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Study states Messi is the greatest player in La Liga history and Ronaldo is only 17th

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Turns out, data backs up what we all knew

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

A study by The Centre of Historical and Statistical Investigations of Spanish Football (CIHEFE) has stated what we all knew, that Lionel Messi is the greatest player ever to grace La Liga.

The CIHEFE has published their list of the top 300 players in La Liga history and top of the pile is, of course, the Barca genius.

A total of 9,280 players have played in the top flight division since its beginnings in 1929 and the list compiles the players based on a number of factors:

  • minutes played per season,
  • how many goals the individual scored,
  • different types of play,
  • penalties or own goals.

Researcher Jose Antonio Ortega revealed the methods used in the study since he must have known the backlash that would occur in some parts of Spain had it been kept in private.

The results determined that in the 86 seasons that the Spanish league has been around, Messi is the best player to play in the league with a total of 545 points. Second on the list is former Real Madrid striker, Raúl Gonzaléz and third is Barcelona’s César Rodriguez.

Real Madrid CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Messi has poured in 349 goals and is by the far the highest scoring player in La Liga history. His best season thus far occurred in the 2011-12 season amassing 50 goals in a single season alone, including eight hat-tricks. The following year he scored in 21 straight games during the 2012-13 season.

"technique, ambition, talent and ability that have made him (Messi) one of the most valuable players of all time".

Jose Antonio Ortega

The next active player on the list is Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo at 17th. Ronaldo is the second highest goal scorer in La Liga history with 285 goals, but only finished with 415 points in Ortega’s report.

Other Barcelona players of note are Xavi finishing 49th, Kubala at 90th, Puyol at 195th, Iniesta at 229th, and Rivaldo at 290th.