Who Is the Mexican National Team's Most-Lethal Scorer Ever?

Karlo TeranContributor IJuly 25, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 07:  Jared Borgetti #9 of Mexico watches his headed against the USA during an international friendly match at the University of Phoenix Stadium on February 7, 2007 in Phoenix, Arizona.  USA won 2-0.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Quick, if I were to ask you who Mexican National Team's top goal scorers have been, I can bet you an arm and a leg that you will shout out some of the following names: Hugo Sanchez, Luis Hernandez, Enrique Borja, Luis Garcia and Jared Borguetti.

If you mentioned any of these names, let me congratulate you, because you know your futbol.  The actual list of Mexico’s top 10 scorers of all time in order is:

But is it correct to analyze a player only on the number of goals he has scored over the term of his career for the national team? If you ask me, the answer is pretty simple: no way Jose.

 

 

 

So, how can we evaluate a player and compare him to his peers on the national team and decide which forwards have been Mexico’s most lethal on the national squad? For this, we can use statistics.

Before we get into the analysis, a couple of things to remember: 1) statistics are not as developed in soccer as they are in other sports (basketball, football, baseball); 2) as with any analysis, there are limitations on the analysis we do (more on that later); and 3) these statistics only use the list referenced above and don't include Mexico’s hottest goal-scorer this decade, Javier “El Chicharito” Hernandez, who has scored 21 goals in 29 games played.

19 Jan 1997:  Luis Roberto Alves Zague of Mexico in action during the match  against the USA at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in Los Angeles, California. Mexico won 2-0.    \ Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport
Getty Images/Getty Images

Given the limited amount of data we have for soccer, I gathered some pretty simple information that is available such as: total goals scored with the national team and number of actual minutes played by the player (Note: we can use number of games played, but some players, especially forwards, don’t play the whole 90 minutes). Using these two statistics give us a fair rating scale to rate each player on an apple-to-apple basis. To be clear, this analysis does not take into account:

  • Strength of schedule (playing Trinidad and Tobago counts the same as playing Argentina)
  • Quality of players that each of them was playing with (Giovanni Dos Santos at this Copa America was a prime example when he played with inferior talent)
  • Age at which they played each game (Hugo Sanchez was on the downside of his career in 1994)

 

 

 

 

 

After running the numbers the by order results are:

Player

 

Minutes

Mins x Goal

Jared Borgetti

46

6596

143.39

Luis Flores

29

4217

145.41

Enrique Borja

31

4815

155.32

Benjamín Galindo

29

4555

157.07

Carlos Hermosillo

35

5739

163.97

Hugo Sánchez

29

4939

170.31

Luis Hernández

35

6100

174.29

Luis García

28

5073

181.18

Luis Roberto Alves

30

5889

196.30

Cuauhtémoc Blanco

39

8032

205.95

The results suggest that the all-time best forwards scored every 143 minutes at best or in the case of Cuah Blanco, once almost every 2.5 games or 205 minutes. It seems like an OK result, but let’s put in El Chicharito to the data set. The results, again in order, would be:

Player

 

Minutes

Mins x Goal

Chicharito Hernandez

21

1959

93.29

Jared Borgetti

46

6596

143.39

Luis Flores

29

4217

145.41

Enrique Borja

31

4815

155.32

Benjamín Galindo

29

4555

157.07

Carlos Hermosillo

35

5739

163.97

Hugo Sánchez

29

4939

170.31

Luis Hernández

35

6100

174.29

Luis García

28

5073

181.18

Luis Roberto Alves

30

5889

196.30

El Chicharito scores every 93 minutes or almost once every game. Think about that for a minute: he scores once every single game he plays. That is unreal.

His goal pace is 50 minutes per goal better than the second and third players on the list, both Jared Borgetti and Luis Flores. At this stage in his career, can we say that El Chicharito has been Mexico’s best scorer of all time? Only time, pace and statistics will tell.