The big money moves of Neymar and Gareth Bale to Spain were arguably the two biggest transfers made last summer. Since then both forwards have been in the headlines for drama, underachieving and even huge nights on the pitch.
Though everyone has their own opinion on which club got the most for their money and who has been the better performer, only statistics will tell the true story.
In this article, we will break down just what Barcelona and Real Madrid got for their money by looking at both player's key statistics thus far this season.
To truly break down how much these two La Liga giants have got for their money, we will look at the most important stats for wingers—goals, assists, passing and creativity.
While most would agree that Neymar has not been the scoring machine that Barcelona expected when they signed him from Santos, he has been able to put more than a few big goals into the back of the net.
So far this season, the Brazilian has scored nine goals in La Liga, four in the Champions League and a single strike in both the Copa del Rey and Spanish Supercopa. For those keeping track at home, that makes 15 goals this campaign, via ESPN.com.
On the other hand, Gareth Bale has been able to find the back of the net more often. The Wales international has already scored 14 times in La Liga and five times in the Champions League, bringing his total to 19 strikes per WhoScored.com.
|Price Per Goal|
|Goals Scored||Player Price||Price Per Goal|
|Neymar||15||€57 million||€3.8 million|
|Gareth Bale||19||€100 million||€5.3 million|
When breaking down the numbers it gets really interesting. At €100 million for Gareth Bale, Real Madrid have paid approximately €5,300,000 per goal while Barcelona have forked out just €3,800,000 per goal for Neymar.
When looking at the goal ratio and take into account that both players have made a similar number of appearances, it does appear that Neymar has been the better buy.
Although wingers must contribute goals for their clubs, providing assists can be just as valuable when linking up with other forwards. As it happens, both Bale and Neymar have been on both the receiving and providing end of plenty of goals this season.
Neymar has so far asssisted 11 goals this campaign and was one of the league leaders in that category at the beginning of the year, per Squawka.com.
Gareth Bale got off to a slow start to his first season in the white of Real Madrid, but has since gone on to dish out an incredible 15 assists, showing how well he is linking up with teammates at the moment, per Squawka.com.
|Price Per Assist|
|Total Assists||Player Price||Price per Assist|
|Neymar||11||€57 million||€5.1 million|
|Gareth Bale||15||€100 million||€6.7 million|
Again, the maths shows that these assists have been pretty pricey.
Neymar's 11 assists have basically cost Barcelona €5,100,000 while Bale's 15 have a price tag of nearly €6,700,000.
The price per assist does not seem that big of a difference for these two stars, and Bale may be justifying more of his price tag than Neymar at this point. The Welshman did cost more, but he is also putting up bigger numbers.
Other Key Statistics
When it comes down to comparing these two expensive wingers, it will always be about goals and assists. However, there are plenty of other statistics that go into judging a player's worth.
This season, Neymar has created 55 chances in total, with an 85 per cent passing rate. The Brazilian is averaging 1.5 key passes per match and completing an astonishing 3.5 dribbles per game.
The biggest negative for the 22-year-old is the fact that he averages 2 turnovers per game, less than Bale's 1.2, and has only put 56 per cent of his shots on target, again much lower than Bale's shot accuracy of 76 per cent, per Squawka.com.
In comparison, Bale has only managed to create 44 chances this season and completed just 78 per cent of his passes. The 24-year-old has averaged 1.2 key passes and completing two dribbles each match.
It is very clear that these two players are vastly different. Barcelona are getting a different type of production out of Neymar than Real Madrid are getting out of Bale. Both wingers suit the club's they joined for specific reasons and it will always be difficult to compare them on a blank slate.
Who Got the Better Deal?
Well, this is why you clicked on the article isn't it? Was Neymar's €57.1 million price tag a steal compared to Bale's record-breaking €100 million move from Spurs?
To be completely honest, it all depends on how you look at it.
When the focus is on price of production, Neymar is the clear favorite. His goals and assists have come at a lower price than Bale's, but at nearly half the transfer fee that was always going to be the case.
On the other side of the coin, Bale has managed to score more goals and provide more assists than Neymar this year, despite playing in one less game.
This really comes down to what the clubs and fans were hoping to get out of their purchases. Neymar cost less, yes, but he hasn't delivered in the same way that Bale has at a much higher price.
Though Gareth Bale cost Real Madrid roughly €43 million more than Neymar cost Barcelona, Los Blancos have gotten more out of their star and have progressed further in the Champions League.
Money isn't everything, but for the most part clubs are willing to pay more for better production. Bale's price tag was much higher than that of Neymar, but it is quite easy to say that the Welshman has had more success for his club to this point.
When it really comes down to it, Neymar is still fighting for his starting spot while Bale has become an undisputed name in the line-up.
Which winger has been the best buy so far? Would you rather have Neymar or Gareth Bale in your squad? Leave your thoughts and comments below!