Football News

Luuk de Jong equals Lionel Messi, and somehow makes Messi look better

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 14:29, 23 June 2022

In 2021/22, Luuk de Jong managed to equal one of Lionel Messi’s many Barcelona records.

Despite all the jokes surrounding his signing, the Dutch striker scored five headers across the 2021/22 campaign in La Liga. That equals the record for a Barcelona player in a single La Liga season since records began in 2003/04.

The holder of that record? Lionel Messi. The diminutive Argentine forward scored five headers as Barcelona romped to their second-ever Treble in 2014/15. Then as they retained their domestic double the following season, powerhouse Uruguayan striker Luis Suárez equalled Messi’s feat as he led the line for Barcelona.

Equalling a Messi achievement is always impressive, but in this instance the nature of the achievement only serves to make Messi look better. Luuk de Jong stands an imposing 188cm high, while Lionel Messi is 170cm on a good day.

For the Argentine to have held Barcelona’s record for most headers scored in a single season is quite remarkable, even for someone like Messi who regularly trafficked in the remarkable.

Of the six goals De Jong scored in total, the five he managed under Xavi all came with his head and four of them secured points for the Blaugrana. Three of the goals also came in stoppage time at the end of the match.

The first header was a 44th winner away to Mallorca, then came a 57th minute strike around the hour in Barceloa’s 1-1 draw with Levante.

Next was his 97th minute equaliser in the Catalan Derby against Espanyol, before he bagged a 90th minute bonus goal in the thrashing of Athletic Club at Camp Nou.

His final contribution was a 93rd minute winner away to Levante, giving Barcelona an incredible win when it looked like they had thrown it away with some dour defending.

  1. Mallorca 0-1 Barcelona: made it 0-1
  2. Granada 1-1 Barcelona: made it 0-1
  3. Espanyol 2-2 Barcelona: made it 2-2
  4. Barcelona 4-0 Athletic: made it 3-0
  5. Levante 2-3 Barcelona: made it 2-3

Five headed goals scored, six points won.

By contrast, Messi’s first of five was the fourth in a 6-0 win over Granada. His next was the opener in an 0-4 win away to Deportivo and his next two were padding in 0-2 and 0-8 wins over Eibar and Cordoba respectively. His final strike was the opener in a 2-2 draw with Espanyol.

  1. Barcelona 6-0 Granada: made it 4-0
  2. Deportivo 0-4 Barcelona: made it 0-1
  3. Eibar 0-2 Barcelona: made it 0-2
  4. Cordoba 0-8 Barcelona: made it 0-3
  5. Barcelona 2-2 Deportivo: made it 1-0

Five headed goals scored, three points won.

So half as good as De Jong in terms of points won, but in Messi’s defence he is (figuratively) half the size of De Jong.