Last Saturday, Barcelona forward Neymar reached another notable milestone in an already glittering career.
Still only 24 years of age, the Brazil international — with an enviable collection of major honors to his name — made his 100th La Liga appearance during a dramatic 3-2 victory over Valencia.
The numbers Neymar has posted in reaching a century of appearances are impressive to say the least, and stand up well when compared to the other galaxy of stars in Spain’s top flight.
Camp Nou teammate Lionel Messi may have matured into a four-time Ballon d’Or winner and the greatest scorer Barca and La Liga have ever seen, but even the mercurial Argentine stands in the shadow of his fellow South American when it comes to his first 100 fixtures.
Neymar has made more starts and spent more time on the field than Messi managed in becoming a Barca centurion, while his goal output also betters that of his illustrious colleague.
A healthier return in the final third, by some 11 goals, means Neymar also boasts a better minutes-to-goals ratio, while his assist record shows that he is about much more than merely finding the target himself.
In fact, Neymar’s ability to create opportunities for others puts him on a par with Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo — with both men having provided 30 assists through their first 100 La Liga appearances.
The Portuguese is, however, in a league of his own when it comes to overall end product.
He may be going through something of a dry spell at present, but the 31-year-old was a force of nature upon his arrival at the Santiago Bernabeu blitzing the competition in terms of his goal scoring and ratios for either hitting the target or laying on a chance for others.
Elsewhere, in the battle for supremacy inside the Spanish capital, Karim Benzema’s record for Real makes for impressive reading.
An out-and-out goal scorer, the France international betters the return of his countryman from across the city at Atletico, Antoine Griezmann, in just about every area.
Despite making fewer starts and, as a result, spending less time on the field, Benzema managed twice as many goals and assists through his opening 100 La Liga appearances — netting at a rate only bettered by Ronaldo.