Footballing superstars, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are widely considered to be two of the greatest players in the history of the sport, with the duo winning numerous honours, including five Ballon d'Or awards each.
However, there has always been a debate between sets of fans of the two superstars on who is better and now computer scientists from Belgium's KU Leuven university, have claimed to come to one definite answer.
As per Sporza, professors at the university have teamed up with Dutch data specialists SciSports to come up with something called Valuing Actions by Estimating Probabilities (VAEP), which answers the eternal question on who is better.
The formula looks at the players' all-round games, and claims to take into account everything that they do on the pitch in both attacking and defensive roles, according to Jesse Davis, a professor at the university.
"The value of a soccer player is often determined by goals and assists. A goal is a rare event, however, because an average of 1,600 actions are estimated to occur in a match. Our model looks at each action - shots, passes, dribbles, tackles - and calculates its value," he said.
The scientists analysed data between 2013/14 to the end of 2017/18 when Ronaldo left Real Madrid and as per the supercomputer, Messi comes out on top and by a long way. The Argentinean had a VAEP score of 1.21 per game, which is much higher than Ronaldo's 0.61.
"In the first seasons, Messi and Ronaldo's scores are very close to each other. From the 2015/16 season, Messi has stepped away from his eternal rival. Messi is exceptional in this area: the Argentinian has a very high number of actions and they also have a high value," PhD student, Tom Decroos said.
The supercomputer might have answered the question, but there is no doubting that the duo are without doubt two of the best and given joy to numerous fans over the past decade or so.