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Bale better than Messi? Let's take a deeper look into the statistics

by Fake Eric Cantona
Jan 28, 2014 3:41 PM EST



Recently, sports journalist Albero Pinero made the claim that Bale is outperforming Messi in La Liga. The comment section that followed was to be expected. And to be fair, I found myself one of the readers that felt that the claim was ridiculous, and that the numbers are too shallow to base any claim upon.

These metrics should be taken into account with how strong the opposition is this season, how much the player contributed to the success of the team.

Bale's Stats:

Table Rank; Team Name; Goals; Assists; Etc.

5th Villareal - 1 g; 0 a - 50%

12th Getafe - DNP

2nd Atletico - 0%

16th Malaga - 0%

1st Barcelona - 0%

7th Sevilla - 2 g; 2 a - 57%

19th Rayo - 0 g; 2 a - 66%

6th Sociedad - 0 g; 1 a - 20%

15th Almeria - 1 g; 0 a - 20%

18th Valladolid - 3 g; 1 a - 100%

14th Osasuna - 0%

13th Celta Vigo - 0 g; 1 a - 33%

9th Espanyol - 0%

20th Betis - 1 g; 0 a - 20%

11th Granada - 0%

Total: 26.14%

Actually that is very impressive. On a stacked team, Bale is contributing to over a quarter of the attack. And he is in his freshman season with Madrid, which makes things twice as impressive.

Messi's Stats

16th Malaga - 0 g; 1 a - 33%

8th Levante - 0%

2nd Atletico - 0%

20th Betis - 0%

9th Espanyol - 0%

13th Celta Vigo - 0 g; 1 a - 33%

3rd Real Madrid - 0%

14th Osasuna - 0%

15th Almeria - 1 g; 0 a - 50%

6th Sociedad - 1g; 1 a - 50%

19th Rayo - 0 g; 1 a - 25%

7th Sevilla - 1 g; 0 a - 33%

10th Valencia - 3 g; 0 a - 100%

8th Levante - 2 g; 1 a - 43%

Total average: 26.21% of Barcelona's attack

Messi just barely edges Bale in terms of carrying his team on his own shoulders over the first 14 league games of the season. And as much as there exists a knee jerk reaction to bring Bale's stats into perspective, it's very impressive to see Bale contribute so much, so early.

These stats do not tell the entire story, and many readers already know this. A player can carry a team on his shoulders to victory without scoring a goal or contributing an assist. And then there is unexplainable phenomena, for example, the strange voodoo of Bendtner that sees everyone around him perform better when he's on the pitch. Both of these players would draw double teams, but how often is Messi doubled upon, and how often is Bale? Let us not pretend that Bale draws the same coverage as Ronaldo. Let us not pretend that anyone other than Cristiano Ronaldo has willed his team to victory.

Playing alongside Ronaldo must be nice. And that being said, Why isn't Neymar in the discussion?