The Hyundai A-League’s greatest-ever scorer Besart Berisha dropped a bombshell on Friday, with the news he was leaving Melbourne Victory to pursue an overseas move.
Berisha departs as one of the best players – let alone imports – to grace the competition and also one of the most successful with four championships to his name from his time at both Brisbane Roar and Victory.
CONFIRMED: Berisha departs Victory
There’s not much the 32-year-old hasn’t achieved in his seven years in the Hyundai A-League, from his incredible goal-scoring return, to spectacular strikes and win-at-all-costs mentality making him a fan-favourite wherever he played.
Now, after so many highlights and wonderful memories, Berisha’s time in the Hyundai A-League has come to an end.
So just what kind of impact did he have on the league and how successful was he? We take a look at the Opta data to find out.
BESART BERISHA (Hyundai A-League stats)
Brisbane Roar: Games – 76, Wins – 38, Draws – 16, Losses – 22, Goals: 48
Melbourne Victory: Games – 110, Wins – 57, Draws – 23, Losses 30
Goals – 68 (Headed – 11, Right foot – 36, Left foot – 21)
BERISHA PUNCHES ABOVE HIS WEIGHT
According to Opta’s ‘expected goals’ metric, - which has been in used for the last three seasons – Berisha exceeded the number of goals he was expected to score per game in two of the last three campaigns.
In 2015/16, the data predicted the Kosovan international would average 0.54 goals per game, with his actual output 0.73 per game.
He did even better the following season, tipped to contribute 0.70 goals per match but netting 0.76.
It was only in the 2017/18 Season where Berisha didn’t reach his expected goals tally, returning 0.52 per game when expected to have 0.57.
But while his goal return dropped last season, his assists per match increased to 0.22 assists per match compared to 0.14 in 2016/17 and just 0.04 the season before that.
*The Metric takes into account a range of factors such as conditions, opposition, shots, chances etc to determine an expected number of goals a player would net in a period of time.
RECORD AMONG HYUNDAI A-LEAGUE’S ELITE
After scoring his first goal in Round 2 of the sixth season of the Hyundai A-League, Berisha has been the most consistent scorer the competition has ever seen.
And it enabled him to quickly chase down prolific goal-scorers Archie Thompson and Shane Smeltz to become the Hyundai A-League’s deadliest striker.
Berisha hit the ground running in his very first season Down Under, scoring 21 goals in that 2011/12 Season, the most of any player in their first season in the competition.
In comparison, Smeltz scored nine in his first season, with Thompson eight.
And Berisha reached double figures for goals in every campaign, with 2013/14 his least profitable (13), although he only played 20 games in that season.
BERISHA’S GOAL TRAJECTORY COMPARED TO SMELTZ/THOMPSON
BERISHA’S SHOOTING NUMBERS
Perhaps the biggest strength of Berisha’s game was that he didn’t need many chances to score goals.
In fact, throughout most of his Hyundai A-League career he averaged a little more than two shots on goal per match.
The 2012/13 Season was his most prolific when it came to shots (averaging 3.78) per 90 minutes of game time, with a little more than 53% of those hitting the target.
While his final season with Victory resulted in his least amount of shots per 90 minutes (2.11), his accuracy rate of 62% was among the best of his Hyundai A-League career (64.58% in 2011/12 his best).
DID YOU KNOW?
Berisha is the only player in Hyundai A-League history to have scored more than 30 goals for multiple clubs.
His 19 goals from penalties is the third most of any player, behind former coach Kevin Muscat (24) and Smeltz (21).