CRISTIANO RONALDO is the greatest male footballer of all time ahead of Lionel Messi, according to a study by a leading maths professor.

Dr Tom Crawford, a mathematician at the University of Oxford, has comprised a list of the ten best men's players ever by considering seven different factors.


They are club goals, club titles, international goals, international titles, Ballon d'Or awards, individual records and 'z-factor seasons' which were awarded for particularly standout campaigns such as Ronaldo's 17 goals in the 2013-14 Champions League.

In his video launched by LiveScore explaining the process, Dr Crawford firstly narrowed down the potential top ten by only considering those who had won the Ballon d'Or at least twice.

He was then left with 13 players which he then applied the seven categories to in order to find out a definitive top ten.

And it was Ronaldo who topped the standings with a score of 537 out of a maximum 700, 34 ahead of Barcelona and Argentina legend Messi.

He took the No1 spot thanks to his incredible stats when it came to club titles, international goals and individual records, with Dr Crawford giving him a 'G.O.A.T. [greatest of all time] Index score' of 100 per cent ahead of Messi's 94.

The Portuguese superstar recently broke the men's international goalscoring record with his brace against Republic of Ireland, taking his tally to 111.

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In third place is Brazilian legend Pele, with Hungarian Ferenc Puskas in fourth.

Brazilian Ronaldo rounds off the top five, followed by Marco van Basten and Alfredo di Stefano.

Frenchman Michel Platini finished in eighth, while World Cup winner Diego Maradona is surprisingly down in ninth despite many regarding him as the greatest of all time.

This can be put down to the fact that his brilliance did not sustain over a long period of time.

And Dutch icon Johan Cruyff concludes the top ten, just six points below Maradona.

But Dr Crawford, who is a big football fan, recognises that his findings will not bring an end to the debate.

He said: “As a massive football fan, I have long debated with my friends who the greatest player of all time is.

"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.

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"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!”

Ronaldo will look to make more history following his return to Manchester United.

He appears set to make his second debut for the club against Newcastle at Old Trafford on Saturday.

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