Statistically Comparing the Ballon d’Or Finalists

Cristiano Ronaldo

2015 has come to a close, meaning that the Ballon d’Or is here. The most prestigious prize in world football will be announced later today. It has been an incredible calendar year for fans to enjoy with three players stealing the spotlight. Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr. are the three players up for the best player of 2015. These players have all proven why they can win the Ballon d’Or but only one will walk away with the prize. Each of them are extremely talented players, but the best can be exposed through statistics. These players have proven their superiority to the world in 2015, but one question still remains: How do they compare to each other?

The three Ballon d’Or finalists all play an attacking role for their team and goal scoring is an extremely important of their game. Ronaldo has scored more goals in 2015 than Barcelona’s Messi and Neymar. Barcelona may have been a better team than Real Madrid, but despite a season without a trophy, Ronaldo remains the top goal scorer of the three.

Messi: 52
Ronaldo: 57
Neymar: 45

When it comes to assists, there’s few better than Lionel Messi. Messi recorded 25 assists in 2015, proving his ability to be a team player. Neymar and Ronaldo fall 8 assists short of Messi with 17 apiece.

Messi: 25
Ronaldo: 17
Neymar: 17

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates a goal against Almeria during their Spanish first division soccer match at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona April 8, 2015. REUTERS/Albert Gea

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi celebrates a goal against Almeria during their Spanish first division soccer match at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona April 8, 2015. REUTERS/Albert Gea

Messi and Ronaldo may have contributed the most assists and goals respectively, but it is Neymar who has played the most games out of the three. Neymar played 63 games in 2015, while Messi played 61 and Ronaldo played 59.

Messi: 61
Ronaldo: 59
Neymar: 63

Ronaldo scored the most goals in 2015, but he also took the most shots out of the three finalists. Messi also took a lot of shots last year compared to his Barcelona teammate Neymar who took about 100 less.

Messi: 307
Ronaldo: 354
Neymar: 212

Ronaldo may have the most goals, but he has the worst shot-to-goal percentage. In 2015, Ronaldo shot just 16% while Messi shot 17% and Neymar managed 22%. This statistic shows that while Ronaldo may have scored more goals than the Barcelona men, but Messi and Neymar beat him on accuracy and are more efficient with their shooting.

Messi: 17%
Ronaldo: 16%
Neymar: 22%

Neymar Jr. 2

Although Ronaldo’s shooting percentage wasn’t up to par, he played fewer games than Messi and Neymar, while scoring more goals. Ronaldo easily beats out Messi and Neymar in goals per game. In 2015, Ronaldo managed 0.97 goals per game.

Goals per game:
Messi: 0.85
Ronaldo: 0.97
Neymar: 0.71

Similarly to the assists category, Messi beats out Neymar and Ronaldo for the most assists per game. Messi managed to get an assist in almost every other game that he played in.

Assists per game:
Messi: 0.41
Ronaldo: 0.29
Neymar: 0.27

The final statistic to compare the Ballon d’Or finalists on is their age. Neymar is significantly younger than Messi and Ronaldo. If Neymar does not manage to win this year, he has many more chances ahead of him in the future.

Messi: 28
Ronaldo: 30
Neymar: 23

The statistics reveal that the three finalists are extremely equal and they all have a shot at winning the Ballon d’Or. The lastl seven years have been dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi winning a total of 7 Ballon d’Ors combined while Neymar has not won and it is his first time in the final three. Whatever happens at the Ballon d’Or, it will be an exciting event and will serve as a nice way to wrap up an incredible 2015.

Messi and Neymar

(All statistics are from the 2015 calendar year in all competitions. The source of the statistics is:



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