If you’ve watched Barcelona this season, you’ve likely thought to yourself, “Damn, Messi looks gooood.” Not that Messi doesn’t always look good, but he looks good in a John Wick sorta “Oh you think I deserve 5th in the Ballon d’Or, watch this” kind of spiteful way.
It’s nice when stats back up the eyeball test.
Ryan O’Hanlon‘s consistently great No Grass in the Clouds does a fantastic job providing the data to match the eyes.
Here’s Messi’s expected non-penalty goals and assists per 90 chart this season (via The Dummy Run). Messi is 31. Typically players peak around 27. Messi (and to a lesser degree, Ronaldo) are not your typical players, obv.
Here’s a better version of the chart. pic.twitter.com/EkpYCRulbN
— Dummy Run (@thedummyrun) January 14, 2019
O’Hanlon uncovered more data galore to back up what you’re seeing. And what are you seeing? A historically great season from history’s greatest player.
Messi didn’t start vs. Leganes, but he subbed in an obv notched another goal, making it 401 in La Liga (a number no player has ever accomplished in any domestic league, though if Kylian Mbappe stays in Ligue Un for a decade, he should break that mark by next year, because, you know, Ligue Un).
It may take the dualfecta of a La Liga crown (Barcelona is currently 85% to win there) and Champions League title (14% there) for Messi to get his just justification as perhaps having the greatest season ever in club soccer’s history.
Even if those titles don’t happen, he’s at least a lock to improve upon his 5th place Ballon d’Or this go around.