Lionel Messi won his seventh Ballon d'Or on Monday, but it was not a popular decision with everyone.
Should it be done on the number of major trophies won by that player at club and international level during the year? Can it be done simply based on the eyeball test, and who is the most aesthetically pleasing player to watch? Or does it ultimately come down to cold, hard statistics, with the award going to the player who scored the most goals and delivered the most assists?
Perhaps that final option would be the easiest option, and fortunately for us, the numbers have been crunched from each of the last 14 calendar years to show which star registered the most goal involvements.
What did the numbers reveal, you may ask?
Well, it turns out that Messi may be even better that we thought. According to 100Clubismo, the 34-year-old has been directly involved in more goals than any other player on the planet in nine of the last 14 years.
Three times he has hit the 90-mark for a calendar year, including in 2012 when he managed 113 goal contributions. It's hard to imagine anyone will be able to surpass that ridiculous number any time soon.
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo also unsurprisingly features on this list. Back in 2008, he topped the standings, and then followed that up by leading the way again in 2013 and 2014.
Yet both Messi and Ronaldo have been outdone in the last two years by a certain goalscoring machine: Robert Lewandowski.
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The Polish forward was involved in 61 goals in 2020, and is already up to 74 this time around, with the best part of a month left in the year.
With the Ballon d'Or not being awarded last year, Lewandowski was robbed of what looked to be a certain first place, while he had to settle for the runner-up spot this week behind Messi.
So, should Lewandowski have finished ahead of Messi this year? Based solely on statistics, he certainly has a case.
What we can all agree on, though, is that we have been truly blessed to watch three of the best footballers ever produce mesmerising numbers year after year since 2008.
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