REVEALED: Cristiano Ronaldo IS Football’s GOAT Ahead Of Lionel Messi And Pele

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REVEALED: Cristiano Ronaldo IS Football's GOAT Ahead Of Lionel Messi And Pele

REVEALED: Cristiano Ronaldo IS Football’s GOAT Ahead Of Lionel Messi And Pele

A University of Oxford mathematician is claiming to have settled the oldest debate in football – who is the greatest player of all time?

Using a unique algorithm that takes into account achievements on the club and international stage, Dr Tom Crawford compared football legends across all eras in search of the definitive answer.

And Dr Crawford’s number crunching has revealed Manchester United new boy Cristiano Ronaldo is the greatest of all time (GOAT).

The Portuguese superstar, who is poised for his second debut at Old Trafford in the coming days, finished ahead of his Argentine rival Lionel Messi plus icons Pele, Ferenc Puskas, Alfredo Di Stefano and Diego Maradona.

Dr Crawford, a huge football fan himself, devised seven categories on which the legends would be assessed and ranked them accordingly on behalf of LiveScore.

READ: Top 10 Premier League all time goal scorer, favorite victim

4 ball boys who became professional footballers

In order to qualify in the first place, the players needed to have won at least two Ballons’ d’Or or be recognised as a great in the era prior to 1956 when the prestigious award was created.

That left a shortlist comprising Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi, Pele, Maradona, Marco van Basten, Johan Cruyff, Puskas, Di Stefano, Ronaldo (the Brazilian one) and Michel Platini.

The seven key criteria

Dr Tom Crawford’s algorithm assessed players against seven weighted categories.

1. Honours (domestic and European) won at club level weighted by the UEFA coefficient for relative strength of the competition

2. Honours won at international level – 150 points for a World Cup, 100 for European Championship or Copa America with extras for Golden Boot wins

3. Goals scored at club level

4. Goals scored at international level

5. Votes received in the Ballon d’Or – number of votes awarded to the Ballon d’Or winner divided by the total number of votes awarded to the top three players. This was then multiplied by 100 to give a percentage.

6. Individual records held – for example, top goalscorer for a club or nation, or top scorer in a competition.

7. ‘Z-Factor’ seasons or ‘campaigns that are mathematically outstanding’ where player’s goals guided their team to glory

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