AI picks Messi above Ronaldo, Maradona and Pele in GOAT debate

Messi picked by as the GOAT by AI || Credit: Imago

AI picks Messi above Ronaldo, Maradona and Pele in GOAT debate

Kolawole Babatunde 17:55 - 02.12.2023

Artificial intelligence has weighed in on the ongoing debate about the greatest footballer of all time by ranking the four top legends of the game.

AI has now taken a serious shot at the football debate that may never be resolved.

After leading Argentina to victory in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Lionel Messi secured a record-breaking eighth Ballon d'Or award this year. Despite this, a lot of people still consider Cristiano Ronaldo to be the "GOAT," since the legendary player from Real Madrid continues to score goals for both his club and his nation.

On one side are nostalgists who will gravitate towards legends like Diego Maradona, another Argentine icon, and Pele, a three-time World Cup champion.

Throughout their careers, all four players have shone brightly on the big stage, and AI has now attempted to rank them.

4. Diego Maradona 

Diego Maradona is the greatest player in Napoli history
Diego Maradona is the greatest player in Napoli history (Sports Illustrated)

There are many who disagree that Diego Maradona is one of the four best players of all time, but fans in Naploli and Argentina might wonder how he is not ranked as the greatest.

AI describes him as a player with "exceptional dribbling skills, vision, and the 'Hand of God' goal'." The football legend also scored one of the best individual goals in World Cup history by punching the ball past Peter Shilton in 1986.

3. Pele

The great Pele
The great Pele || Credit: X

The Brazil legend is remembered for winning three World Cups (1958, 1962, and 1970) with Brazil, but he was more than just what statistics say.

Pele was an athlete with a wealth of skill and vision who thrived physically way before players started following strict diets and constant exercise regimens. Before ending his career at the New York Cosmos, he played practically his whole career with Santos; nonetheless, his performances on the international stage are what many remember him for most.

His goal record appears to be questionable, according to sceptics. Whatever the precise number of goals, one thing is certain: he scored a significant number of them.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo 

Portugal legend Cristiano Ronaldo
Portugal legend Cristiano Ronaldo || Credit: Imago

Without artificial intelligence, football fans know what Ronaldo is about his "athleticism, goal-scoring prowess, and versatility."

Even though he is currently playing for Al-Nasr in Saudi Arabia, his current record of 739 club career goals continues to rise. And with 128 goals for Portugal, he holds the record for most goals scored in international football.

He also has a solid trophy haul from his times at Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus, where he has won numerous league titles and five Champions Leagues. Because of his unwavering ambition to be the greatest, he might not be happy that AI ranked him as the second-best on this list.

1. Lionel Messi

Messi was the MVP as Argentina won the 2022 World Cup
Messi was the MVP as Argentina won the 2022 World Cup | Imago

It is not by chance that he has eight Ballon d'Or titles. It might perhaps be an understatement to say that Lionel Messi is renowned for "his incredible dribbling, vision, and goal-scoring ability." Even though he doesn't quite have the same goal total as Ronaldo, there's no denying who is more magical when in control. 

The Argentine legend enjoyed the majority of his success at Barcelona, but many believed winning the Jules Rimet Trophy in Qatar was the pinnacle of his career. These days, he plays his football with Inter Miami at a level that actually appears to be much below him.