You name the statistic and Lionel Messi is probably near the top of it.
The Barcelona superstar is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career and barring a dramatic decline in form over 2019, he’s probably the favourite to win the next Ballon d’Or title.
Messi has scored more than anybody else in Europe’s top five leagues, has the largest goal contribution by an incredible margin and only Jadon Sancho has provided as many assists.
It’s no wonder that supporters claim Barcelona are overly reliant on the forward, even with the likes of Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele joining him in the attack.
That, in turn, makes you wonder exactly where Barcelona would be without Messi this season and that would require looking at the numbers behind his contributions.
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Europe’s most valuable players
Luckily for us, that’s something that Whoscored.com have assessed on a much larger scale and they have used data from Opta to see which players in Europe are the most ‘valuable.’
In other words, how many league points have their goals and assists directly caused?
There’s not a fine science behind the calculations and there are always limitations with working so hypothetically, but it allows a glimpse into Europe’s most important players for their team.
Messi, Pogba and Hazard all feature
It will come as little surprise that Messi is one of the leading candidates and the Argentine has been the direct cause of 20 points for Barcelona this season, which is 30% of their overall tally.
The cynic would conclude that Barcelona are indeed reliant on the 31-year-old, but it really goes to prove his remarkable ability this season.
However, it isn’t enough to secure top spot with Nicolas Pepe brining in a stunning 25 points for Lille this season and that works out at almost half of their total.
Check out the list and statistics down below:
Analysing the results
There you have it, Europe’s most important players in all their glory.
Eden Hazard can feel incredibly proud of reaching second place, thanks in no small part to his brilliant tally of assists, having contributed the same total of points as Messi.
The next best performer from the Premier League is Paul Pogba and the majority of his contributions will have come under the watchful gaze of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Cristiano Ronaldo is still proving a massive influence in Serie A and is just behind his eternal rival with a points offering of 18, level with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Antoine Griezmann.
It’s not a perfect statistic but for any clubs featured in the list, don’t sell those players whatever you do. We’re looking at you Lille.
Who do you think is Europe’s most important player? Have your say in the comments section below.