Data claims Eden Hazard is the most similar player to Lionel Messi

Leicester City v Chelsea FC - Premier League

We will ever see another footballer like Lionel Messi?

It’s hard to imagine so. The Barcelona star has set records that are destined to stand for a very, very long time.

But the same points were probably raised about Pele and Diego Maradona during their pomp. Then, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo came along.

Messi, though, really is something else.

The 31-year-old has enjoyed yet another incredible season, scoring 50 goals in all competitions and helping Barcelona win the La Liga title.

He’s the only person under consideration to the win the 2019 Ballon d’Or award at this point.

And yet, as difficult as it is to put anyone on Messi’s level, a company has attempted to work out which player is most similar to the Argentinian forward.

Barcelona v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: First Leg

Hazard the most similar to Messi

Per Sport, Driblab has used data from several different areas to identify the player with the most likeness, and the answer is Chelsea’s Eden Hazard.

The Belgian has a 92.7 per cent likeness, while Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe and Man City striker Sergio Aguero are 91.3 and 91.1 per cent similar respectively.

The areas that are considered are:

  • 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
  • Completed shots

Hazard beat Messi in just three areas - fewer balls lost, pressing and completed dribbles.

Chelsea FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

Driblab’s findings, which were unveiled on TV3, came after they compared 71,600 players across 2,300 teams, looking at 73,000 football games.

So a lot went into it.

The young players considered most similar to Messi are PSV’s Steven Bergwijn, Viitorul Constanta midfielder Ianis Hagi, Barcelona duo Ousmane Dembele and Malcom, and AZ’s Oussama Idrissi.

While the data may show some sort of likeness to Messi, even Hazard and co. will admit they have a long way to go to match his incredible standard.

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