Last week we unleashed the first part of our Messi dataset, covering the big little man’s early days from 2004/05 – 2007/08. That first release offered a unique look into the burgeoning years of our intrepid protagonist. His formative days have never really been given this sort of treatment before, so the value was obvious and people seemed to have fun with it.
We did our analysis on the site featuring all sorts of data nuggets and cameos from famous faces. Of course though the whole point here is to get it out into the wider world so you can have a go with it. It’s early days for this project but already folks are starting to get their feet wet. This project isn’t just intended for experienced analysts, we want it to be a gateway for everyone into the world of playing with data (hence why we produced R Primers in English and Spanish). Here’s an assorted selection of what folks on Twitter have shared so far, with apologies to anyone who feels left out:
“Made some non-messi Shotmaps using the @StatsBomb data. pic.twitter.com/lqqYQaDF04″
— caleb_shreve (@caleb_shreve) July 20, 2019
“The 🐐’s link up play with Samuel Eto’o from 04/05 to 08/09. Data from the @StatsBomb #Messi database pic.twitter.com/3opUNQLnX0″
— Joe Shaw (@JosephShaw_) July 19, 2019
“some reminiscing on some early years Messi wizardry, courtesy of @StatsBomb‘s latest open data drop. highlighted games are the most potent in sharp end attacking contributions (highest xG, xG assisted, xG + xGA, per 90). pic.twitter.com/N0Cm6kgHwA”
— ewen (@ewen_) July 18, 2019
“Using @StatsBomb data, a look at Messi’s early years (aged 17-20, under Frank Rijkaard), where he played predominantly on the right wing. 🐐 pic.twitter.com/UBVGHK8pDb””
— George Ball (@GeorgeBall95) July 21, 2019
“Who received passes from Messi most often between 2004-2008?
Left: total, Right: per 90.
Messi most commonly passed to Xavi, Ronaldinho and Deco, followed closely by Eto’o. Will be interesting to see this develop through the years once the data is out. pic.twitter.com/Gdw3ogA9oB”
— ollie. (@bfcoIIie) July 21, 2019
“Here are Pass Sonars for some of Barcelona’s key players and the team as a whole from the last @StatsBomb data release. pic.twitter.com/fYpDfkTdZV”
— Eliot McKinley (@etmckinley) July 22, 2019
“Plot of Messi’s shot assists coded by their recipients, in seasons 2004-2008. pic.twitter.com/Z1lb82ElPy”
— ollie. (@bfcoIIie) July 21, 2019
“I’m a novice with R, but I was able to replicate their tutorial for the completed box pass plot for Messi. Gonna try some new things shortly pic.twitter.com/EjuuAZSSpg”
— Billy M (@Wideoverload) July 17, 2019
“Was messing around with the first batch of Statsbomb’s Messi data and it amused me to spot this.
This is 2004/05 to 2007/08.
Dani Alves joined Barcelona in July 2008. pic.twitter.com/zUoOMbf3s8″
— Mark @ Get Goalside! (@Get_Goalside) July 21, 2019
“The Early Evolution of Lionel Messi
Using @StatsBomb data to visualize where #Messi got involved in goal possessions across his first four seasons.#FCBarcelona #soccerviz pic.twitter.com/FUn6i26U4k”
— Rasmus Christensen (@wiscostretford) July 17, 2019
“Here are Messi’s El Clásico dribblings during those years.
Standout being the one before his 90th minute 3-3 equalizer in 2007 at Camp Nou – his 3rd goal of the match.
Highlights gave me goosebumps:https://t.co/uX04DFqz10
His Third:https://t.co/ljMjaIJPeF@Statsbomb Data pic.twitter.com/WJHTh0uDrE”
— danzn1 (@danzn1) July 16, 2019
Now though, we bring in part two. Given Messi’s inconsistent playing time during those initial years, the real meat of his career was yet to come. With this new dataset you’ll really get the chance to sink your teeth into some beefy stuff.
Our second release covers 2008/09 – 2011/12. That’ll be the entirety of Pep Guardiola’s time as Barcelona manager and, my word, what heady days they were. Trophies galore, heaps of goals and essentially turning football on its head (for better or worse, depending on your perspective) via the medium of a million passes. This, of course, is also when Messi himself went truly supernova. At 21-years-old he had now moved from ‘best young talent in the world’ to ‘this is absurd, how is he even doing this, Jesucristo’.
But don’t take my word for it. All of that data is now yours to play with at your own leisure (it actually quietly went up last night! Hello to any eagle-eyed folks – Ethan – who spotted that). If you’ve yet to use our data then head over to our resource centre, sign the user agreement and jump in. If you’re already set up then you don’t need to do anything, the new seasons are all there. Enjoy finding your own ways to demonstrate Messi’s ridiculousness.
Again, if you’re a bit tentative with getting started then have a gander at our guides for using the data in R. Hopefully they’ll offer a gentle nudge in the right direction.
GUIDE IN ENGLISH HERE -> Using StatsBomb Data In R English
GUIDE IN SPANISH HERE–> Using StatsBomb Data In R – Spanish
However you approach it you should have a blast digging into the Pep-era data. Next week this tour takes us to the 2012/13 – 2015/16 seasons, the era of ‘Messidependencia’, the dawn of a new preposterous attacking trio and all sorts of records being broken.
Until then, be well and have great days.