The British press are fast running out of superlatives to describe the goal-scoring, assist-providing and chance creating form that Liverpool attacker Luis Suarez is currently exhibiting in the Premier League (he is statistically-speaking, the most influential attacker in England).
It is well known that he is responsible for a goal ratio that far betters one per game, a statistic that is normally exclusive only to the world's best players, yet how does he compare to Barcelona's magician Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's powerful forward Cristiano Ronaldo?
For some, the Primera Division pair, who are a consistent goal threat in every domestic match they feature in, are levels above all other athletes in the sport, a statement that rings particularly true for Carlo Ancelotti, Ronaldo's manager at Real Madrid, who recently told his club's official website that: 'Everybody can see that Cristiano is number one at the moment.'
He added: 'I really like seeing him play because at the moment he is incredible and he is playing extraordinary football.'
I do not object to the latter statement, but I do for the former. On skill-level and defense-menacing ability alone, Suarez belongs in the same conversation as both Ronaldo and Messi. His performances this season are generating as much excitement as English league legends such as Thierry Henry before him but, despite his goals to date, he remains behind Messi in terms of assists and Ronaldo in terms of strikes.
|Player||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Shots||Shots on target||Passes||Completed||Chances|
Messi is alone on shooting accuracy (a near 93% on target), compared to Ronaldo (44%) and Suarez (50%). Ronaldo is also more self-consumed on the ball… he is a set-piece specialist from dead ball scenarios, one of the finest dribblers in world soccer and a foul magnet. Messi, in less pitch-time in La Liga duty, passes more often, completes more often and creates more chances.
However, more accurate data to crunch would be to look at precisely what each forward does with the ball during the time they are on the pitch.
|Player||Mins/Goal or assist||Mins/Shot on target||Mins/Completed pass||Mins/Chance|
Using these statistics as a barometer for success this season, Suarez is the most dangerous player in world football. For every hour he plays, he either scores or sets up a goal, he completes a pass every 2.7 minutes and creates a chance for a team-mate every 30 minutes. No matter whom he is lining up against for Liverpool, he is oft one of the most influential players on the field.
It is nigh time he is regularly mentioned as one of the top three players in Europe, as opposed to one of the many outside of Ronaldo and Messi.
Considering all the commendation being bestowed upon the Portuguese and Argentine, if Suarez continues at his current rate, he must surely be a lock for the Ballon d'Or next year.
image: © prettyfriendship