They both arrived in La Liga with great fanfare, not only because they joined rival teams, but both had heavy price tags attached. There is no doubt that Gareth Bale and Neymar have lit up Spanish football, and proven to be great additions to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively. This past weekend, with both players missing due to injury, neither Real Madrid nor Barcelona were able to win against Athletic Bilbao and Valencia. Barcelona’s loss even cost them the top spot in La Liga, whilst Madrid’s inability to beat Bilbao lost them the chance to move above Barcelona and into 2nd place.
As mentioned above, both players arrived with massive price tags hanging over them. Whilst Gareth Bale is officially the world’s most expensive player, with Madrid having paid a mammoth £85.3 million to Tottenham Hotspur, there is some controversy surrounding the true value of Neymar. Whilst the official amount is stated as £49m, it has been alleged that the true amount is higher than the amount paid by Madrid, making Neymar the world’s most expensive player.
Having this in mind, along with the fact that both teams failed to win, SportsMatrix takes a look at these two players to see who really is the better player and thus deserving of being the world’s most expensive. In order to do this, they created a special infographic that will showcase both these players’ impressive stats this season. You can find the full infographic on their blog.
Both these players are attacking-minded and their main role within the team is to assist in the building of attacks on the opposition goal. As can be seen from the infographic, even though Neymar is involved in more of these kinds of actions, Gareth Bale’s actions, on average, are of a higher quality.
Neymar does attempt to create chances more than Bale although they both have the same success rate. As for the conversion of those attempts into actual chances on goal, Neymar far outshines Bale in the number of chances he has per game although Bale has used his chances to more effect with the Madrid man converting more of his chances into goals.
As for 1-on-1 skill and by this we mean the art of dribbling, Neymar is the standout player here – both in the number of dribbles he does per game as well as the general quality of those dribbles.
When it comes to shots on goal, Bale has the upper hand as he shoots more often, with more of his shots coming close to being a goal. He also has a significantly higher conversion rate of shots to goal than Neymar. Bale is more prone to taking shots from all kinds of distances, whereas Neymar tends to try move the ball forward. This is also indicative of the varying styles adopted by the two teams.
At the end of the day, the stats would show that there is not that much to separate these two players and their values should, in fact, be pretty similar, regardless of what was actually paid and to whom.