Lionel Messi is impossible to repeat or equal. However statistics permit comparisons. Using these, the company Driblab has an advanced model to help make decisions about which players to sign. On TV3 the company revealed their model to show which player, out of more than 71,600, across 2,300 teams, looking at 73,000 games, is most similar to Barcelona’s superstar Messi.
The results show it is Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, who has a 92.70 per cent level of similarity, while Kylian Mbappe and Sergio Agueto are 91.3 and 91.1 per cent similar to him respectively.
It looks at 12 different points of comparison. Participation in the play, goals scored per shots taken, expected goals per game, shots taken, touches in the opposition’s box, expected assists per game, key passes, times the ball is lost, pressing, and completed shots.
Hazard beats Messi in just three of the 12 indices - fewer balls lost, pressing and completed dribbles. Messi is better in the other nine aspects.
The young players most similar to Messi are PSV’s Steven Bergwijn, Ianis Hagi (son of the legendary Romanian), and Barca duo Dembele and Malcom, along with AZ’s Ousasama Idrissi.