Stories

Yet another stunning statistic that reveals just how good Lionel Messi really is

Lionel Messi

It's now reached the stage where we've run out of ways to say that we've run out of ways to say that Lionel Messi is an incredible footballer. So with that in mind, we thought it would be sensible to let the numbers do the talking instead

We are part of The Trust Project What is it?

The Barcelona captain has a phenomenal goalscoring record since making his first-team debut in 2004, having found the net 612 times in 698 appearances for his only club. 

Messi has also laid on hundreds of goals for his Barcelona team-mates, proving himself a world-class creator as well as converter of chances.

But the Argentina international's standout attribute is probably his dribbling. Watching Messi weave his way in and out of challenges is one of the finest sights in football, with the ball seemingly tied to his wand of a left foot.

Even as he approaches his 33rd birthday, it's a common sight to witness Messi carrying the ball forward and taking opponents out of the game. And it isn't a trick of the mind to think that he does so more than most other players in Europe.

Indeed, there is one man way out in front in the list of the most prolific dribblers in the continent's top five leagues since Opta began collecting such data in 2006. Messi has completed 1,880 take-ons for Barcelona in that time, at a healthy success rate of 57.2% - the second-best percentage of those in the top 10.

While Messi's position at the top of the dribbling ranking isn't too much of a surprise, the distance between him and second-placed Eden Hazard is remarkable. The Real Madrid man has an almost identical success rate of 57.1%, but he's 'only' completed 1,220 take-ons - 660 fewer than Messi.

Franck Ribery (939), Sergio Aguero (832) and Cristiano Ronaldo (816) complete the top five, followed by Joaquin (798), Hatem Ben Arfa (770), Andres Iniesta (739), Roberto Firmino (736) and Neymar (734). 

Iniesta, a long-time team-mate of Messi's at Barcelona before his departure in 2018, is the only player with a superior success rate, at 60.9%, although he completed 1,141 fewer dribbles than his erstwhile colleague.

Lionel Messi: pretty good at football. You heard it here first.

While you're here, why not take advantage of our brilliant subscribers' offer? Get the game's greatest stories and best journalism direct to your door for only £9.50 every quarter. Cheers!

NOW READ...

COMMENT How the 'Zlatan Ibrahimovic' character came to overshadow the player's incredible talent

QUIZ Can you name every English scorer in the 2019/20 Premier League?

GUIDE Premier League live stream best VPN: how to watch every game from anywhere in the world

New features you'll love on FourFourTwo.com