Ribéry best performing big-5 league player … after Messi
Continuing on from last season, Lionel Messi again tops the CIES Football Observatory ranking for the best performing player in 2012/13. However, the second ranked player, Franck Ribéry, almost achieves the same performance levels. This should make him a serious outsider for the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or award.
Based on data provided by our OptaPro, the CIES Football Observatory rankings take into account pitch productivity in five key areas of the game: shooting, chance creation, take on, distribution and recovery (see below for more details). By weighting each indicator according to the strength of its correlation with club results, we obtain a general index highlighting the most decisive footballers.
Rankings of the ten best performing players in the five major European championships can be found in the final Big-5 Weekly Post of the season. This can now be downloaded from the CIES Football Observatory website.
Barcelona players feature at the top of three rankings out of the five concerning the key areas of the game covered by our analysis: Messi for shooting, Iniesta for chance creation and Xavi for distribution. This demonstrates that the recent success of the Catalan side is not only due to great individual talent, but is also the result of optimal labour division and the distribution of complementary skills amongst their team. Ribéry was the most productive and efficient player for take on, while Chielllini tops the ranking for recovery.
Methodological note: specifications of indicators
Shooting measures the effectiveness of players to shoot and score goals, excluding penalties. Chance creation refers to the ability of players to put teammates into shooting positions, with particular emphasis on goal assists. Take on highlights footballers who are both productive and efficient in dribbling, crossing and winning corners. Distribution refers to the ability of players to make accurate passes, above all in the opposition half. Finally, recovery brings to the fore players whose tackling and interceptions minimise the chances for opponents to score goals and shoot, especially from close range.