Lionel Messi’s ultimate teammates XI as Suarez and Pedro included in attack

For a footballer, it is always important to have confidence in the players that you're entering battle with.

While familiarly can sometimes breed contempt, a team's chemistry is often one of the most crucial and unheralded factors that can make it shine. You can be lost without it.

For instance, how many times have we heard about new signings needing time to settle in? Or a fresh strike partnership having to work on things in training before they begin to hit it off on the pitch?

It helps, then, if you know everything there is to know about your teammates when you are taking to the pitch with them.

Even if you're Lionel Messi.

The rules

  • The XI is made up of players who made the most appearances alongside our featured player.
  • They have to have been on the pitch at the same time as our main man, either at club or international level.
  • This isn't necessarily the eleven players who've spent the most time on the pitch with him, just the eleven that would fit into a working team.
  • We're not going to come up with a Garth Crooksesque formation, but we might name subs if we feel like it.
  • All minutes played and appearances stats are courtesy of
  • Don't get angry in the comments section.

The Barcelona icon has played with some wonderful players down the years, but who did he play with on the most occasions? And what would a team of those players look like?

You may not have asked or even considered those questions before, but you're going to get an answer anyway.

Here's Messi's ultimate teammates XI.

Goalkeeper: Victor Valdes

Appearances alongside Messi: 353

Valdes was part of three Champions League successes and six La Liga titles alongside the Argentinean.

Right-back: Dani Alves

Appearances alongside Messi: 349

The Brazilian formed a potent alliance with Messi down the right flank when they played together.

Centre-back: Gerard Pique

Appearances alongside Messi: 471

After his brief stop-off at Manchester United, Pique returned to Barca and is still part of the furniture there.

Centre-back: Javier Mascherano

Appearances alongside Messi: 413

Converted into a centre-back at Barcelona, Mascherano is only one of four players to have played with Messi over 400 times.

Left-back: Jordi Alba

Appearances alongside Messi: 289

The attacking left-back sees off the challenge of a few full-backs to take his place in the side.

Defensive midfield: Sergio Busquets

Appearances alongside Messi: 512

Top of the shots. No footballer has played more matches with Messi as a teammate than midfielder anchorman Busquets' 512.

The lucky boy.

Midfield: Xavi

Appearances alongside Messi: 399

Just missing out on the 400 club, Xavi nonetheless did so much in his career that we're sure he'll get over it.

Midfield: Andres Iniesta

Appearances alongside Messi: 489

Two players capable of operating on the same wavelength, Iniesta was probably the player who created the most while playing alongside Messi, although we don't have the stats for that.

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