An analysis conducted by the CIES Football Observatory has named Barcelona attacker Lionel Messi the top performing forward in Europe’s elite leagues for 2015, while Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo came in at 29th. The study analyzed players based on six Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, including rigor, recovery, distribution, take-ons, chance creation, and shooting.
Messi has scored 17 goals in La Liga in 2015; Ronaldo has netted just six.
According to the study, it’s Arjen Robben who is Messi’s closest competition. The Bayern Munich winger came in second with his Netherlands teammate, Bas Dost coming third. Messi’s Barça teammate Luis Suarez came in fourth, followed by Chelsea striker Diego Costa in fifth and Tottenham striker Harry Kane in sixth.
While Ronaldo came in at a relatively lowly 29th, that’s significantly better than his Real Madrid “BBC” teammates Gareth Bale (35th) and Karim Benzema (37th).
In terms of attacking midfielders, the study ranked Chelsea’s Eden Hazard first with Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil rather surprisingly coming in at second. Manchester City’s Jesus Navas came third, making it a Premier League sweep for the top three.
The study focused on players from the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, German Bundesliga and France’s Ligue 1.
Messi sat out Argentina’s friendly against El Salvador over the weekend due to a foot injury he picked up in last week’s Clasico against Real Madrid. The injury was apparently aggravated during training leading up to the match, causing Messi’s foot to swell. Currently the Barcelona star is in doubt to take part in Argentina’s next friendly against Ecuador on Tuesday.
It’s not yet known whether Messi’s injury will prove serious enough to prevent him from taking part in Barcelona’s weekend’s La Liga outing away at Celta Vigo.