Clearly, it doesn’t exactly take a genius to suggest Messi has been arguably the greatest player of the modern era but, like his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo, the constant breaking of records can actually start to normalise the extraordinary.
So, even despite all that has been written about the Barcelona legend, it’s worth stepping back and taking a look at the cold, hard and often romantic numbers.
Indeed, while the awarding of the Man of the Match Award is often debated by fans watching the game, WhoScored‘s analytics make for interesting reading.
A quick crib of their data for the gongs given out across Europe’s major five leagues since the start of the 2009/10 season shows just how far ahead of everybody Messi actually is.
Speaking of the French giants, the legendary Zlatan Ibrahimovic (42) is far out in front after his successful spell in Paris between 2012 and 2016.
Over in Germany, Borussia Dortmund‘s almost universally popular captain Marco Reus comes out ahead of Robert Lewandowski with his 48 and, finally, Messi’s international teammate Papu Gomez won it 36 times in Serie A with Atalanta during his time there.
The full list is as follows:
La Liga: Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – 207
Premier League: Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – 62
Bundesliga: Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund) – 48
Ligue 1: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain) – 42
Serie A: Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez (Catania and Atalanta) – 36
Winning seven league titles in that time period, it’s hugely unlikely La Liga will ever see such a dominate player again.