​Sports media giants ​ESPN collected new data and put up a research on the best finisher in world football and it just goes on to compliment what ​FC Barcelona legend ​Lionel Messi has been doing year-in, year-out since his arrival on the biggest stage.


The study put together centres around the expected goals (xG) metric - and expected goals on target (xGOT), which are both linked.


Here is the description statistical gurus Opta provides regarding the above:

"The Expected Goals on Target model is built on historical on-target shots and includes the original xG of the shot as well as the goalmouth location where the shot ended up. It gives more credit to shots that end up in the corners compared to shots that go straight down the middle of the goal. This model is for on-target shots, given that if you don't get your shot on target, there's a 0% chance that it will result in a goal."


ESPN's Ryan O'Hanlon explained more. He said, "For the most part, the best teams and players aren't the best because of their ability to finish a high percentage of attempts; they're the best because of their ability to generate a high volume of high-quality shots. In other words, it puts a number on the idea that you hear managers talk about every weekend: Who created the better chances?"


ESPN have been able to find out which players have added the most value to their efforts on goal and ultimately came up with Messi's stats.




​Messi has 177 goals for club and country since 2014 and has added 32.6 goals on his 900 attempts, compared to second-placed Dani Parejo, who is on on 12.53. ​Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, has attempted 1005 shots, more than anyone else in the last five years but his wayward efforts have been pretty unsuccessful as it amounted to just 3.07 goals.


To continued, Messi's 120 goals from open play are more than than anyone else. The Argentinean maestro has scored 12 more than his strike partner Luis Suarez from open play, this leading to 109.29 xGOT.


Moving on to free-kicks, which are ​Messi's bread and butter. He has scored a staggering 21 goals from dead-ball situations since 2014, and he has also added 10.35 goals worth of value to his set-pieces.


Furthermore, talking about goals from outside the box, Messi again tops the list as he has netted 16 times, after adding 6.04 worth of value to long-range open play shots, thus topping the list.


To basically put the approval seal stamp on his greatness and show how complete a player he is, the research says that Messi has completed 300 through balls since 2014, which is 127 more than the next player.