ESPN reported Messi’s accomplishment, adding that he was also named the best striker of last season.
Both players had fantastic campaigns, but Messi’s was simply better. In fact, Messi not only outperformed Ronaldo this past year, but arguably had the greatest season of any La Liga player ever.
The Argentine’s statistics certainly suggest this, as his 50 goals in 37 league fixtures is the highest mark in European history for any domestic league, as noted by FCBarcelona.com. Dudu Georgescu held the previous record of 47, and Ronaldo fell just short of that mark, notching 46 goals in his campaign.
While goals are far and away the most important statistic to consider, they do not tell the full story. When looking through other metrics (provided by Whoscored.com), it becomes increasingly clear that Messi was the better player last season.
He was more productive than Ronaldo across the board. The Galáctico scored his 46 goals while taking 6.9 shots per match, but Messi proved to be more efficient by recording his 50 goals in just 5.5 shots per game.
Messi was also the superior distributor throughout the season. He had 16 assists and 2.5 key passes per game (passes that led directly to a shot), compared to 12 assists and 1.6 key passes for Ronaldo. The Barça striker also completed 84.3 percent of his passes, while Madrid’s star posted a mark of 80.6 percent.
Statistics undoubtedly point to Messi as the better player last season, but those crying foul over this award will likely point to Madrid stripping Barcelona of the La Liga title for the first time in four seasons.
However, this accomplishment can hardly be attributed solely to Ronaldo. Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in goals scored last year. In addition, Mesut Ozil led La Liga in assists, and Angel Di Maria finished behind Messi in third.
Ronaldo trailed his teammate and placed fourth, giving Madrid three of the top-five players in terms of both goals and assists last year. It was a fantastic effort by Ronaldo, Jose Mourinho and the rest of the Madrid players, but it took all of them to win La Liga.
While Madrid was the best team in Spain last year, this does not automatically make Ronaldo the country’s best player. When looking at each player’s individual performance as both a goal-scorer and a distributor, it is abundantly clear that Messi was more productive and deserves the honors he has just received.