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Although he started the season rather slowly, Messi has been his usual scintillating self - notching 28 goals and 11 assists in 32 La Liga appearances this term.
Since the turn of the year, the 33-year-old has 26 goals and nine assists in 26 games. He's also won 18 Man of the Match awards and is producing the sort of form that could potentially bring him a seventh Ballon d'Or award.
Robert Lewandowski has hit an incredible 43 goals in all competitions for Bayern Munich and finds himself in third spot, just ahead of Manchester City defender/midfielder/playmaker/ Joao Cancelo, who is the top performer in the Premier League as per the study.
Cancelo's teammates Rodri Hernandez, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez are all in the top ten after stellar seasons in what could be a treble-winning campaign for City.
Jesse Lingard only started playing football regularly when he joined West Ham on loan in January but the England international is in eighth place after a wonderful return of 9 goals and four assists in 11 Premier League appearances.
CIES have used an index developed by sports data company InStat, focusing on "the technical gestures achieved by players, their playing time, as well as the level of the competitions in which matches were played".
Only those who have played over 1000 minutes in their respective leagues this term were considered. Here is the list in full, featuring each player's index.
1. Lionel Messi - 405
2. Neymar - 381
3. Robert Lewandowski - 371
4. Joao Cancelo - 368
5. Rodri Hernandez - 366
6. Kevin De Bruyne - 366
7. Riyad Mahrez - 365
8. Jesse Lingard - 358
9. Ilkay Gundogan - 357
10. Jack Grealish - 356
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