in the league, set to face Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final – and Guardiola’s Bayern Munich in the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Across all competitions, Real Madrid’s attacking trio of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo had actually scored the same number of goals as Barcelona’s frontline on April 11 – 88. In fact, Carlo Ancelotti’s men had four more La Liga goals to their name at that stage.
However, since then Barcelona’s trio have scored 14 in five, while Real’s three have scored one in four. Of course, injuries to Benzema and Bale have hampered B-B-C, but, nevertheless, Messi, Suarez and Neymar have scored their 102 in a combined 129 appearances, while it has taken Real’s forwards 134 appearances to score their 89 (including the Club World Cup and Spanish Super Cup).
None of Europe’s leading lights can offer an attacking trio to compare statistically with the Catalans this season.
Bundesliga champions and top scorers Bayern Munich have netted 77 goals in the German top flight this season but, across all competitions, top scorers Robert Lewandowski (23), Thomas Muller (20) and Arjen Robben (19) have scored ‘only’ 62 between them.
Paris Saint-Germain – who Barcelona knocked out of the Champions League quarter-finals – have scored more than any other French side in Ligue 1 but Zlatan Ibrahimovic (28), Edinson Cavani (24) and Ezequiel Lavezzi (eight) have netted 60.
Meanwhile, the three top scorers at Premier League hotshots Manchester City, Sergio Aguero (27), David Silva (11) and Yaya Toure (10) have managed fewer than half the number of Barcelona’s trio – 48.