Former Paris Saint-Germain player Jerome Rothen has tipped Lionel Messi to break the Ligue 1 assist record this season due to his on-pitch connection with fellow forward Kylian Mbappe.
Despite having a seemingly difficult campaign at Parc des Princes, the Argentina international has been productive in front of goal, with his goals and assists pushing PSG towards their Ligue 1 title win.
The 35-year-old is also on the verge of breaking the Ligue 1 assists record, as he currently has 16 assists this season.
The current record holder for most assists in a single Ligue 1 season is former PSG winger Angel Di Maria. The Argentine, who left the Paris club on a Bosman switch last summer, set the benchmark in the 2015-16 season when he provided 18 assists for teammates.
But Rothen believes that Messi, who provided a brilliant assist for Kylian Mbappe in PSG’s 2-1 win over Auxerre last weekend, can break Di Maria’s record in the remaining two games of the season.
Speaking to Le Parisien (via Paris fans), the former PSG star said:
“Of course, it is possible that he will go for the record. And it would be logical knowing that we are talking about the best footballer in the world. Crossing the bar of fifteen assists is really not a given for everyone here.
“But what puzzles me is to see Messi with so many assists while being so bad during the season. When we see his match at AJ Auxerre, he almost gets two assists because a goal from Mbappe is disallowed for nothing.”
Rothen also hailed the telepathic connection between Messi and Mbappe.
“Their complementarity is obvious. When you are a passer, and you can benefit from Mbappe’s speed and calls, it does you a lot of favours. We can be critical of Messi’s investment in the club, but we cannot ignore that he has an eye and a left foot well above average. When he is facing the game, he invents passes for you!”
“He gives time to the attacker to finish the chance, and you can only savour on these gestures,” he added.
“Automatically, he wreaks havoc with Kylian, who is clinical in front of goal. All this means that the assist record is still in danger.”
PSG travel away to Strasbourg in their next Ligue 1 game on Saturday before concluding the season with a home game against Clermont Foot. Moreover, the Ligue 1 giants can seal the title if they do not lose their next game.