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What If Lionel Messi was in Fantasy Premier League (FPL) during his record-breaking season

Imagine the Goat playing in the Goat league

Lionel Messi is regarded by many as one of the greatest football has ever seen. With 7 Ballon d’Ors, 4 Champions Leagues, 10 La Ligas, and a huge 22 Golden Boots in all competitions, Messi is nothing short of a footballing legend to be remembered by many generations to come.

Similarly, Fantasy Premier League is regarded as one of the most widely used Fantasy Football sites/apps out of the whole bunch. Hosting a growing number of more than 8 million players, it’s quite easy to say, FPL is very close to, or at the peak of Fantasy Football.

Now, what if those 2 were to combine, with Messi available as an option for FPL managers to pick up for their teams? Talking specifically of the sensational dream season during 2011/12, Messi would have torn FPL apart and become the highest-scoring player on the site/app in history, and by a long way too. This editorial looks at what Messi’s 2011/12 season would have looked like on FPL terms. Would he make it into your team?

The Record-Breaking season for Lionel Messi

73 goals in 1 season (all competitions) is the highest ever in footballing in history, and 50 of them came from just 37 La Liga matches. That averages at around 1.35 goals per game, which is really unbelievable when you think about it! On top of that, Messi set up his teammates for a further 16 assists in the league and 32 in all competitions, equating to 105 goal contributions in all competitions for just 1 season. All this combines to give an average of 1.75 goal contributions in every game. Wow!

Messi helped his side to a huge 4 trophies in that season, winning the Spanish Supercup, UEFA Supercup, FIFA Club World Cup, Copa Del Rey. It was another case of “What could have been” with the Catalans missing out on yet more silverware during that season, as they were runners-up for the La Liga title, and exited the UEFA Champions League in the semi-finals.

Lionel Messi Fantasy FPL
What if Messi was in Fantasy FPL: Lionel Messi with Ballon d’Or

There was no shortage of individual awards for the Argentinian either, whose high score tallies were enough to create awe of admiration amongst all football tallies. Messi won the Ballon d’Or 2011 for the season prior, and deservingly claimed the 2012 edition as well, becoming the 2nd player to ever win 3 Ballon d’Ors in a row. He set new European records and new world records everywhere, acknowledging each and every one of them would take a long while. Long story short, there is a lot of achievements in just that 1 season alone.

Expected Price and Position of Messi in Fantasy Premier League (FPL)

Messi’s heatmap at Barcelona during the 2011/12 season was quite similar to that of Mohammed Salah during his 2017/18 season, where he became the highest-scoring FPL player in history (303 FPL points). Therefore, Messi would, fortunately, have been classed as a Midfielder, an abundance of points!

As for the price, well it would be high. Very high. Considering the current pricing environment in FPL, Messi would likely have been upwards of 12/12.5 million. Considering the performances he put in throughout the season too, the ownership would easily be sky-high, so as would the price changes. It’s not clear what the limits to player prices are, but it would not be surprising to see Messi end off the FPL season with an all-time high.

Fantasy Points Breakdown: Messi in FPL (2011/12)

GameweekOpponentResultsPointsGoalsAssistsClean SheetsYellow CardMinutesBonus Points
GW1Malaga CF 1-4203000903
GW2Villarreal 5-0192110903
GW3Real Sociedad 2-200001290
GW4CA Osasuna 8-0273210903
GW5Valencia 2-2110200903
GW6Atletico Madrid 5-0213010903
GW7Sporting Gijon 0-130010900
GW8Racing 3-0162010903
GW9Sevilla FC 0-030010900
GW10Granada CF 0-130010900
GW11RCD Mallorca 5-0243110903
GW12Athletic 2-2101000903
GW13Real Zaragoza 4-091010901
GW14Getafe 1-020000900
GW15Levante 5-0131110902
GW16Real Madrid 1-350101901
GW17Rayo Vallecano 4-091010901
GW18Espanyol 1-120001900
GW19Real Betis 4-2142001903
GW20Malaga CF 4-1203000903
GW21Villarreal 0-030010900
GW22Real Sociedad 2-1131100903
GW23CA Osasuna 3-220000900
GW24Valencia 5-1254000903
GW25Atletico Madrid 1-271001901
GW26Sporting Gij6n 3-10000000
GW27Racing 0-2162010903
GW28Sevilla FC 0-2111010903
GW29Granada CF 5-3233100903
GW30RCD Mallorca 0-2111010903
GW31Athletic 2-0141110903
GW32Real Zaragoza 1-4182100903
GW33Getafe 4-0161211903
GW34Levante 1-2152000903
GW35Real Madrid 1-220000900
GW36Rayo Vallecano 0-7222210903
GW37Espanyol 4-0264010903
GW38Real Betis 2-220000900
SeasonLeague28/7/34575016196326972
What if Messi was in Fantasy FPL: Points Breakdown Table (Stats via FPL Focal)

The above table shows a breakdown of Messi’s insane season, and what it would have looked like in FPL terms. He would have tallied a total of 457 FPL points from the 50 goals, 16 assists, 19 clean sheets, and the further 72 bonus points. In comparison to the current all-time leading points scorer in FPL history (Salah with 303 points), that total is nothing short of insane.

Individual highlights of the season from FPL point of View

The match against Malaga CF in Gameweek 1 was postponed to Gameweek 19, which obviously means there would have been a double gameweek during then. Messi scored a huge 5 goals in just the 2 games, contributing to his overall points total for that DGW of 34.

Baring in mind that is without any captaincy, that is a huge number. If you had captained him during that week the result would be 68 points total, just from that 1 player. Time the triple-captain right for that week as well and there’s a total of 102 points from 1 player. Just the 1.

Lionel Messi Fantasy FPL
What if Messi was in Fantasy FPL: Lionel Messi celebrating his Goal

Messi also recorded a crazy 23 double-digit hauls, including 9 20+ totals. The period between GW27 and GW34 saw a total of 8 double-digit hauls in 8 games. That’s an average of 15.5 points per game just there. As the obvious captain choice throughout the period, that’s a consistent average of 31 points per game for 8 weeks.

His highest total return came in GW4 against Osasuna where Barcelona ran rings around the opposition, with an 8-0 victory. Barcelona, specifically Messi, scored 3 and assisted another 2, totaling 5 goal contributions out of the 8 goals. In FPL, that would’ve been 27 points. In 1 week. Just like that.

With a jaw-dropping 8 hattricks, just 152 minutes lost, and only 8 blanks, Messi recorded an overall average of 12.1 points per gameweek. That’s basically a double-digit haul every week (on average). Keep him as your captain all season and you’re looking at an easy 24.2 points per gameweek. How does that even make sense?

Missed Points

Despite grabbing all 3 bonus points close to every week, there is a valid argument for if there should have been more. The actual Bonus Points System works quite differently, and since the table above showcases BPS values based on inspection, there could very well be more bonus points available for Messi, since his underlying stats were still insane even in the games that he recorded no goals or assists.

Furthermore, the above stats don’t actually count the full number of FPL assists either. Things like assisted own goals, free-kicks/penalties that were won and scored, blocked shots that were scored on the rebound, etc, aren’t included in proper stats but are in FPL. As a result, there could actually be more points available than shown in the table.

Impacts of Messi on FPL in 2011/12 Fantasy Premier League

There we have it, that is what a prime Lionel Messi would look like if he was an FPL asset. Whatever the opinions may be of the Argentinian, it’s difficult to overlook the numbers he put up in the 2011/12 season.

However, as crazy as those points sound, it’s good to take a look at the bigger picture, as there’s always a trap of some sort hidden in FPL. With how high his points tallies were on a regular basis, it would be impossible trying to find an argument against having him on the team. As a result, the majority of the managers owning him would mean that one without Messi in their FPL team is automatically out of the game. This, combined with the expectedly high price leads to an awkward situation, in which there are basically just 14 players left in the squad, and a cut budget to use as well.

Would this mean that other premium players would be generally avoided, in order to spread funds equally everywhere, leading to higher ownership of less impactful players? Would that mean the main source of points for the majority of teams is just Messi, and a couple of cheap high-scorers? If every team had the same common sources of points, how would competition in FPL change?

These are just some talking points, but the answer will of course, never be known, unless another similar player comes along and plays that kind of football in the Premier League. All that is known, is that 2011/12 saw a monster of a player dominate for an entire season.

So, what are your thoughts if Messi was in FPL (Fantasy)? Do let us know by commenting below.

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