12 unbelievable stats that show why Lionel Messi deserves his 2023 Ballon d’Or

Lionel Messi has claimed a record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or at a glitzy ceremony in Paris. 

It’s been some year for Messi to say the least, but did he deserve to get his hands on the prestigious award this year? We picked out some of his best stats which highlight just how good he has been.

Of course, Messi had already won seven Ballon d’Or awards throughout his illustrious career and he has finished as a runner-up on five separate occasions.

“I couldn’t imagine having the career I’ve had and everything I’ve achieved, the fortune I’ve had to be part of the best team in history,” Messi said after claiming his latest.

“To win the Copa America and to get the World Cup after all those difficult moments in the national teams.”

The 36-year-old has more than stood the test of time and the fact that he is still in these conversations in 2023 further cements the eternal genius that Messi possesses.

It’s fair to say that 2022-23 was a hectic one for all football fans as the World Cup was sandwiched in between the regular domestic season for the first time ever.

Messi’s performances during the World Cup alone put him into the Ballon d’Or conversation as he produced one of the best campaigns we have ever seen on the international stage to take Argentina all the way.

However, that’s not to say that Messi wasn’t absolutely brilliant in domestic football too. Along with the World Cup, Messi also got his hands on the Ligue 1 title and the Trophee des Champions.

The stiffest competition that Messi is up against in 2023 was Manchester City’s Erling Haaland, who scored a whopping 52 goals to help his side to a historic treble, and ended up being named the runner-up.

In any other season, Haaland would be the overwhelming favourite to win the award, but it just so happens that he is up against a football alien from a different galaxy altogether.

We’ve taken a closer look at Messi’s 2022-23 campaign and have picked out 12 unbelievable stats which prove he deserves to win the 2023 Ballon d’Or.

– Messi got his hands on three trophies during the 2022-23 season winning the World Cup, Ligue 1 and Trophee des Champions.

– For club and country, Messi produced 67 goal contributions during the Ballon d’Or voting period. For context, this is one more than Haaland managed in the same time frame.

– Messi was named the Man of the Match in five of Argentina’s seven World Cup matches. No player in the history of the World Cup has ever done this.

– The 36-year-old became the first player ever to score in the group stage, round of 16, quarter-final, semi-final and final at the same World Cup tournament.

– Messi won the Golden Ball award for his efforts in Qatar and thus became the first player in history to have won the award twice (in 2014 and 2022).

– Only Kylian Mbappe (eight goals, 2022) and Ronaldo (eight goals, 2002) have scored more goals in a single World Cup campaign than Messi (seven goals, Qatar 2022) in the last 12 World Cups, going back to 1974.

– Messi was the best player in the Champions League throughout 2022-23 according to WhoScored average match ratings. The 36-year-old had an average rating of 7.86 which was higher than any other player.

– In domestic football, Messi produced 197 shot-creating actions in 2022-23. In Europe’s top five leagues, only Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes produced more than this with 219.

– Messi also produced 35 goal-creating actions for PSG (the two offensive actions directly leading to a goal) which was more than any other player in Europe in 2022-23.

– The former PSG man completed 102 successful take-ons in domestic football with a success rate of 55.4%. Only Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior bettered Messi in this statistic during 22-23 with 112 successful take-ons.

– No player in Europe’s top five leagues assisted more goals than Messi did in 22-23. In Ligue 1, the Argentine playmaker produced 16 assists – the same as Antoine Griezmann and Kevin De Bruyne. Messi also had a higher xA (expected assists) than any other player in Europe.

– Across all competitions, Messi averaged a goal contribution every 89 minutes for PSG as he chipped in with 21 goals and 20 assists throughout the campaign.

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