Dr Tom Crawford a Mathematician at the University of Oxford solved the eternal question, “Who is the greatest soccer player ever?”. Using a data algorithm developed by Dr. Crawford, he was able to research and analyze many of the greatest soccer players of all time and came up with a formula to measure their greatness.
Using seven categories of data points, such as club titles, international goals, individual records, and career milestones, Crawford was able to put together a list of the top ten greatest soccer players which include Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Pele, Diego Maradona, Ronaldo, and Johan Cruyff to name a few.
The following list will countdown the 10 top soccer players in Crawford’s G.O.A.T. Index score and highlight the key criteria for each member before getting to number 1. Here are the top 10 soccer players of all-time following the G.O.A.T. Index.
10. Johan Cruyff - 30% G.O.A.T. Index
The great Johan Cruyff was one of the greatest players of his generation and an idol to many around the world. The Netherlands attacking midfielder was a legend at Ajax and Barcelona, although after 1978 his achievements and career was further away from the soccer spotlight playing many years in the old NASL. Cruyff was the example of total Football and had an impressive managerial career later on.
9. Diego Maradona - 31% G.O.A.T. Index
Diego Maradona is one of the greatest enigmas of sport, what would have been of his career had he not had the life of excess that he had. Nonetheless the G.O.A.T Index does not take into account what Maradona did at the height of his powers, he won 2 Italian championships with Napoli, a low-level club at the time in Italy, and single handedly gave Argentina the 1986 World Cup. Four years later “El Diego” would be a finalist in Italy 90 and after 1990 his career plummeted.
8. Michel Platini - 33% G.O.A.T. Index
Michel Platini was a much more polished player than Maradona at least in the clubs he played for. Platini was a dominating force at Juventus winning 2 league titles, an Intercontinental cup, and European Cup. Platini won the Ballon d'Or three times, and I wonder if the G.O.A.T. Index takes into account the cases of corruption that Platini is currently involved in?
7. Alfredo Di Stéfano - 37% G.O.A.T. Index
In a different time, Alfredo Di Stéfano was considered the best in the world. The Argentine forward was electric during his time at Real Madrid scoring 216 goals in 282 games. Di Stéfano might be one of the few soccer players to represent three countries playing for Argentina, Spain, and Colombia.
6. Marco Van Basten - 44% G.O.A.T. Index
Marco Van Basten was a great player but above Maradona and Di Stefano? The truth was we saw so little of Van Basten, only 280 games where he scored an impressive 218 goals. Van Basten won an array of titles at the club level with Ajax and AC Milan, he played in only 1 World Cup in 1990 before a series of ankle injuries terminated one of soccer's most promising careers.
5. Ronaldo - 52% G.O.A.T. Index
The Brazilian Ronaldo was just like his nickname, a phenom, winner of various titles in Brazil, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands. Without question one of the most feared and most electric goal scorers the sport has ever known. Various knee injuries would sideline Ronaldo throughout his career, but he was an international superstar in the late 90’s.
4. Ferenc Puskás - 57% G.O.A.T. Index
Ferenc Puskás was a great goal scorer for Real Madrid, but to be honest, better players have come after him and before him at the club. If the index is taking into account titles won in Hungary, then Maradona’s two league titles with Napoli should have him at number 1 by 100000000000000000 points.
3. Pelé - 85% G.O.A.T. Index
Pelé won three World Cups, three World Cups! Had Pelé played in Europe without question he would have been the greatest of all-time. He did not instead playing his whole career with Santos and delighting the World at the games most important stage, the World Cup. Pelé would later play for the Cosmos in the United States and turned an anti-soccer country into a new ground for the sport, that has to be worth something.
2. Lionel Messi - 94% G.O.A.T Index
Lionel Messi is at number two because he only won titles in Spain, although that might change this season if he wins at PSG. Messi is a highlight reel player who along with Cristiano Ronaldo has been on top of his game for well over 15 years.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo - 100% G.O.A.T Index
Cristiano Ronaldo checks off all the boxes in this index, he has won titles in various top flight leagues, been a goal scorer in those leagues, has won championships of every color with his clubs and national team and has won the Ballon d'Or more than once. On a stats level, yes CR7 could be one of the greatest if not the greatest player ever.