After analysing football league players over nine seasons, from 2000 to 2009, Spanish researchers have come up with a mathematical method for estimating the goal-scoring performance of each player. According to their ranking, the most able strikers are Messi, Ronaldo Nazrio, Makkay, Villa and Etoo.
Over nine seasons, researchers from the faculties of Economic and Business Sciences at the Universities of Granada and Jan analysed the performance of football players in the Spanish league from 2000/2001 to 2008/2009, with the aim of creating a mathematical model to evaluate their goal-scoring potential.
Their paper, published in the 'European Journal of Sport Science', presents a model based on Bayesian statistics, which they say enables them to predict the number of goals each player will score based on their own individual qualities.
As the researchers explain, whether a player scores or not depends on easily quantifiable extrinsic factors, such as the number of minutes or matches played, the position on the pitch defender, midfielder or striker and the team quality (measured by their position in the league table). But this is not everything.
"Other factors that are harder to measure can also influence performance, such as the individual characteristics of the player that make him different from all the rest," explains to SINC Jos Mara Prez Snchez, professor at the institution in Granada and co-author of the study.
Extrinsic factors aside, the model can quantify an additional individual factor that influences the qualities of each footballer as a goal-scorer. "With this, we can rank Spanish league players according to this factor of individual ability," the authors assert.
The best players
The model enables a player's goal-scoring performance over the nine seasons analysed to be evaluated, by comparing the number of goals scored by the player with the number that would be expected o
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology