You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Charts: Messi and RVP are Having Brilliantly Efficient World Cups. Michael Bradley, Not So Much.

Miles run per goal scored, versus most miles run, period

Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images

From Miroslav Klose’s 15th World Cup goal to Messi’s sublime free kick against Nigeria, this has been a World Cup of goals. The group stage alone has seen 136 balls fly into the back of the net, meaning that each game averages a whopping 2.83 goals. Global names like Messi and Neymar have lived up to their lofty billing, and new stars like Colombia’s James Rodriguez are already in the making. 

But every player is different, and some are more efficient than others. Some attackers, like Germany’s Thomas Mueller, run their socks off all game, while others, namely Messi, seem to fade in and out before delivering the fatal blow to the opposition. Here’s a chart to show just how efficient—or lazy (depending on your perspective)—the leading goalscorers of the tournament are.

How Hard Did They Work For Their Goals

Compared to their peers, it’s a wonder Van Persie and Messi even break into a sweat. It’s not, of course, that these players are actually lazy, just that their team’s style of play and their clinical finishing allow them to drift in and out of the game. But as brilliant as they are, they couldn’t do it alone. Here are the top eleven workhorses of the tournament. These players, few of whom are household names, run from box to box every game, breaking up the opposition’s attack and connecting the passes so that the likes of Neymar and Robben can go for goal. Let’s take a minute to appreciate them. So many miles, so little glory.

Workhorses of the World Cup