Cristiano Ronaldo won the Best FIFA Men’s The Best Player award on Monday, earning one of world football’s most prestigious individual prizes after an incredible 2016-17 season.
Ronaldo’s prowess in front of goal helped Madrid to FIFA Club World Cup, LaLiga and Champions League glory last season.
But do the stats back up his reaffirmed status as the world’s best player?
With the help of Opta data, we compare his 2016-17 numbers with those of the men he beat to the award, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and his former team-mate Neymar, who left Camp Nou for Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record €222million move in August, to find out.
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52 – It was Messi who was the top scorer of the trio last term, with his 54 superior to the 42 netted by Ronaldo and well ahead of Neymar’s 20.
82.44 – Messi also had the best minutes per goal ratio of the three, scoring every 82.44 minutes.
21 – However, it is Neymar who had the most assists in 2016-17, supplying 21 goals for team-mates. Messi is second with 16, while Ronaldo was the last productive provider, registering just 11 assists.
375 – Ronaldo’s minutes per assist ratio was by far the worst of the three. He only laid on a goal every 375 minutes. Messi was second with an assist every 278.25 minutes but still trailed Neymar’s tally of one every 189.10 minutes.
So, is FIFA right to hand the award to Ronaldo? Despite his contributions to a trophy-laded campaign, the data suggests the gong should have gone to Messi.
— Patrick Stewart (@SirPatStew) October 23, 2017
Though Neymar trumps him in assists and assists per goal, Messi finished no lower than second in any category and was directly involved in 70 goals, comfortably more than Ronaldo (53) and Neymar (41).
After such an impressive year, you could forgive the diminutive Argentina superstar for feeling a little aggrieved, although he didn’t seem like it during the awards.