Barcelona fans, rejoice! The blaugrana's first game of the season will begin in just a few days, and even though their search for the sextete is over, the hunt for a third triplete is about to commence. However, before the fun truly gets underway, there is one small matter that must be addressed: the 2015 UEFA Best Player Award.
A few days ago, UEFA named their three finalists for the award. The list, which consists of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Luis Suarez, did not hold any real surprises; each of these players has been pivotal in the overall success of their respective clubs. Nevertheless, fans, critics, and analysts around the world have contested the list, believing that Barcelona's Neymar is more deserving of a top spot than his counterpart, Ronaldo. And according to information gathered by Sportsmatrix, they may be right.
After a quick analysis of the most pertinent data, the evidence clearly shows that Barcelona's trident should have been UEFA's top nominees. The Brazilian (23.3%), while averaging much fewer dangerous shots on goal than Ronaldo (32.8%), managed to score half a goal more per shot than the Portuguese international. Furthermore, Neymar's (8.7) chance creation attempts per game was significantly higher that CR7's (6.8).
Unfortunately, Neymar was not without his flaws. The Barcelona striker lost possession of the ball (9.4%) on a few more occasions than Madrid's main man (9.0%), while Ronaldo's good actions (32.9%) in the first two-thirds of the pitch were better than even Messi's (30.1%). On the other hand, Neymar had a higher percentage from team actions (9.2%) than Ronaldo (7.2%).
The numbers give Neymar a definite advantage over Cristiano Ronaldo and prove that he should've bested him during the nominations. But all statistics aside, there are three very clear reasons that show, without a doubt, Neymar's supremacy: La Liga champion, Copa del Rey champion, and UEFA Champions League champion. Enough said.
UEFA's Best Player will be announced during the 2015/16 Champions League group stage draw in Monaco on Thursday, August 27th.