Luis Suarez has been named Europe's most influential player in Bloomberg's Power 50 rankings, beating the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in a statistical analysis of every player in the continent's top quintet of divisions.
The organisation explained the system behind its analytics, as noted on Bloomberg's official website:
BSports developed an objective analysis that creates a performance rating for players, and compared those to others in every other club in the big five European leagues. This advanced analysis covers over 100 types of player actions, leading to roughly 1,000 to 1,500 data points for each player per match.
A rundown of Bloomberg's criteria can be seen below:
|Bloomberg Power 50: Criteria Judged|
|Defensive Attributes||Offensive Attributes|
|Effectiveness and efficiency when carrying out specific defensive tasks, including "tackles, interceptions etc."||Effectiveness and efficiency when performing specific attacking tasks, including "goals, shots, creativity etc."|
|"Goals conceded in relation to expected goals conceded."||"Ability to maintain possession."|
Each player is provided an index score that indicates his performance level, with "all-round contribution" being the key to success. The top 20 can be seen below, per Bloomberg.
|Bloomberg Power Rankings 2014|
|20.||Thiago Silva||Paris Saint-Germain||80.08|
|18||Diego Godin||Atletico Madrid||80.21|
|17.||Martin Demichelis||Manchester City||80.27|
|14.||Yaya Toure||Manchester City||80.31|
|12.||Marco Reus||Borussia Dortmund||80.66|
|11.||Franck Ribery||Bayern Munich||80.78|
|10.||David Silva||Manchester City||80.79|
|8.||Robert Lewandowski||Borussia Dortmund||81.21|
|6.||Diego Costa||Atletico Madrid||81.68|
|4.||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid||84.59|
|3.||Zlatan Ibrahimovic||Paris Saint-Germain||84.91|
|Credit: Bloomberg Sports|
Suarez's residency atop the list is hardly surprising when you consider how consistently the Uruguayan—and indeed Liverpool—defied expectations across the newly finished season. He worked hard across all areas of the pitch and posted a set of memorable stats throughout the campaign.
While Bloomberg utilises data from Opta, the table can also be followed via the publicly available stats of WhoScored.com.
Suarez scored 31 goals and assisted 12 in 33 Premier League matches. He produced an average of 5.5 shots each match, completed 2.8 dribbles and turned the ball over at the same proficiency. The former Ajax man also managed 1.1 tackles per game but may have seen his score harmed by Liverpool's 50 goals conceded, the highest of any team in England's top six.
Lionel Messi came in a respectable second after an injury-plagued season. The Argentinian hero netted 28 goals in 31 appearances, assisting 11, recorded by WhoScored.com. He tallied up 5.2 efforts on goal each match, completed far more dribbles with 4.6 and was dispossessed 2.2 times every 90 minutes. Messi's score drops with an average of 0.5 tackles and indeed Barcelona's trophyless season.
Ibrahimovic netted 26 times in 33 appearances but registered less shots (4.9), completed minimal dribbles (0.8) and still managed to give the ball away regularly (2.1) during each match. He also lacked tackling ability (0.3) but managed to somehow finish above Ronaldo.
The Portuguese star scored the same amount as Suarez in two less games, providing three less assists. His 7.2 shots per match outlined his willingness to shoot from anywhere, but he completed less dribbles (2.2) and offered 0.6 tackles every game.
Bloomberg Sports posted a number of fascinating statistics from the Power 50 on Twitter:
As noted by Adam Shergold of the Daily Mail, "Southampton have three players - Dejan Lovren, Jose Fonte and Rickie Lambert - on the list and all of them rank higher than Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (48th)," perhaps a barometer of the season that has just passed.
Suarez's position at the top of the list highlighted a year in which he excelled. While Messi and Ronaldo also posted brilliant individual seasons, their inability to win La Liga may have impacted their scores. Ibrahimovic's lack of involvement in his own half appears to be the Swede's downfall.
Liverpool will be hoping Suarez's output remains as well-rounded next year. Brendan Rodgers' side is looking to get over this year's Premier League "disappointment"—a remarkable word considering nobody expected the Reds to finish in second—by going one step further.
The Uruguayan will need to finish at the top or thereabouts for a second successive time if this is to happen.
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