While Barcelona awaits the official status of Leo Messi , many fans wonder who will be able to fill the void left by the Argentine player . Obviously there is no one who can do it for all that Messi means for the club, but it is the law of life to look forward and try to rebuild a team in decline. From here, we are going to try to find, based on the data, the footballer who can most closely resemble Messi to fill that gap that the still captain of Barça will leave.
To do this, we are going to use a scouting tool, ScoutlT , developed by data analyst Jesús Lagos (@Vdot_Spain). From there, we will use various filters to try to be as accurate as possible. We will look for the metrics that best define Messi based on the data from this last season just finished in the league, we will limit the age of his substitute, we will dive through the five major leagues and some more and we will choose the positions through which the star moves the most Argentinian.
Regarding the metrics , we have limited to 16 those that most represent Messi’s game. On the one hand, percentages of: successful deep passes completed, successful passes into the hole, penalties scored, fouls on goal, successful dribbles, shots on goal, precision in passing in the last third of the field, successful vertical passes and accuracy of smart passes . On the other, an average per 90 minutes of: successful attack actions, xG or expected goals, xA or expected assists, touches inside the area, goals and assists . And also, offensive duels won .
Messi is a player who moves through many areas of the field . And this is key to determining the demarcation of the footballer we are looking for. That is why we have selected: forward, second forward, left forward, right forward, offensive midfielder, right and left offensive midfielder, right and left winger . This will be important because the tool will be able to tell us from its heat maps , not only which player is more like Messi in terms of metrics, but also in terms of the positions he occupies on the field, which makes our search much more precise. .
It is also necessary for reliable results to come out that have played a minimum number of minutes . We have set the filter at 1,350, which is about 15 full games . And age is important. We have been broad: from 18 a player to do but with projection, at 30 , a player already with experience and with a few more years of football ahead. We could have also filtered by economic amount , but since we still do not know how much Barcelona has in cash (that will also depend on sales), we have decided not to limit it.https://3c5ec1a305cc32a1a9e73e0f44afd482.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Finally, we have selected the five major leagues (Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1) and four more because of their good market cradle: Brazil, Argentina, Portugal and the Netherlands .
With all this, we get a list of 10 candidates of which we are going to analyze the five whose balance between similarities in metrics and positioning in the field most resembles Messi: Neymar (2nd most similar in metrics although only 14% similarity in areas of the field), Mahrez (3rd and 61%), Dybala (4th and 91%), Berghuis (6th and 64%) and Bruno Fernandes (8th and 77%) .
Messi vs Dybala
You could say that the player who most resembles Leo is his compatriot Paulo Dybala (26 years old). The Juventus footballer has similar metrics and, moreover, almost traces the areas of the field through which the Barça player still moves (91%). Curious to see that he improves it slightly in offensive duels won and in passes both vertical and in the last third of the field . On the other hand, he should improve in the scorer and assists section , two aspects that are key to Messi’s good work.
Messi vs Mahrez
The Manchester City Algerian (29 years old) has many similar things to Messi and moves through some of the areas where Leo does (61%). He stands out in his ability to filter balls although, like Dybala, his goalscoring and assists figures are well below Rosario’s. Perhaps it could be a good alternative when negotiating with the English team the transfer of the Argentine.
Messi vs Neymar
By metrics, he is the one that most closely resembles our team , although the Brazilian’s (28-year-old) areas of action are much smaller than Messi’s and hence the 14%. Better than the Argentine in terms of completion (not forgetting that he plays in France) although he falters more in the assistant section . His return would be a good balm for the fans.
Messi vs Bruno Fernandes
The Portuguese from Manchester United no longer shows as many similarities in metrics as the other three, but he does resemble Messi quite a bit in the areas of the field in which he moves (77%) . He is more haggling than he seems , being level with the Argentine. In addition, he is usually very precise in his shots when they go between the three suits and has a high ratio of expected assists every 90 ‘.
Messi vs Berghuis
The most ‘random’ signing could be the Feyenoord footballer (28 years old) . Very striking metrics and a zone of action similar to Messi in 64%. Good finisher, with a xG, goal ratio and high shots on target . It is surprising that he improves the Argentine by a lot in the free kicks that go between the three suits . He is also a good passer. An interesting option because it could be economical (market value of 11 million) , although it is true with little name to generate the necessary illusion.
Thanks to this powerful ScoutlT tool we can know which player can replace Messi in Barcelona, although scouting departments must always rely on other aspects as important as video analysis or psychological analysis, to give two examples.