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Why is Cristiano Ronaldo only 49th most valuable? CIES explains

Why is Cristiano Ronaldo only 49th most valuable? CIES explains
From ESPN - January 10, 2018

The claim that Cristiano Ronaldo is now only the 49th most valuable footballer on the planet startled many when it was made by the CIES Football Observatory earlier this week.

According to CIES' model, the Real Madrid star is now far behind the world's most valuable player -- Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar (213 million), with Barcelona's Lionel Messi second (202.2m) and Tottenham's Harry Kane (194.7m) third.

Ronaldo's assigned value of 80.4m had him between Manchester United forward Anthony Martial and Monaco's utility man Fabinho in the top 100 list. Such a ranking from a respected organisation mandated by both FIFA and UEFA caused so much interest that a burst of traffic crashed the CIES website for a short time on Monday afternoon.

But according to CIES Football Observatory head Raffaele Poli hard data and past precedent suggest that the 32-year-old is just not worth as much as he used to be.

So what is included in the calculations?

The full methodology in determining their valuations is freely available on the Switzerland-based organisation's website and includes the level of the player's club, their potential suitors, age and performance in current season across different competitions, minutes played, international status and contract status.

"Looking at these different variables, you have a scientific algorithm which tells you what clubs have paid in the past for a player with these characteristics," Poli told ESPN FC. "It does not take into account inflation in the market, which is why we are quite close but a bit lower than the actual reported fees."

In Ronaldo's case the numbers were crunched the same as everyone else, and an objective price level was found.

"There are objective facts that explain [Ronaldo's valuation]," says Poli. "His age is the most important, but also Real Madrid have not performed that well, and Ronaldo himself has not scored so much, in the last few months."

What is not included?

It immediately seems odd that someone who in the last six months has picked up a fifth career Ballon d'Or, second consecutive FIFA 'Best' individual prize and a third UEFA player of the season award could be so far down the ranking. But Poli says that such individual awards do not fit into CIES' model.

"The Ballon d'Or cannot be a significant variable [for the algorithm]," he said. "You cannot include something which only concerns one or a few players. That would distort the model."

Off pitch commercial activities would also be a huge part of Ronaldo's attractiveness to any club, but this added value is also beyond the scope of the CIES calculations. A player's current reported high wages, or wish for a salary rise, is not taken into account either.

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