There are many players called to inherit the throne of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the highest masters of world football. I would say Eden Hazard, Memphis Depay, Antoine Griezmann, Kevin De Bruyne, Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial… but considering the high rivalry between Madrid and Barcelona, and the status of both players, I have decided that the first comparative to find the heirs to the throne is Neymar vs Bale.
As in the section Messi vs Cristiano, I have made this comparison, as a statistical, rigorous and totally objective analysis, in which I will confront individual and collective achievements that Neymar Jr and Gareth Bale go getting.
Considering that in the beginning Bale played in a more backward position than Neymar, I have made appear first the graphs that compare their numbers while both play in Spain. As always you can compare other ranges by clicking on the buttons below.
In the first graphic we can see that they have practically played the same games since arriving in Spain, and while Neymar has scored more goals, Bale has given more assists.
If we go to the global comparison, since they debuted in professional football, we see that Neymar has scored many more goals, which is logical since Bale did not start to play as a winger until his last years at Tottenham. Previously, he played as a left back. In assists given, however, they are pretty much on par.
If we limit the sample only to performances for clubs, we see that Neymar is still far ahead in the scoring aspect, while Bale is ahead in assists given.
If we limit the sample only to performances for national teams, we see that Neymar clearly surpasses Bale in the number of assists given.
Finally, referring only to the Champions League, we see that Bale highlighted above Neymar giving assists, while the Brazilian has scored more than the Welsh, having played few games more.
This chart shows all the goals scored by Neymar and Bale per season.
Looking at the graph called “Since they play in Spain” we will see that in his first season Bale surpassed Neymar by 7 goals, while in the second the scoring production of Neymar was much higher, surpassing Bale by 22 goals.
Turning to the chart “Clubs and national teams”, we will see the scoring evolution of Bale since he started playing as a winger, raising their numbers to 12, 15 and 31 goals in his last three seasons in the Premier League. Later, in Madrid, he has remained above 20 goals. With Neymar we see a curious behavior. Apparently, he alternates periods of high scoring production, with more moderate ones.
This chart shows the sum of all the goals scored by Bale and Neymar.
We can see that, in his second season in Spain, Neymar leads in number of goals, even though Bale completed the first season 7 goals ahead.
If we move to the graphic “Clubs and Teams” we see that there is a great difference in the number of goals scored, which is partly due to the years that Gareth Bale played as a left back.
This chart shows the goals scored by Neymar and Bale according to their ages, arranging them as if they were born in the same year.
It is clear that Neymar was scoring a lot of goals between 16 and 23 years old, quite normal because Bale did not start to play as a winger until he was 22 years old.
In the current season, Neymar would need to score at least 31 goals to reach the figures Bale got at age 23 in his last year in Tottenham.
This chart shows the sum of all the goals scored by Bale and Neymar, depending on the ages of both.
Again, the beginnings of Bale as a left back make this graph clearly decanted for Neymar, who currently almost doubles the number of goals scored by Bale.
This chart shows the scoring rate of Gareth Bale and Neymar Jr, per season.
In his first year in Spain, Bale averaged a goal every two games, Neymar somewhat less. In the second season, Bale reduced its contribution, while the brazilian propelled up to 0.76 goals per game.
This chart shows the scoring average of Gareth Bale and Neymar, by age.
Again, the graph shows that in the early years of Bale his scoring production was not excessive. In his last season at Tottenham, at 23 years old, he got a scoring average of 0.60 goals per game, surpassing records Neymar obtained at 16, 18 and 21 years old, but still falling short of the figures achieved by the Brazilian at 17, 19 and 22 years old.
This chart shows the assists given by Neymar and Bale, per season.
We can see that they had excellent numbers in their first season in Spain, with 17 and 13 assists, while in the second year that record fell in both.
If we go to the chart “Clubs and national teams” we can see this is possibly the most equalized chart.
This chart shows the sum of assists given by Neymar and Bale, per season.
We see that Bale has given more assists than Neymar in the Spanish League. If we go to the chart “Clubs and national teams” we see that on aggregate in their careers they are virtually tied.
This chart shows the number of assists given by Neymar and Gareth Bale by age, as if they were born in the same year.
We can see that only at 22 years old Bale beat the assists record of Neymar. In the current season, Neymar has already surpassed the 16 assists Bale did at 23 years old.
This chart shows the sum of assists given by Neymar and Bale by age, as if they were born the same year.
It is noted that in the past year Neymar’s assistant production was lower than his standard pattern. For Bale, the curve is more or less stable.
This chart shows the goals generated per season, ie the sum of goals scored and assists that Gareth Bale and Neymar Jr. have produced.
We note that in his first season in Spain, Bale produced 11 goals more than Neymar, while in the second the brazilian generated 17 goals more than the Welsh. In the graph of “Clubs and Teams” we can se again the alternating behavior for Neymar, where it seems that every first level season is followed by a more modest one.
This chart shows the sum of the goals generated by season, ie the sum of goals scored and assists given by Gareth Bale and Neymar Jr.
Since arriving in the Spanish League both have generated almost the same number of goals, including those who have scored themselves and those who they assisted.
This chart shows the goals generated by age, ie the sum of goals scored and assists given by Gareth Bale and Neymar compared as if they were born the same year.
We see that Neymar would have to generate 47 goals this year to match what Bale did when he was his actual age (23 years old). From this age it is when the best goalscoring figures of Welsh started, as he converted to a winger.
This chart shows the sum of the goals generated by age, ie the sum of goals scored and assists given by Gareth Bale and Neymar Jr, arranged as if they were born in the same year.
We are back to a chart influenced by the years of Bale as a defense. We can see that the scoring and assisting rates of Neymar are much higher than Bale’s.
What we see here is the direct influence rate. That is, how many goals generate Neymar and Bale per game, including those that they score themselves and the ones they assist to their teammates.
We see a curious behavior, because it seems they have switched roles from the first to the second season.
In this graph we see direct influence of Neymar and Bale by age. That is, putting their records as if they were born the same year.
We can see that Neymar has generated more goals for their teams and selections from 16 to 22 years old, and this year he will have to get a 0.90 rate to equalize the influence Bale reached at 23-24 years old.
I have excluded from the table the awards that relate to one country or region, as both have won awards relating to Wales or the Paulista championship, or internal titles of the Premier League or the Brazilian league, and I’ve only kept the titles with continental character.