Toр 10 most skilful рlayers of all time according to AI – with Neymar coming sixth

Toр 10 most skilful рlayers of all time according to AI – with Neymar coming sixth

Football fans love mavericks and entertainers and now artificial intelligence has been used to rank the 10 most skilful footballers to ever lace up a pair of boots

As the influence of artificial intelligence on sport and the wider world grows, Chat GPT has compiled a list likely to leave football fans engrossed in debate. It has ranked the 10 most skilful players in the history of the game, no easy feat given the range of iconic names on offer.

Indeed, those placied span generations, although the list is just as notable for omissions as it is inclusions. Let’s just say there is no mention of the man that invented the ‘Cruyff turn’, a piece of trickery that revolutionised attacking play in the 1970s.

Mirror Football can reveal technology’s final 10, and it leaves no shortage of debate….

10. Garrincha

Among the great World Cup heroes to emerge from Brazil, Garrincha was pivotal to the country’s 1958 and 1962 tournament triumphs – winning both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot in the latter.

Described by AI as “a winger famous for his dribbling and ability to navigate through defenders,” the player dubbed ‘the little bird’ spent his entire club career in South America, denying him the global fame his talents merited. Were he to produce such close control and trickery in the modern era, Garrincha would be a YouTube phenomenon.

9. Jay-Jay Okocha

So good they named him in twice. And so good, he managed to play under the tactics of Sam Allardyce and yet still make this list.

The “dazzling dribbling and ball juggling skills,” attributed to his inclusion ring true, but so does the notion that Okocha had the tendency to thrill and frustrate in equal measures. A legend in his native Nigeria, English fans did get to enjoy his maverick ways at Bolton and Hull – but it’s telling that the world’s biggest clubs never came calling.

8. Cristiano Ronaldo

As AI alludes to, Ronaldo is primarily known for his relentless goal-scoring and incredible longevity. But to focus purely on that overlooks the step overs, back heels, and close control that signified his earlier days as a winger at Manchester United.

It took Sir Alex Ferguson to get the Portuguese icon performing consistently, but long before he was considered among the elite, the mercurial ability was plain for all to see.

7. Zinedine Zidane

As the description aptly acknowledges, Zidane’s technical ability, close ball control and creativity “were a joy to watch.”

Which probably begs the question as to why the 1998 World Cup winner languishes in seventh on the list. The French playmaker was never defined by goals, but his 2002 Champions League winner for Real Madrid – on his weaker left foot – remains an iconic goal.

6. Neymar

To some, he’s one of the most naturally gifted footballers of his generation having moved from Barcelona to PSG for a world-record transfer fee.

But while the move to Paris didn’t yield the Champions League win the club remain desperate for, or the Ballon d’Or glory the player himself craved, it doesn’t erase the mesmeric skill the Brazilian so often displayed. Credited by AI for his “remarkable dribbling ability, creativity, and flair,” few players in history have maintained such balance while travelling at speed.

5. George Best

Forget the off-field controversies, those who can recall the peak years of George Best at Manchester United will recall a genius at work.

In the top five because of his “incredible skill and flair,” the winger could dribble gracefully and expertly long before the days of pristine surfaces and predator boots. Had he remained fully fit and focused throughout his career, then Best’s name would be in the discussion for the greatest ever, not just the most skilful.

4. Lionel Messi

No one will be surprised at seeing Lionel Messi on this list. Many, will be shocked to see him down in fourth place, however.

Fans don’t need a computer to tell them the 2022 World Cup winner possesses “exceptional close control, dribbling ability, and creativity.” And like his long-time rival Ronaldo, the iconic forward has combined creativity with a prolific career goal-scoring record.

3. Ronaldinho

Few have matched the “mesmerising dribbling and audacious tricks” of Ronaldinho. Even fewer, have done so while maintaining an infectious smile and clear love for the game.

His 2005 Ballon d’Or win followed a year in Barcelona colours that few players, Messi aside, have ever matched with the Catalan giants. At his silky best, the ball would often appear glued to Ronaldinho’s feet. And when he chose to release it, he did so as if it were on a string. He could take a precise free-kick too. Just ask David Seaman.

2. Diego Maradona

That 1986 World Cup quarter final between England and Argentina may always be remembered for the ‘Hand of God’, but Maradona’s second goal could probably also be attributed to a greater power.

The “dribbling skills and close ball control” that AI credits him with wasn’t just on show against England, but throughout his iconic career. Worth remembering Maradona performed in an era where defenders were permitted to try and boot him into the stands.

These days, the great man wouldn’t just be beating defenders, he’d be drawing fouls and red cards galore too. Although VAR may have had something to say about that moment of ‘skill’ that left Peter Shilton flummoxed…

1. Pele

The intense debate over different eras will go on, but Pele’s “creativity, flair, and extraordinary ability to score goals” have stood the test of time.

Hence why, according to Chat GPT anyway, the fourth Selecao star to make this list comes in at No.1. Like Maradona, Pele would jink past defenders in an era where shin pads had barely been invented, and his play signified courage and class in equal measures.

Three World Cup wins didn’t come about by accident. And yet, pipping Maradona, Messi and co to this particular title, will have fans lauding and lamenting AI in equal measures. Dependant on what era they grew up in, of course.

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