Realtime sports update provider LiveScore has attempted to settle the question as to who is football’s greatest player of all time, launching The G.O.A.T Index.

Commissioned in partnership with University of Oxford mathematician Dr Tom Crawford, the initiative is a data driven algorithm used to analyse the performance of multiple footballers throughout the sports history.

In a video posted on LiveScore’s YouTube channel, Dr Crawford explained the process behind the algorithm, detailing how in order to make into the shortlist a player must have won at least two Ballon d’Or Awards, which allowed for a total of 13 current and historical footballers.

The algorithm analyses factors such as international and domestic goals, titles, individual honours and career milestones, whilst also taking into consideration certain players who enjoyed their ‘Z-factor’ seasons in which their impact on the pitch significantly out-performed other competitors from the previous five seasons.

Overall, Cristinao Ronaldo topped the table with a total GOAT Index score of 100, followed by Lionel Messi at 94 and Pelé at 85. The remaining seven footballers featured in the top ten were Ferenc Puskás (57%), Ronaldo Nazário (52), Marco Van Basten (44), Alfredo Di Stéfano (37) Michel Platini (33), Diego Maradona (31) and Johan Cruyff (30).

“As a massive football fan, I have long debated with my friends who the greatest player of all time is,” Dr Crawford remarked. “I have loved bringing maths to the masses over the past few years, so being able to showcase how you can use it within the world of football has been a lot of fun. 

“Whilst Cristiano Ronaldo has come out on top from my algorithm, it is clear that all the other players’ stats are absolutely incredible, and I am sure the debate will continue.”

The key characteristics of Ronaldo – who serves as an official brand ambassador of LiveScore – which set the Manchester United striker out from others were his club titles, international goals and individual records, which created a ‘narrow advantage’ over other analysed players, whilst his five Ballon d’Or Awards were also factored.

Ric Leask, Marketing Director at LiveScore, said: “As football fans we have all grown up mesmerised by the most iconic players of our respective generations. However, when it comes to debating the Greatest of all Time, crowning the G.O.A.T. has been a difficult challenge.

“For the first time, we wanted to apply the science of maths to help us solve the eternal question, and it has been fascinating to watch Professor Tom Crawford pour over the numbers on behalf of millions of global fans. 

“The G.O.A.T. Index is about far more than a score, for us it helps to settle a debate that has run for generations. In May, we backed our man as we unveiled Cristiano Ronaldo as our official global brand ambassador, and now we know for sure that we have the maths on our side.”

LiveScore aims to settle who is football’s G.O.A.T