Valencia (Spain), Aug 6 (IANS) Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi is the best player over 86 seasons of the Spanish league since 1929, according to a study released by the Centre for Research on History and Statistics of Spanish Football (CIHEFE).
Spaniard Raul Gonzalez, former forward of Real Madrid between 1994 and 2010, came in second behind the Argentine superstar, reports Efe.
Barcelona’s former player Cesar Rodriguez (1941-1960) came third, ahead of fourth-placed Athletic Bilbao star Telmo Zarra (1940-1957) and fifth-placed Enrique Castro ‘Quini’, who played in Sporting Gijon and Barcelona between 1968 and 1987.
The study, prepared by researcher Jose Antonio Ortega, was based on a series of criteria, including the players’ minutes each season, goals and even how many times they were sent off.
A total of 9,280 players, including 854 goalkeepers, appeared in La Liga matches over nearly 90 years.
Messi topped the list of all these players, as he is the only player who scored more than 300 goals, having already netted 349 goals.
The Argentine superstar topped the list with 545 points ahead of Raul (528), Caesar (524), Zarra (493) and Quini (488).
Ortega pointed out in his study that Messi has several skills and qualities, including good tactics, ambition and talent that have made him one of soccer’s “all-time greats.”
Real Madrid Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo came in 17th position with 415 points, while he was the second highest goal scorer in the history of La Liga with 285 goals.
All players listed by the study played for at least 10 seasons in La Liga in one or two clubs, although some of them always have stayed at one club throughout their career.