European Team of the Week: Lionel Messi Back to His Best, Lamela in Limelight

WhoScoredFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2014

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 24:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona takes on Sergio Pelegrin of Elche FC during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Elche FC at Camp Nou stadium on August 24, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Lionel Messi made a blistering start to the season with a perfect rating of 10.

The Argentinian netted either side of half-time to help Barcelona to a 3-0 victory over Elche as Luis Enrique got off to a winning start as the new head coach.

Messi also played three key passes and completed an incredible seven successful dribbles to hit the ground running in the new campaign.

Hannover 96 forward Edgar Prib partners the diminutive Barcelona star in attack.

The 24-year-old, a midfielder by trade, displayed his attacking ability in the 2-1 win over Schalke with a goal and an assist, while he defended from the front for his team with eight tacklesa tally no forward has topped in the Bundesliga in the last six seasons.

After a debut campaign hampered by injury, Erik Lamela has begun to justify his £30 million price tag under Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham Hotspur.

Sang Tan/Associated Press

The former Roma star provided two assists in the 4-0 thumping of Queens Park Rangers and was a constant menace over the 90 minutes, playing three key passes and completing five successful dribbles.

On the opposite flank, Javi Lara features having scored the decisive goal in Eibar's 1-0 win over Real Sociedad.

The 28-year-old played an impressive four key passes and made five tackles to cap off a memorable Liga debut.

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - AUGUST 06:  Andres Iniesta of FC Barcelona in action during the pre-season friendly match between FC Barcelona and SSC Napoli on August 6, 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

League counterpart Andres Iniesta also features in midfield. While the Spaniard was unable to score or provide an assist, he came perilously close to opening the scoring on the half-hour mark after hitting the crossbar against Elche.

Iniesta was a creative threat during his 78 minutes on the pitch, playing three key passes, and found a team-mate with 97 of his 104 attempted passes.

Completing the midfield, Morgan Sanson registered an assist in Montpellier’s 2-0 win over Metz.

The youngster attempted nine crosses in the Ligue 1 encounter and found a team-mate with four. He also ensured the hosts kept a clean sheet after making a clearance off the line before Souleymane Camara secured the points late on, thanks to Sanson.

Layvin Kurzawa fills the left-back spot as Monaco finally put their first points on the board this season.

The young defender provided the assist for Radamel Falcao’s eventual winner on the stroke of half-time. Forty-five percent of Monaco’s attacks came down the left side, with much of this down to Kurzawa, who played four key passes and completed two dribbles.

Simon Kjaer is another to feature from France’s top tier having played a crucial role in Lille’s 2-0 home victory against Lorient.

LILLE, FRANCE - AUGUST 05:  Simon Kjaer of Lille in action during the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round 2nd leg match between LOSC Lille and Grasshopper Club Zurich at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on August 5, 2014 in Lille, France.  (Photo by Dean
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

The Dane netted 15 minutes from time to confirm all three points for Les Dogues and ensured his side kept a clean sheet with four tackles and 11 clearances.

Assani Lukimya partners Kjaer at centre-back after scoring in Werder Bremen’s 2-2 draw with Hertha Berlin.

Die Werderaner came from two goals down to secure a point, and Lukimya’s strike in the 53rd minute kick-started their comeback. The experienced centre-back was also on hand to win six aerial duels and make four tackles, four interceptions and four clearances.

Branislav Ivanovic completes the defence after a solid performance in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Leicester City.

The powerful Serb broke down the right flank with intent, completing three successful dribbles and playing two key passes. Despite the Foxes’ best attempts to find the back of the net, Ivanovic was able to contain the threat, making eight clearances and winning four aerial duels.

Rennes goalkeeper Benoit Costil completes the team after maintaining a clean sheet in the goalless draw with St-Etienne.

Costil may only have been forced into action twice in the encounter, but one of those saves was to deny Mevlut Erding from the penalty spot. The Rennes shot-stopper was a commanding presence in the 18-yard box, claiming seven crosses to round off an impressive display.


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