Ronaldo, Messi, Pele: Online study reveals who fans consider to be the GOAT

  • Kobe Tong
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The Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate is firing on all cylinders right now.

Messi vs Ronaldo debate

Messi's name is plastered on every corner of social media with the Barcelona superstar celebrating his 34th birthday, earning widespread praise for his astonishing career in the beautiful game.

Meanwhile, the ink is only just drying on Ronaldo's latest moment of history with the Portugal icon having equalled Ali Daei's record as the all-time greatest goalscorer in international football.

And although one player might be making the news for birthday candles and the other for a historic record, it's just a good old-fashioned excuse for us to compare the two legends once again.

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Online study into GOATs

Here at GIVEMESPORT, we've already looked at how they statistics contrasted when they first turned 34, but football isn't all about data because it's a matter of subjectivity as well.

And that's where a recent study by OGUS comes in because they have sought to shine a light on the Messi vs Ronaldo data by looking at the opinions of fans across social media.

To achieve this, OGUS have analysed and scraped through an astonishing 400,000 tweets that either includes the goat emoji or the word 'GOAT', which stands for the 'greatest of all time'.

It was then established which athlete the emoji or word was being used to describe and thus, gave them a fascinating data set on who fans are calling the very best the most often when they're online.

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Messi named the 'GOAT' most often

Interesting, right, but how does the data stack up? Well, it appears to be a pretty comprehensive win for Messi who helped himself to top spot with 20% of the 400,000 tweets being written about him.

That's enough for the 34-year-old to not only summit the ranking for football players, but also sport as a whole with Tom Brady and Bill Russell trailing on 10% and 5% of tweets respectively.

However, this is the Messi vs Ronaldo debating we're talking about here, so we're going to hone in on the top ten for football players and you can check out the data down below:

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Clear win for Messi

Surprising, right? Well, it's perhaps not a shock that Messi has helped himself to the throne, but for him to do so with almost 40,000 more tweets than Ronaldo is a staggering margin of victory.

The late, great Diego Maradona rounds off the podium, while Ronaldinho actually comes out on top when it comes to Brazilian icons with Pele - perhaps hampered by his era - trailing down in 5th.

It's great to see icons of the women's game making the top ten, too, with Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan and Marta reaping the praise they deserve across social media. 

But as for Kylian Mbappe making the top ten ahead of people like Johan Cruyff, Mia Hamm and Ronaldo Nazario, I think it's fair to say that some supporters are getting ahead of themselves.

Besides, even if you started spamming on your Twitter account that 'Mbappe was the GOAT' until you're blue in the face, it seems pretty doubtful that you'd leave a dent in Messi's legion of fans.

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