Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé: Who are soccer's best partnerships?

There have been numerous iconic strike partnerships down the years. Think Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole, Gary Lineker and Peter Beardsley or Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham.

But it's not only centre-forwards. All over the pitch, and even in the dugout, partnerships are an integral part of success in soccer.

So, as we approach Valentine's Day, we've turned the spotlight on seven of the most successful partnerships currently in world soccer. 

1. Neymar and Kylian Mbappé

Paris Saint-Germain changed soccer forever in the summer of 2017 when they spent a world-record fee to bring Neymar to the French capital from FC Barcelona for a whopping $252million.

That was just the appetiser, though, and less than a month later self-confessed PSG fan and poster boy for French soccer Kylian Mbappé followed, initially on loan, but with a $164million obligation to buy.

PSG had staked a lot on this working and their outlay was quickly justified. In their first season together they managed 49 goals between them in all competitions. With 42 already they are on course to trump that record. 

2. Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci

These two are so good together they just couldn't bear staying apart. In the summer of 2017 AC Milan forked out some $58million to bring Bonucci, widely regarded as one of the best central defenders in the world, to San Siro to kickstart a Rossoneri revolution.

But the move did not work out for either party and Juventus reunited Bonucci with Chiellini in Turin after just a single season apart, sending Gonzalo Higuaín and Mattia Caldara in the opposite direction to sweeten the deal.

The pair have been a mainstay of Italy's defence over the last decade and helped the Bianconeri become the dominant force in Serie A, winning six consecutive Scudetti together. Now they're back together, it's like they've never been apart.

3. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette

Some unions are forged through hard work over a long time, while others just occur naturally. The burgeoning relationship between Arsenal forwards Aubameyang and Lacazette falls into the latter category.

Yet it might not have been this way. Initially, it looked as though the arrival of Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018 would compromise Lacazette's place in the Gunners' starting XI.

But instead of causing problems for coach Unai Emery the pair have brought the best out of one another and Lacazette has assisted three goals for the Gabonese striker this term. Between them they have 24 Premier League strikes already.

Oh, and they have a neat handshake, too.

4. Harry Kane and Heung-min Son

Although they have only begun playing together regularly as a strike pairing this season, the understanding between Tottenham Hotspur pair Kane and Son has been evident for some time now.

Last season the Korean laid on four goals for the England captain who benefitted from three assists by the former Bayer Leverkusen forward in 2016/17 too. 

This season they have thrived while playing together as an out-and-out strike pairing and between them have 24 goals and nine assists for the title dark horses.

5. Jordi Alba and Lionel Messi 

We thought long and hard about including Messi's FC Barcelona strike partner Luis Suárez; the overlap between the two forwards is, on the face of it, far greater than with left-back Alba.

In the end we couldn't separate them so we've included both men.

There is evidently a special understanding between the Spaniard and the Argentine. Already this season the flying full-back has assisted three goals for Barça's all-time leading scorer, only two fewer than he managed in the entirety of last season. 

6. Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi

There's a special South American bond between the Uruguayan and the Argentine which has been cultivated since the day Suárez joined Barcelona from Liverpool in 2014.

Over the last three seasons, the Blaugrana No.9 has laid on 17 goals for the diminutive genius. No-one in LaLiga has been part of a more productive supply line and while Messi routinely scores incredible solo goals which require little input from others, he is even more dangerous with Suárez alongside him.

7. Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus

It's been a remarkable breakout season for Borussia Dortmund forward Sancho and the English wideman has benefitted from the experience of captain and fellow attacker Reus inside him at No.10.

The German international is enjoying his most prolific season since the 2015/16 campaign having overcome his injury woes and surprise Bundesliga leaders BVB are reaping the benefits.

With 13 league goals to his name, Reus is Dortmund's main man and he owes plenty to his young apprentice who has laid on the assists for three of those strikes – a third of his total assists this season in the Bundesliga.

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