Lionel Messi News: Big Data reveals the player most similar to Messi
What's the story?
As reported by Sport in conjunction with sports data analysis company Driblab, the player most similar to Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi is Chelsea's Eden Hazard, who is a 92.7% match to the Argentine magician. The numbers were crunched based on 12 parameters, covering over 71,600 players, across 2,300 teams.
In case you didn't know...
Messi is having yet another monstrous season and is one of the top favourites to a lift a record sixth Ballon d'Or. With a brace over Eibar this weekend, he finished the La Liga season with an astonishing 36 league goals in 29 starts, romping to a record-equalling sixth Pichichi award.
His exploits resulted in Barcelona winning the La Liga title with four matchdays to spare. Messi also rules the roost in the UEFA Champions League Top Scorer and European Golden Shoe races.
Faltering in the Champions League semi-finals, where Barcelona were sensationally eliminated by Liverpool, La Pulga is looking to guide Barcelona to a second successive domestic double as they face Valencia in the Copa del Rey final this weekend.
The heart of the matter
Driblab took into consideration over 12 different components and performed big data analytics to find players most similar to Messi. The parameters considered were participation in the play, goals scored per shots taken, expected goals per game, shots taken, touches in the opposition's box, expected assists per game, key passes, times the ball is lost, pressing, and completed shots.
With 71,600 players in over 23,000 teams analysed, Chelsea and Belgium international winger Eden Hazard finished as the player most similar to the Argentine 'Messiah' with a 92.7% match.
Hazard has been in sensational form this season for the Blues, scoring 19 goals and contributing 16 assists in all competitions. His form has been one of the driving forces behind Mauricio Sarri's side nailing down a top-four finish in the Premier League and qualifying for the UEFA Europa League final, where they are set to face Arsenal on 30th May.
PSG striker and World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe came in second with a 91.3% match while Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero finished third with 91.1% level of similarity.
Messi and Barcelona head to the Benito Villamarín Stadium this Saturday to face Valencia in the Copa del Rey final, as they look to secure a second successive domestic double.