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- Lionel Messi has been twice as good as Cristiano Ronaldo in recent seasons, according to a supercomputer developed at the University of Leuven.
- Belgian scientists used data from league games between 2013-2018, taking into account every action both players took during each match, to develop their algorithm.
- Actions were each given a score based on how much they increase the probability of a goal being scored, before being added together at the end of each game and averaged out over the five seasons.
- Messi ended with a score that was twice as high as Ronaldo’s.
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Lionel Messi is twice as good as Cristiano Ronaldo.
At least that’s according to a supercomputer developed by scientists at the University of Leuven.
The Belgian brainiacs, alongside Dutch firm “SciSports,” used an algorithm that logs every action both players had on the ball during league matches between 2013 and 2018.
This could have been a forward pass, a cross, a tackle, or anything else, but each action was given a score based on how much it increased or decreased the probability of scoring a goal, which was then totalled at the end of each game.
This total, known as a VAEP score (Valuing Actions by Estimating Probabilities), was then averaged out across every league game from the start of the 2013-2014 season to the end of the 2017-18 season.
The end result: Messi ended up with an average VAEP score of 1.21, while Ronaldo’s score was a meager 0.61 – that’s twice as high, and proves once and for all that the Argentine is the greater of the two superstars. Sort of.
Still confused? This nifty video that might clear things up.
Both Messi and Ronaldo enjoyed domestic success, individually, and with their respective clubs, between 2013-2018.
In five La Liga campaigns with Barcelona, Messi managed to score an astonishing 167 goals and provide 66 assists, helping his side win three league titles.
During the same period with Real Madrid, Ronaldo managed just two fewer goals (165) than his Argentine rival, and provided significantly fewer assists (47), as Madrid won La Liga just once in the 2016-2017 season.
Outside of La Liga, Messi helped Barcelona win seven other major trophies, while Ronaldo helped guide Madrid to three consecutive UEFA Champions League trophies.
Neither of these accomplishments are included in the University of Leuven’s algorithm, as it looked at league date only.