Crystal Palace star is better than Barcelona legend Lionel Messi in key area

Messi Close Up

New statistics show a Crystal Palace star is better than Barcelona legend Lionel Messi in one surprising key area.

They may play in similar claret and blue kits but that's pretty much where the similarities between Palace and the mighty Catalan giants usually end.

But believe it or not the Eagles actually have an attacking player who is better than the great Messi in one key, exciting area in the shape of Wilfried Zaha.

According to a new report by football analysis website Oulala.com the Manchester United flop is right up there with Barcelona's Neymar as one of Europe's best dribblers.

While the skillful winger didn't quite cut it with the Red Devils after his big money move, he has kicked on under Alan Pardew this season despite Palace's struggles.

A better dribbler than the great Messi and two off Neymar

And remarkably he sits among esteemed company in third spot in Europe's top five leagues when it comes to dribbling with an incredible 118 successful dribbles.

That is an average of approximately 3.2 take-ons per game. Not only does it mean Zaha is one of the most exciting players in the Premier League and indeed Europe to watch, it also puts him above master dribbler Messi  who has 105 successful dribbles.

In another surprise on the list, the Palace man is pipped by France midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa of Nice, who played for Pardew at Newcastle United.

Barca and Brazil superstar Neymar is the king dribbler with two more successful dribbles than Zaha (120).

Zaha comfortably the Premier League's best

In the Premier League itself, Zaha is comfortably top, ahead of Player of the Year contender Riyad Mahrez who sits in second place, having made 105 successful dribbles.

Zaha has more successful take-ons to his name than any other English international. Ross Barkley of Everton is closest with 102 successful dribbles and features at number eight on the list.

The statistics are sure to give Palace and particularly Zaha a massive confidence boost ahead of their crucial FA Cup semi-final clash with Watford at the weekend.

And Wembley is the perfect stage for Zaha to show off his supreme dribbling skills for what will be Palace's biggest audience for many years.

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