Messi vs football’s best ever strikers: some ridiculous statistics…

Date published: Sunday 9th February 2020 11:11

Every once in a while on Twitter, amid the trolling, Russian bots and all-round general dickishness, something pops up on your timeline which fries your tiny mind.

That happened on Friday morning, and we have Aaron Duckling to thank for that. Thread…

All that, frankly, is mental. We are seriously in danger of becoming complacent to the GOAT’s genius.

But we like few things more than pissing on chips here at 365 Towers. So in a not-at-all-scientific way, we set about finding a group of players who could match Messi’s ridiculous feats.

We started looking in the Premier League for some context. We found the 11 highest-scoring Premier League Golden Boot winners and told them to bring their dinner. Includes all club goals in all competitions…

Andy Cole (Newcastle 1993-94) – 41 goals in 45 games
Alan Shearer (Blackburn 1994-95) – 37 goals in 48 games
Kevin Phillips (Sunderland 1999-2000) – 30 goals in 38 games
Thierry Henry (Arsenal 03-04) – 39 goals in 51 games
Thierry Henry (Arsenal 05-06) – 33 goals in 45 games
Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United 2007-08) – 42 goals in 49 games
Didier Drogba (Chelsea 2009-10) – 37 goals in 44 games
Robin van Persie (Arsenal 2012-13) – 37 goals in 48 games
Luis Suarez (Liverpool 2013-14) – 31 goals in 37 games
Harry Kane (Tottenham 2016-17) – 35 goals in 38 games
Mo Salah (Liverpool 2017-18) – 44 goals in 52 games

Total: 406 goals in 495 games

The very best the Premier League has to offer can only muster up 0.82 goals per game between them. Messi is over there banging in 0.97 goals per game by himself over 11 sodding years.

So we widened the net. Very f**king far. Moving from the best the Premier League has offered over the last 27 and a half years to the highest goalscorers anywhere in the world ever.

The RSSSF has a list of the most prolific goalscorers of all time, in which Messi sits seventh. It’s headed by a Hungarian chap named Josef Bican who apparently scored 607 goals in 406 games in a 25-year career, most notably for Slavia Prague. In one season, he apparently scored 57 goals in 26 games.

The list features a few other names about which details are even more sketchy so we have omitted some. Soz, Ferenc Deak, Tulio Maravilha, Arthur Freidenrich, and Ernst Willimowski.

Here are the top 11 names on that list with the career club goals and appearances that we could find with a few clicks…

1) Josef Bican – 607 goals in 406 games
2) Romário – 679 goals in 886 games
3) Pelé – 634 goals in 656 games
4) Ferenc Puskás – 622 goals in 629 games
5) Cristiano Ronaldo – 623 goals in 833 games
6) Gerd Müller – 652 goals in 707 games
7) Uwe Seeler – 444 goals in 519 games
8) Eusébio – 580 goals in 575 games
9) Jimmy McGrory – 538 goals in 534 games
10) Zlatan Ibrahimović – 476 goals in 793 games
11) Hugo Sánchez – 487 goals in 823 games

These strikers, among the most potent the world has ever seen, combine for a career average of 0.86 goals per game. A reminder: for 11 years, Messi has averaged 0.97.

But we are a determined crew when it comes to belittling someone else’s achievements. And we found a way to put Messi back in his box.

We took the best season each of the 11 on the list above had in their entire careers, combined them all and finally we have formula for outperforming Messi.

1) Josef Bican – 57 goals in 66 games for Slavia Prague
2) Romário – 35 goals in 36 games for Flamengo
3) Pelé – 66 goals in 46 games for Santos
4) Ferenc Puskás – 50 goals in 31 games for Honved
5) Cristiano Ronaldo – 61 goals in 54 games for Real Madrid
6) Gerd Müller – 67 goals in 49 games for Bayern Munich
7) Uwe Seeler – 36 goals in 29 games for Hamburg
8) Eusébio – 46 goals in 28 games for Benfica
9) Jimmy McGrory – 59 goals in 41 games for Celtic
10) Zlatan Ibrahimović – 50 goals in 51 games for PSG
11) Hugo Sánchez – 42 goals in 45 games for Real Madrid

Total: 569 goals in 476 games – an average of 1.19 goals per game.

So, to outshine Messi over an 11-year period, we had to go looking for the absolute best strikers in the game at their peak and combine them.

As Aaron Duckling says, ‘maybe he has earned the right to do and say whatever the f*ck he wants?’ Even if it is to join Manchester City on a free

Ian Watson


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