Lionel Messi

La Liga returned after a 3-month hiatus due to the Coronavirus and Lionel Messi picked up right where he left off. He created Barcelona’s third and fourth goals of the game before scoring one himself in injury time to give his side a comfortable 0-4 win.

Time-stamped: Lionel Messi’s goal against Mallorca – 13 June 2020.

However, it was the manner of his goal which was most interesting given that it was on his right foot. Clearly the defender didn’t want the Argentine wizard getting it on his wand of a left foot and therefore opted to show him inside giving him a much better shooting position, albeit on his ‘weak’ right foot. But how weak is Messi’s right foot and is it work giving up a good goal-scoring position rather than allowing him down the outside on his left?

To emphasise how bad this decision was from the defender, let’s look at Messi’s goalscoring in the last six seasons prior to yesterday’s game.

Lionel Messi’s shots by body part

Six season's worth of Messi's shots, broken up by body part. Data as at 12 June 2020.
Six season’s worth of Messi’s shots, broken up by body part. Data as at 12 June 2020.

We can see he has elite numbers with his ‘weak’ foot. He gets 52% of his shots on target and is performing at 116% of his xG.

To put those numbers into perspective, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 70 goals with his right foot in the same time period with an xG of 71.54. Aguero has 65 right foot goals from an xG of 63.64. Lewandowski has 80 from an xG 82.92.

Basically, Messi doesn’t have a weak foot. He favours his left because he defies what is possible with it. But if you push him onto his right foot, you are still facing elite level shots from him on it.

In summary: Don’t show Messi inside on his right. It will end badly.

To see a similar analysis of Cristiano Ronaldo’s shots broken down by body part, click here.

For Neymar, click here.

For Robert Lewandowski, click here.

This article was populated from a thread on twitter dated 14 June 2020. For this reason, it may not read the way our articles normally would. The character limit of twitter defined paragraph length and forced the use of abbreviations. The original thread can be found here. Thank you for reading.

A glossary of all the terms used in this article and throughout the site as a whole is available here.

Leave a Reply