Sports Scientist Analyses Lionel Messi's Incredible Stats For Barcelona
The brilliance of Lionel Messi is lost on nobody and as the star-studded forward is putting together yet another simply sublime campaign for Barcelona that could land him his sixth Ballon d'Or in no time at all, the brilliance of the Argentine forward has been put into perspective by sports scientist Simon Brundish.
The debate over who is the world's greatest footballer is argued about daily across the internet, but Simon is convinced that it's Messi, and has the data to prove it.
"If you're saying anybody else is the best player in the world, Messi's had a broken leg for a year, or he's dead, or you're lying," he said in an interview with CNN Sport last December (via Reddit).
So far this season the 31-year-old has 60 combined goals and assists, the next closest? Cristiano Ronaldo with 36.
Let's not forget that Messi was out for three weeks in October with a fractured arm, meaning that he missed five games for Barça, making his achievements all the more astonishing.
"Currently Messi has a goal or assist every 48 minutes, bear in mind every game is roughly 95 minutes long that's almost two every single game."
"Last season it was 58 minutes... still kind of elite," he said.
"If we were talking Premier League greats Alan Shearer will still talk about a goal every two games being that's what a great striker gets, he gets two every game, this is insanity.
"If you look at the underlying statistics look at xG (expected goals), you can break this down further into xG-build. You reverse engineer from the final shot and award a number to everyone involved in the passing leading up to that.
"You'd expect that Luka Modric, the greatest of all playmakers, that's where he would excel."
Last season Messi had 0.7 xG-build per 90 in a group with Salah, Hazard, Neymar, Ronaldo and Messi where the best was 0.81.
"While Messi had the best finishing part, in xG-build they remove the value of the final pass or the goal, so you can't be rewarded if you made the assist and he still had a better score than Modric, as well as a goal or assist every 48 minutes and playing 1,000 more minutes than Modric."
Is this enough to convince you that Messi is the greatest of all time? Let us know in the comments.
Words by George Buksmann
Featured Image Credit: PA