Ask the Stats: Lionel Messi Ranked as Best Player in La Liga History According to Study

Monday August 7th, 2017

A recent study has revealed that Lionel Messi is the best player in the history of Spanish league football.

AS published a report on the study that was carried out by the Centro de Investigaciones deHistoria y Estadística del Fútbol Español(CIHEFE) - The Centre of Historical and Statistical Investigations of Spanish Football.

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The study concludes that former Real Madrid striker, Raúl Gonzaléz is the second best ahead of ex-Barcelona player César Rodriguez in third, with former Athletic Bilbao player Telmo Zarra and Enrique Castro, who played for Sporting Gijón and Barcelona completing the top five.

Results are based on a series of coefficients that include minutes played per season, goals scored in open play, penalties and own goals as well as sending-offs in each of their campaigns in Spanish football. 

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José Antonio Ortega conducted the study with the expert saying "all of the evaluations are tallied with a scoring system that is simple and homogeneous that evaluates the footballers with the same analysis across all seasons." 


The recordings started from almost 90 years ago and 9,280 players have featured in what is now known as La Liga, with 854 of them being goalkeepers.

According to Ortega, the top 10 is: Messi with a total of 545 points, Raúl 528, Cesar Rodriguez 524, Zarra 493, Quini 488, Juan Arza (481), Alfredo di Stéfano 481, Paco Gento 467, Carlos Alonso 464 and finally Guillermo Gorostiza 454.

Perhaps most surprising is that position of Real Madrid star-man Cristiano Ronaldo who is in 17th with 415 points. Scoring 285 goals, the next highest active player is Athletic Club's Aritz Aduriz in 67th place, with  314 points and 146 goals.

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