Dos Santos opens eyes at Barcelona 

February, 7, 2012

At one point during Jonathan dos Santos' first league start of the year for Barcelona on Saturday against Real Sociedad, he made a run from the middle of the field toward the attacking third, stopped near the midfield line and delivered a long pass to the left wing that met its target in perfect stride.

Though it was not as fancy as a bicycle kick, the move was equally stunning and breathtaking, and it spoke of fanciful possibilities for Mexican fans and officials alike. One could imagine dos Santos delivering the same type of passes to Andres Guardado or Pablo Barrera on the wings for Mexico, which could then open up uncontested crosses into the box for Chicharito.

In short, dos Santos' play in Saturday 2-1 win was remarkable. By halftime, dos Santos had completed a team-high 58 passes, according to Opta Stats provided by the ESPN Stats and Information Group. Just nine other players in La Liga have completed as many or more passes by halftime this season. And that list is star studded: Xavi (16 times), Thiago (4), Dani Alves (3), Bruno Soriano Llido, Victor Ruiz, Xabi Alonso, Seydou Keita, Sergio Busquets, and Eric Abidal.