Leading sports scientist Simon Brundish says there is no argument about who is who is the best footballer in the world.
“While he’s alive, there’s only Lionel Messi,” Brundish says. “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.”
To back up his bold (if popular) assertion, Brundish has a set of statistics.
“Currently Messi has a goal or assist every 48 minutes,” he says. “Bearing in mind that every game is almost 95 minutes long (when injury time is included) that’s two almost every single game.”
That is impressive in itself, but Brundish says the real supremacy of Messi lies not only in his goalscoring feats but also how highly he rates in a statistic known as xG-build.
This metric awards points to every player involved in a goal except from the person who supplied the final pass (assist) and the goalscorer.
For example, if a goalkeeper started a move by passing to a defender, who then played the ball to winger before squaring for a striker to score, the goalkeeper and defender would score statistical points under the xG-Build system.
Given Messi’s prodigious goal and assist rate, you might expect his xG-build score to lag behind other players who have more of a role in the early-stage buildup to a goal, but Brundish says that’s not the case.
Messi scores considerably higher in xG-build than some of the world’s most potent playmakers, including Eden Hazard, Mesut Özil, and Christian Eriksen. He also outperforms such accomplished goalscorers as Cristiano Ronaldo, Mohamed Salah, and Neymar.
So it’s been scientifically proved: Leo is #1.