Former Real Madrid captain Raul Gonzalez (1994-2010) is second on the list, put together by the Centre for Historical Investigation and Statistics of Spanish Football (CIHEFE).
The study, based on a series of coefficients which bear in mind the number of minutes played each season, the goals scored, from the penalty spot or into one’s own goal, as well as red cards, has been devised by investigator Jose Antonio Ortega.
From the first match in the first season of the Spanish competition almost ninety years ago, a total of 9280 footballers have played in the top flight of Spanish football, 854 of whom have been goalkeepers.
Messi has been awarded the first position for many reasons, chief of which is the fact that he is the only player to have surpassed 300 goals, having scored 349 since his debut in 2004.
The Argentine boasts 545 points, in front of La Liga legends such as Raúl (528), César Rodriguez (524), Telmo Zarra (493), Enrique ‘Quini’ (488), Juan Arza (481), Alfredo di Stéfano (481), Paco Gento (467), Carlos Alonso ‘Santillana’ (464) and Guillermo Gorostiza (454).
Cristiano Ronaldo is in 12th position with 415 points and is ranked second among players still in the game, just behind Leo Messi.