Data analysis model compares Messi and Ronaldo


A programme developed by the The University of Leuven and SciSports has finally answered the most commonly asked question in football — Who is better between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo?

The program called Vauling Actions by Estimating Probabilites analysed all footballers’ actions on the pitch.  University professor Jesse Davis explained that, there is an estimated average of 1,600 actions per match. The value of a player is usually determined by goals and assists; however, a goal is a rare event.

“Our model looks at each of those actions: passes, shots, dribbles… and then calculates its value.” said the professor.

Based on the data provided by the programme which considers each of the contributions a player makes and what benefit, or otherwise, they bring to their team and the result of the game, Lionel Messi came out on top with figures of 1.21 compared to Cristiano Ronaldo’s 0.61.

The university study analysed all the available information of Ronaldo and Messi from the 2013-14 LaLiga season through to the 2017-18 campaign, having omitted performances of each player in the Champions League, Copa del Rey and international matches, a factor that some will point to as a key differential.



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