A record seven-time Ballon d’Or king, a four-time Champions League winner, LIONEL MESSI is now hoping to propel Paris Saint-Germain into an elusive Champions League.
The 35-year-old Argentine, who also secured his nation’s Copa America last year, is rightly considered by many to be the greatest player of all time.
After gracing Barcelona’s Camp Nou and now the Parc des Princes for more than 15 years, many great players have purred about being on the field alongside the icon.
PSG strike partner and ex-Barca team-mate Neymar described it as playing with his ‘idol’, while Xavi gushed: ‘It’s clear that Messi is on a level above everyone else. If you don’t see that, you’re blind.”
But while those two have been fantastic for Barcelona, not everyone who has had the pleasure of playing with Messi can say the same.
Barca bosses have even been criticized for ‘wasting’ part of Messi’s peak on bad decisions.
There are some who should be lucky to be lined up next to him.
And here we take a look at possibly the worst XI of the bunch:
The shiny Argentine is well known to English football fans, having warmed the benches at Southampton, Chelsea and before that Manchester City since arriving on these shores in 2014.
His performances in what is believed to be the League Cup earned him a place in his national team’s World Cup squad in 2018.
Boss Jorge Sampaoli made the bold call to start him in the first two group games in the absence of Sergio Romero, his colleague Prem.
The decision backfired spectacularly against Croatia, however, as Caballero clawed a back pass straight at Ante Rebic, who shoved it past him to put the potential finalist on the road to a 3-0 win.
Douglas was one of several bizarre Barcelona signings that made this list.
The Brazilian arrived at the Camp Nou in 2014 as a little-known 24-year-old from Sao Paolo and never impressed in a Barca shirt.
He looked flustered and jittery in his infrequent appearances, like he couldn’t quite believe he was there.
Douglas quickly fell behind former Brighton right-back Martin Montoya in the pecking order and was sent on numerous loan spells before the end of his almost criminally long five-year deal in 2019.
He now plays (on and off) for Besiktas in Turkey.
The clumsy defender is probably best remembered in England for scoring one of Sunderland’s most spectacular own goals of all time against Southampton in a remarkable 8-0 defeat for the Black Cats.
If this is to be British fans’ only reminder of Vergini’s time in the Premier League, it is a fitting one.
Despite that deviation, he featured for his country alongside Messi in a 7-0 win over Hong Kong that same month, a game in which the 5ft 6in forward bagged twice.
Vergini, 34, last played for Atletico Tucuman in his native Argentina – but now appears to be a free agent.
Dmytryo Chygrynskiy joined Barcelona for £20million in the summer of 2009, a lot of money for a defender at the time.
He had impressed for Shakhtar in last season’s UEFA Cup win and persuaded Pep Guardiola to back the shaggy Ukrainian.
But he struggled to learn Spanish and couldn’t oust Carles Puyol or Gerard Pique in defense for the European champions.
Chygrynskiy was sent back to Shakhtar after just 851 minutes for Barcelona, although it was rumored to be against Guardiola’s will – President Sandro Rosell approved the deal as he was so unimpressed by the signing.
Marc Muniesa received the Champions League winner’s medal in 2009 without playing a single minute of this season’s competition, simply sitting on the bench in the final.
If Muniesa, warming up on the sidelines of the Stadio Olimpico in Rome that day, imagined that this kind of opportunity would be a regular part of his career, he would be half right… there would be a lot on the bench.
After just four appearances for the Blaugrana, he was sent to Stoke of all places, where the most appearances he made in a Premier League season was a paltry 19.
He now plays for Al-Arabi in the Saudi “Stars” league.
Alex Song, once considered a pretty solid Premier League player at Arsenal, went down the well-trodden path from the Emirates to the Camp Nou in 2012.
Unfortunately, it was to go the way of Alexander Hleb rather than Thierry Henry.
The Cameroonian failed to impress as Sergio Busquets’ understudy and is probably remembered for mistakenly thinking that captain Puyol wanted to single him out to lift a trophy rather than Eric Abidal, who recently survived a liver tumour , standing next to him.
The 35-year-old has played for West Ham, Rubin Kazan and FC Sion but now plays for Arta/Solar7 from Djibouti.
Enzo Perez is a scruffy little midfielder with plenty of tenacity but not much more.
Javier Mascherano has often had to fully carry the midfield of this Argentina team, especially as Perez somehow won 26 caps alongside him.
After a torrid spell at Valencia after joining from Benfica in 2014, the 36-year-old has represented River Plate in his home country for the past five years.
It’s hard to believe that Sandro Ramirez was on the books at Everton after his disastrous summer 2017-2020 transfer.
It’s even harder to believe that he played 32 games in an attack that also featured Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.
The Spaniard scored seven goals for the side whose academy he graduated from – albeit six more than for the Toffees.
27-year-old Sandro is struggling at Huesca and was loaned to Las Palmas in the summer.
Kevin Prince Boateng
Anyone who thinks of “Boateng” and “Messi” probably thinks more of the humiliation of the Argentine against Kevin-Prince’s brother Jerome against FC Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
But there was an odd magic when Leo played alongside the former Tottenham flop in 2019 when Barcelona loaned him from Sassuolo.
The Ghana international looked like a fish out of water as he was thrown forward by Ernesto Valverde.
Since then he has played for Besiktas, Fiorentina and Monza and is now back at Hertha Berlin.
It seemed like a coup when Sunderland managed to land Ricky Alvarez on loan from Inter Milan on deadline day in summer 2014.
After all, this was an Argentina international who had just spent the summer at the World Cup alongside Messi.
However, it was a disaster because Alvarez was unfit and rubbish.
The Black Cats then found themselves in a legal tangle after trying to get out of a permanent deal – with the horror transfer reportedly costing Sunderland around £20m in total.
Franco di Santo
You’re Lionel Messi, you’re the captain of your national team, a regular Ballon d’Or winner, it’s March 2013 and you’ve traveled to the heights of Bolivia to take part in a World Cup qualifier.
It’s 1-1, the conditions are suffocating, the season isn’t going well – so imagine how you’d feel when your manager primed a Wigan Athletic forward to come on and save the day.
Well, that’s exactly what happened, except for the save-the-day bit.
After scoring a whopping five Premier League goals for Roberto Martinez’s side this season, Di Santo starred with Messi for Argentina.
It remained 1-1 and luckily for Messi he only had to play once more with Di Santo.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/soccer/735637/lionel-messi-barcelona-argentina-worst-teammates-ever/ Barcelona legend Lionel Messi’s worst teammates XI including Alex Song who failed on TWO Sunderland flops at Camp Nou – The US Sun