After spilling his thoughts on football’s obsession with statistics, Pep Guardiola has finally drawn a line under the infamous Eden Hazard versus Mohamed Salah debate.
The debate has become the second generation of Frank Lampard versus Steven Gerrard, and the discussion is no laughing matter.
Fan treat the argument as if it were a game of top trumps; every statistic, fact, figure, highlight reel, and honor, you name it, no stone is left unturned until someone downs tools – it’s a marathon.
But, after years of dispute, which seem only ever to be unearthed during the international break, the Manchester City boss has resolved the war of words.
“Always we talk about the statistics – the players today play for the statistics, but this is the biggest mistake they can do,” Guardiola said, after having been pressed about Jack Grealish’s price tag.
“We’re involved in that. Statistics are just a bit of information that we have, but there are players who make the team play good and are not into statistics. But the players say how many goals I score or how many assists.
“With these kinds of situations, they forget everything. Statistics never existed before. It’s how you play today if you perform to your maximum, to your best, help your teammates to make the process defensively and offensively better – it’s enough.”
Meanwhile, the principle of the Spaniard’s message can be applied to the Hazard versus Salah debate; while the Egyptian may score more goals, the Belgian’s overriding influence on his team’s performance can not be overlooked.
A great example is by purely looking at either of their influences on a team that needs pulling out of a hole; Salah proved unsuccessful in rallying his side together for Egypt.
Meanwhile, Hazard for Chelsea in the latter years of his tenure often single-handedly carried a struggling Blues side to results.
Of course, 2022 Egypt and 2018 Chelsea are comparatively out of one another’s league, but relatively speaking, when the skill gap is arguably smaller, not many players in the world could have been the catalyst Hazard was, whereas many could have been so for Eygpt at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Ultimately, the pair are both wingers, and like the Lampard-Gerrard argument, either serve different purposes in which they’re both among the best in the world; the Belgian for building attacks and the Egyptian for finishing attacks.
Therefore, it isn’t easy to compare the two unless we all take my word – or even Guardiola’s. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.