Messi didn't Struggle in 2018

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freethedevil
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Messi didn't Struggle in 2018 

Post#1 » by freethedevil » Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:21 am

Messi is widely considered to have struggled in 2018 compared to his usual standards. I posit, he didn't struggle, he just played a different role than he usually plays.

Here is 538's breakdown of 2018 golden ball winner Luka Modric:
https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/world-cup-comparisons/luka-modric-2018/
Here's their breakdown of Lionel Messi:
https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/world-cup-comparisons/lionel-messi-2018/

Messi and Luka split hairs as playmakers with Messi being more dangerous as a scoring threat and Luka being a more well rounded defensive presence. Luka has more passes, but messi does more with the ball and both created 0.3 expected goals.

When we look at whoscored, Messi is actually rated higher at 7.86.

If you wanted to, you could argue messi played better than 2018's golden ball winner, and yet, his performance in 2018 was widely panned. Why? Because the media forced a comparison to a player utilized in a vastly different role, using a stat that doesn't have much relevance to messi's utilization as a possesion center/playmaker:
https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/world-cup-comparisons/cristiano-ronaldo-2018/

THere graphs are vastly different in terms of shape because they didn't play remotely simialr roles. Messi carried the ball vastly more, passed he ball vastly more, and created far more. Messi was not playing the same role he played for argentina during the qualifers(reminder that they literally were winless in the wcq without him), he was playing more akin to a xavi, then a ronaldo so it's nonsensical to guage him based on his goal count. This is something we've consistnetly seen with messi in the later stages of international tournaments. Against Germany he created multiple goal scoring chances. Against Chile, he created more chances than everyone else combined. In 2010, against mexico he created multiple chances. And in 2018, Messi had a marquee performance against the best nt in the world:



-> 3 defensive stops
-> assisted 5 shots in the box
-> won the corner for the first goal
-> created 2 goals, one of a ridiclously good long snipe
-> bent the french defense out of shape with multiple runs
-> minimal turnovers

Messi as the playmaker has routinely been the best player on the field against the best possible opposition like
-> germany, 2014
-> france, 2018
-> chile 2015

This drop off isn't much more than casuals assuming that goals=good and no goals-bad

A player who creates chances can be more valuabel than a player who finishes them. With that out of the way, let's get to my final point:

Messi, is easily the most valuable international player of his era:

This is portugal's winning percentage without ronaldo:
50%
Their percentage with Ronaldo:
63%

Argentina's winning percentage without Messi:
33%
Argentina's winning percentage with Messi:
65%

Messi is twice as valuable to his national team as his era's closest challenger. His team was winless in wcq's without him and went toe to toe witht he champs with him.

Messi has easily been the best player in the world both on the club and international stage. A conclusion easily backed up with both qualitative analysis, imapct analysis, and statistics assuming you use them properly.
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Re: Messi didn't Struggle in 2018 

Post#2 » by coldfish » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:58 pm

Is there really a debate about this?

Messi is Michael Jordan. He has been far and away the best player in the sport for quite some time to the point where fans and pundits are bored of handing him all of the individual awards. The media also needs something to stir the pot over. With all that said, I thought it was generally assumed that Messi has continued to be the best player in the world.

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