Lionel Messi is having a difficult start to his career in Ligue 1. In five games spanning 325 minutes since joining Paris Saint-Germain in a surprise transfer this summer, he has yet to score in the French top flight.
This is the worst start to a season in his illustrious career since 2005-06, when he was only in his second season in the top flight. Messi has already scored twice for PSG in Europe, once against Manchester City and once against RB Leipzig. However, he hasn’t fared well in domestic games.
To make matters worse, he left the game at halftime on Friday with a new injury. He has previously been injured, causing him to miss PSG games. Given his domestic woes, here are Messi’s five worst goal-scoring droughts:
Number 5: 474 minutes (April 10 to May 10)
Messi’s most productive year in his young career was the 2009-10 season, when he scored 47 goals across all competitions. But there was a dry spell near the end of it, between April and May.
Messi’s goals suddenly stopped coming for five games in a row, including three in a row in La Liga. This goalless streak also included two Champions League semi-final games against Inter Milan, in which holders Barcelona were eliminated.
When he was back on the scoresheet, he didn’t stop, scoring in each of the season’s final four games.
Number 4: 515 minutes (March 16 – April 16)
Messi was on a tear throughout the 2015-16 season, similar to his barren run in 2009-10. However, he appeared to run out of steam during the home stretch, going five games without a goal, raising concerns at Camp Nou.
It naturally coincided with Barcelona’s downward spiral, with the club dropping points in four consecutive La Liga games. They also had their Champions League title defense ended yet again by Atletico Madrid.
It was the first time in 13 years that Barcelona had lost three consecutive league games. However, the Blaugrana recovered to win the La Liga title by a single point over Real Madrid, winning their last five games.
Number 3: 564 minutes (April 07-May 07)
Unlike the previous entries, Messi’s goal drought was limited to La Liga games. He went six top-flight games without scoring. But he was only 19 at the time, and he was already making a name for himself on the international stage.
Almost a month after his famous hat-trick against Real Madrid in the El Clasico, Messi went goalless. The Argentine superstar went 564 minutes without scoring.
Earlier in the season, Messi scored a spectacular goal against Getafe, displaying a lethal combination of pace, power, control, and composure belying his age.
Messi’s barren run came to an end with a brace in a 6-0 thrashing of Atletico Madrid. He finished the season with 17 league strikes, a respectable total for a teenager.
Number 2: 757 minutes (November 07 – February 08)
Later that year (2007), Messi went through another dry spell in front of goal. This time, it was much longer, as he went three months without scoring in eight consecutive La Liga games.
Messi suffered a hamstring injury during this time, forcing him to miss three more games, including the 1-0 loss to Real Madrid in El Clasico. It is the most games he has gone without scoring in La Liga.
Number 1: 816 minutes (October 06 – March 07)
Despite a horrific metatarsal fracture and a dip in form on either side of the injury, Messi scored 14 La Liga goals in 26 games. That was a testament to his extraordinary abilities.
That slump lasted seven Premier League games, beginning with a 2-0 loss to Real Madrid in El Clasico. It also ended against Real Madrid in the season’s second Clasico. Messi scored his first hat-trick against the Merengues, announcing his return to form in grand style.
Messi would finish the season with 17 goals across all competitions.