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Statistics: Over the Last 10 Seasons, No One Compares to Lionel Messi

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Messi is the king of assists and goals - and no one compares to him when it comes to combined totals.

Barcelona v Leganes - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Over the past 10 seasons, no player has scored more goals or assisted more than Lionel Messi, a record he seeks to extend this season. That means, also, that no one compares to him when it comes to a combined total of goals plus assists.

From the 2008-09 season to the end of the 2017-18 season, Lionel Messi has scored 510 goals for his club in all competitions. Cristiano Ronaldo is second with 476. Messi has 212 assists, while Mesut Özil has 205. Messi dominates when it comes to goals plus assists. He has 722 in this time period, while Ronaldo is second with 619.

Messi had a higher total every season apart from 2013-14 (the year he got injured for a while) and 2015-16 (by two). In fact, Messi’s lowest total - 55 - is still higher than 4/10 Ronaldo seasons here, including the past two. You’ll also notice that Messi’s low in assists (14) is similar to Ronaldo’s average (14.3), while Ronaldo’s high (22) is similar to Messi’s average (21.2). When it comes to goals, there’s no question that these are the top two in this decade. Messi has hit nine seasons in a row with at least 40 goals, and Ronaldo is on eight.

In fact, let’s talk about goals specifically. Here’s Messi, Ronaldo, and six other prolific scoers - plus a column of the highest I could find among those not already listed.

Messi’s dominance in the scoring charts is actually absurd. Over the past 10 seasons, Messi has scored more than anyone in the top 5 leagues seven times. The other three times, he was second twice, and he was third once. The time he was third, he kind of did it to himself - he assisted a lot of Luis Suárez’s goals, and the Uruguayan came first.

Messi’s average season over the past 10 seasons is 51 goals. For perspective, only one striker besides Ronaldo scored 51 goals or more in that time - Suárez, who again, was helped by Messi.

Messi has the highest high - an incredible 73 goals - and also the lowest low among the top 8 scorers compared. That helps him get the highest average, and also, obviously, the highest total.

When it comes to goals, Messi is first and Ronaldo is clearly next, though it’s debatable who comes in third. Cavani has scored the most goals after the two, although he is a distant third in that regard. Suárez has the highest single-season total and has the best average of the group. Zlatan Ibrahimović combines a really high total with a high average as well. And so on, all of them have their merits. Please let me know what your opinion on this one is.

Now, onto assists.

As you see, once again Messi comes out on top. Second is Özil, and they are basically a class above everyone else. Ángel Di María is a distant third, after which come others pretty close to his total.

Once again, Messi not only has the highest total, but the highest single-season high, the highest single season low among the group, and the highest average.

Özil‘s run between 2008-09 and 2012-13 is insane. He was averaging almost 27 assists a season. Very few players in the world get 27 assists as a career high, let alone as a five-season average.

Where Messi has him beat is in consistency. Messi’s lowest total is 14, which Özil has matched or lowered four times. Still, he deserves a lot of plaudits for his production.

So, if Messi has the most goals and the most assists, than obviously, he had the highest goal + assist total. Still, I think it bears making it clear: Messi has more goals than assists than a composite of Ronaldo’s goals and Özil’s assists.

Messi has more than CR+Ozil in 6/10 seasons. He has a 41 more total, which is a lot. And he has a higher season-high, a lower season-low, and a higher average. This right here is probably it as far as I’m concerned. The domination on a statistical level spelled out as clearly as it can.

Author’s note: I’ve been collecting these stats because I have not seen them analyzed in this manner. It’s actually sometimes difficult to find a ranking of the best assisters and goalscorers of the top 5 leagues, including all competitions, per season. I wanted to break it down into simple charts. I’m only counting goals scored in any domestic competition from the top 5 leagues, plus the Europa League, Champions League, and Club World Cup. If you see a number in italics, this means the player scored a few goals in a competition that I am counting, but didn’t play in a top 5 league that season (or only half a season there.) For example, if a player played in the Portuguese league and then played in the Champions League the same season, I would only count goals he scored in the Champions League, not the ones in the Portuguese league or cups. I’m not including that kind of year as a low number and not counting it for averages. I haven’t yet added numbers from this season, just because it’s so early. Also, I like the fact that we are looking at a nice round number of seasons, like 10, which coincidentally is right about the time that Messi and Ronaldo started posting crazy numbers. Also small corrections in the tweets: I listed Agüero’s low as 18, but it’s 17; and I wrote that the player with the most goals besides Messi was Özil, I meant most goal assists.