Barcelona news: Messi joins Real Madrid trio in best La Liga XI since January – CIES study

Messi has been in superb form this season, racking up 39 goals across all competitions as Barcelona hunt a domestic and European treble.

The Catalan club are 10 points clear in La Liga, into the final of the Copa del Rey and comfortably cruised into the quarter-finals of the Champions League where they will face Manchester United.

Messi has scored eight times in Europe while the Argentine has hit an astounding 29 goals and provided 14 assists in the league – despite being sidelined with a broken arm for two matches.

Unsurprisingly, the Barcelona star has been identified as one of the most impressive players in La Liga since the turn of the year based on new data.

CIES Football Observatory have developed a unique algorithm to measure the technical performance of players based on on-field statistics, using this to highlight the best players over the past 1000 minutes of action.

Only taking into account players fielded for at least 630 minutes since January 1, the research has produced starting line-ups for the top five European leagues.

Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United dominate the Premier League XI while Barcelona and rivals Real Madrid account for eight of the Spanish squad.

There are also representatives from Athletic Bilbao, Valencia and Eibar – but just which players have stood out in 2019?

La Liga best XI since January 1 – CIES Football Observatory

GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)

RB: Jordi Alba (Barcelona)

CB: Gerard Pique (Barcelona)

CB: Yeray Alvarez (Athletic Bilbao)

LB: Sergio Reguilon (Real Madrid)

CM: Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona)

CM: Luka Modric (Real Madrid)

CM: Dani Parejo (Valencia)

RAM: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

LAM: Fabian Orellana (Eibar)

ST: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

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