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MSN vs BBC - Statistical comparison so far this season

A statistical comparison between two of the world's best attacking trios, so far in the 2016-17 season.

ronaldo and messi
Ronaldo and Messi, who has the better stat?

Arguably, the biggest of rivalries in world football is that of La Liga giants Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Football's biggest stars take on each other in a bid to establish their superiority. Popularly known as the El Clasico, it's the stage for the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and the Lionel Messi to showcase their skills.

Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi is the most discussed topic in contemporary football. While the Los Blancos have Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo in their ranks, the likes of Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, feature for La Blaugrana.

The Madrid trio is fondly called BBC by the fans while the Barca trio is famous as the MSN. It’ll be fair to say that football has thrived on their rivalry on the field in the last couple of seasons. If BBC fire from all fronts one day, MSN match up to, if not overcome, BBC's performance the very next day and vice-versa.  While MSN has triumphed on some occasions, BBC as well has their own stories to tell.

Also read: Antoine Griezmann says he's not on par with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo yet

Keeping subjective comparison aside, what do the numbers have to say? I have attempted a detailed statistical comparison between MSN and BBC in the La Liga and the UEFA Champions League so far this season. Numbers do not always tell the whole story, but who is to argue that it is not an objective process to pass a judgment?

Goals scored

MSN
MSN has scored more goals

Barca trio of Messi, Suarez and Neymar has been in rousing form from the start of the season. MSN has scored a total of 25 goals in 28 appearances. However, Bale, Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, have been a tad off-colour due to injuries as they have scored only 11 goals in 27 games.

In La Liga, MSN has found the net 15 times. While Suarez leads the pack with 6 goals in 8 appearances, Messi is just behind him with 5 goals and Neymar has 4 goals. In the UEFA Champions League, they have scored 10 goals, with Messi scoring six goals. Neymar and Suarez have 2 goals apiece.

BBC, on the other hand, have managed just 8 goals in the 17 La Liga games that they have featured in. While Bale and Benzema have scored thrice, Ronaldo has scored only two goals in the league. In nine Champions Leagues matches, BBC has netted thrice with the Portuguese forward scoring twice and Bale scoring the other goal. Only Benzema has featured in one domestic cup competition in which he did not score.

With Ronaldo and Bale missing out the initial action due to an extended holiday after the Euro 2016, their numbers might not be very impressive. However, BBC will surely cover the lost ground and will catch up with MSN sooner rather than later.

Assists provided

Ney bale
Neymar and Bale during an El Clasico

The Barcelona forwards lead the Madrid forwards in terms of assists provided so far this season as well. While the Barca trio has made 17 passes which directly lead to a goal, Ronaldo and Co. have assisted only five times, in the La Liga and the UEFA Champions League combined.

Of the 8 assists by MSN in the Spanish top division, Suarez and Neymar have made three each while Messi has assisted twice. In the Champions League, the South American trio have amassed 9 assists, 5 of those being provided by Brazilian superstar Neymar. Suarez and Messi have assisted twice each in the Champions League.

Madrid’s European trio has not been able to match up to MSN, providing only 5 assists in La Liga and the Champions League so far. While Ronaldo leads the chart among his Madrid teammates with four assists, two each in the two competitions, Benzema has not provided a single assist so far into the season. Bale has one solitary assist in the Champions League and this is one stat that BBC would surely like to improve on.

Shots taken per game

BBC
BBC have taken more shots per game

Although the Real Madrid trio has scored a lesser number of goals in comparison to the Catalan side’s trio, the stats for the number of shots taken per game favours BBC over MSN. Messi, Suarez and Neymar have taken 5.3, 2.7 and 3.2 shots per game in both competitions so far respectively.

On an average, Euro 2016 winner, Cristiano Ronaldo, has taken an incredible six shots per game. Bale and Benzema are also not to be left behind with 3.4 and 3.2 shots per game respectively, a stat which showcases the attacking intent of Madrid. 

Key Passes per game

With a higher number of assists, it does not come as a surprise that MSN has made more key passes per game than BBC on an average. While the 24-year-old Neymar has made around 2.8 key passes per game, Messi has executed 2, and Suarez has made 1.8 such passes.

On the other hand, French international Benzema has made just one key pass per game at an average. With Ronaldo making 1.4 key passes on an average and Bale making 1.2, the Madrid trio has clearly failed to hit the ground running so far this season.

Passing accuracy

While Barcelona are known for their ‘tiki-taka’ brand of football, Real Madrid play a more counter-attacking style. With the possession based gameplay, one might feel that Messi, Suarez and Neymar should have higher pass success rates than their Madrid rivals. However, stats tell a different story.

Also read: La Liga 2016/17: Lionel Messi, Neymar or I will win the Golden Boot next year, says Luis Suarez

Messi’s overall successful passing rate is 79.3%, while his teammates, Neymar and Suarez, have even lower percentages at 75% and 72.3%, respectively. Surprisingly, Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema have higher success rate when it comes to passing the ball around. Ronaldo has an astoundingly high 86.7% and is followed by Benzema, who has a rate of 85.6%. Only Welsh star Bale has a successful passing rate below 80% at 77.7%.

Overall (in La Liga 2016-17 and UEFA Champions League 2016-17)

The table given below shows the different statistics for each player individually as well as the combined goal and assist records.

PlayerAGASSpGKPPS
Lionel Messi81145.3279.3
Luis Suarez11852.71.472.3
Neymar9683.22.875
Total (MSN)282517---
Karim Benzema9303.2185.6
Gareth Bale10413.41.277.7
Cristiano Ronaldo84461.486.7
Total (BBC)27115---

*A- Appearances, G- Goals scored, AS- assists, SpG- Shots per game, KP- Key passes per game, PS- Passing success rate.

This table gives a clear picture as to how MSN have owned BBC (statistically speaking) so far into the season.

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