They say everything in life is three. In football, this is certainly what the best attacks do.
It was arguably Pep Guardiola’s revolution at Barcelona that saw the trident become a deadly force in modern football, overtaking the duo in the process. Of course, managers tinker with every game, but the trio are here to stay.
For years, Barcelona shone with their deadly MSN connection, namely the heavyweight unit of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar. PSG have tried to build something similar at great expense but so far have failed incredibly.
Liverpool had one of the finest attacking trios in world football before they were torn apart
Meanwhile, Liverpool managed to put together one of the strongest three-man forward teams in football history, despite being torn apart this week.
Sadio Mané left the club for Bayern Munich after expressing his desire for a new challenge. Along with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, he helped bring silverware to Anfield and left the team on good terms as a fan favourite.
But who is statistically the best front three-pointer in the sport? sports mail check it out
Sadio Mane’s departure to Bayern Munich ended the winning streak
Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
105 league games played, 144 goals
In their first season as a trio, they reached the Champions League final.
Incredibly, the trident scored 30 goals en route to blockbuster Ukraine, 10 each. That was the most of three teammates in any edition of the tournament.
In the years that followed, they won the Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Club World Cup, as well as the Champions League.
In total, they played 105 league games as an offensive unit, dating back to the 2017/18 season. Individually, Salah unsurprisingly leads with 65 goals and 21 assists. Behind him, the outgoing Mane scored 44 goals and set up 17 more.
Firmino, meanwhile, still scored an impressive 35 goals and recorded 16 assists.
As a trio, they scored 54 league goals together, a key factor in their success.
In total, Salah, Firmino and Mane played 105 league games together, scoring 144 goals
Gareth Bale/Karim Benzema/Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
69 league games played, 158 goals
This trio have sensationally won the Champions League four times, with each of the stars – Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo – proving equally crucial.
They came in response to Barcelona’s impressive MVP and were just as effective. They scored goals for fun and ensured that Madrid remained serial winners.
Bale met a low-key end to his Bernabeu career, which was a huge shame considering his exploits in his early years there, particularly in his first season.
He managed a cup double in his first year, with Bale scoring important goals in both finals.
At their best, they were untouchable. They won the 2013/13 Copa del Rey, three UEFA Super Cups and four FIFA Club World Cups.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema have won the Champions League four times
Memorably, they won LaLiga in 2016/17 but would have wanted more league glory.
Their stats, when broken down, make fascinating reading.
Ronaldo tops the charts for the trio after scoring 80 goals and providing 28 assists. Teammates Benzema and Bale scored 41 and 37 goals respectively.
As for serving teammates, both Bale and Benzema have 22 assists each.
In LaLiga, they scored 70 goals combined, surpassing Liverpool’s three total.
Wayne Rooney/Cristiano Ronaldo/Carlos Tevez (Manchester United)
21 league games played, 40 goals
Manchester United have been blessed with a number of world-class partnerships over the years but perhaps none can match the exploits of this deadly trio.
What set these stars apart was that none of them were ever really a true No.9 or winger. Instead, they combined beautifully to leave their rivals in the dark.
This meant that Ronaldo could have fired on target with any attack in the middle, while Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez flanked him.
But just minutes later, they exchanged ideas and introduced a fresh, exciting dynamic.
The results speak for themselves. United have won the Premier League twice, the Champions League once, the League Cup and the Club World Cup.
Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez (L) and Ronaldo won multiple trophies at Manchester United
They were also just one win away from a second straight Premier League and European Cup doubles, underscoring their dominance both at home and abroad.
But this trio is held back by a lack of playing time compared to the others.
In fact, they only started 21 league games together. In those games, Ronaldo scored 19 goals, while Rooney and Tevez netted eight and 13, respectively.
Unsurprisingly, Rooney had the most assists with seven.
In total, they scored 23 goals in the top division.
Lionel Messi/David Villa/Pedro (Barcelona)
28 league games played, 68 goals
Was this trio part of the best club team in the world? This author believes so.
Between 2010 and 2012, Barcelona, then managed by Pep Guardiola, were at their daring, stunning and all-conquering best.
Her tika-taka style was known around the world, but her pioneering role was largely due to the three magicians at the helm – Messi, David Villa and Pedro.
Messi often acted in the role of false nine, allowing him to dictate play from deep and ensuring he remained a threat on goal. Everything revolved around him.
Villa from the left and Pedro from the right would give him excellent support.
Barcelona were an excellent team between 2010 and 2012 led by David Villa, Messi and Pedro
Whenever Messi was left out of a game, it was one of those two who emerged with crucial goals. The end product? A colossal winning machine.
However, Villa’s crippling injury sadly broke up that group of brothers, meaning Barcelona have stumbled in LaLiga and, shockingly, the Champions League.
A look at the numbers reveals that, unsurprisingly, Messi was the standout name.
He scored a total of 39 league goals playing with his two teammates and also amassed 17 assists. Villa scored 12 goals while Pedro himself scored 12 goals.
In total, they scored 37 league goals between 2010/11 and 2012/13.
Lionel Messi/Luis Suarez/Neymar (Barcelona)
67 league games played, 153 goals
Both visually and statistically, this trio is the greatest thing football has ever seen. Each of the three is sensationally good, but together they make a deadly spear.
Of course there was competition in between. But they were also selfless, leading to a hat-full goal fest in countless games.
During their glorious time together in Catalonia, they won two consecutive national doubles, the 2014/15 Treble and three consecutive Copa del Rey trophies.
Led by Messi at the heart of this masterpiece, their connection was seamless. It was as if they were telepathic, so great was their ability to predict each other’s ideas.
And on the same wavelength, they plunged a dagger into the heart of many sides.
But statistically, the best trio on this list, if not all, were Luis Suarez, Neymar and Messi
Suarez’s role in this triumvirate was to be the goal machine, a poacher. But he also welcomed an assist, a well-deserved reward for his hard work and pressing.
On the other hand, Neymar brought unpredictability. He would enjoy having the ball glued to his feet and causing defenders to submit before firing home.
It was his departure that split the trio, but as long as they were together they were unbeatable.
In total, they played 67 LaLiga matches together. Messi led with 67 goals and 25 assists, while No.9 Suarez scored 59 goals and recorded 34 assists.
Neymar was also there with 30 goals and 19 assists.