Sports

List of 5 players who can replace Messi in Barca

Summary

Messi is determined to leave Barca, but who can replace the Argentine striker’s position in the squad? Messi was determined to leave his shirt when he refused to participate in Barca’s medical examination as well as training with his teammates. Thus, […]

Messi is determined to leave Barca, but who can replace the Argentine striker’s position in the squad?

Messi was determined to leave his shirt when he refused to participate in Barca’s medical examination as well as training with his teammates. Thus, Barca will have to gradually consider a plan to find a replacement for Messi, although everyone understands that no one can fill the void left by Messi.

Marca has selected players with similar playing positions to Messi in Europe’s top 5 championships (La Liga, Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1) and 4 famous leagues with discovery young talents (Brazil, Argentina, Portugal, the Netherlands).

They are striker kickers, backwards, left and right strikers, attacking midfielders (no.10), left and right attacking midfielders and left and right winger.

From there, Marca looked at the heat maps of these players to choose the ones closest to Messi. In addition, the list is also limited to the age (18-30 years old) and the time to play (at least 1,350 minutes last season, equivalent to 15 games).

Marca then compared the players to Messi based on the 16 unique stats of an attacking player. These are passing the ball, the successful passing rate, the successful passing at 1/3 of the opponent’s field, the successful pass into the 16m50 area, the long pass, the decisive pass, the double-hand dispute won, the expectation set up, assists, dribbles successfully, fouled, touches the ball inside the box, kicks the ball, expected goals from the penalty spot.

With this approach, the Marca newspaper has selected 10 candidates with the most similarities in competitive positions and stats with Messi. After that, they continued to choose the 5 most suitable people: Neymar, Riyad Mahrez, Paulo Dybala, Bruno Fernandes and Steven Berghuis.

Of these, Paulo Dybala is the most similar to Messi in terms of position (91%), far behind in goals and assists. Neymar has the same stats as Messi, but the playing position is much different from his former teammate, only 14%.

Mahrez is only a bit behind Neymar in terms of index, but the playing position of the Algerian player is quite similar to Messi (61%). 

Bruno Fernandes’ index is even less similar than Messi, but his playing position is 77% like Barca striker. The last name is Berghuis, the star of Feyenoord who has quite an impressive score in the Dutch championship and works on the same scope as Messi 64%. 

Of course, to choose a substitute Messi is not simply looking at indicators like this because Barca’s scouting department also has to take into account many other factors such as transfer value, play style, integration ability, mentality…