|John Terry Celebration Meme, read on and you will understand...|
Of course you always wanted to know, who is the best football player of all times. Sure this might be a question about which real football afficionados might argue forever. Also Wikipedia will not be able to give you the definite answer. But, we can play around with the available data and maybe we find out something interesting about football players again ...
But, first at all, I want to say thank you to Kingsley Idehen, who gave me the hint for my SPARQL query links to use the parameter "qtxt=" instead of "query=", which enables others to see the original query and to use it for further data explorations. Thus, all SPARQL query links will be given in this form.
So let's start with the most simple query: Select all football players and their popularity (indegree) in descending order starting with the most popular player. We must be a little bit careful, because the class SoccerPlayer does not only contain "real persons" but also popular roles of football players such as e.g. "Captain". Therefore, we filter the results for entities that have a name (via foaf:name). Here are the Top50 football players according to wikipedia. For the entire list, please refer to the references .
|Alessandro Del Piero||926|
|Ruud van Nistelrooy||861|
|Robin van Persie||720|
|Dwayne De Rosario||617|
Yes, it was obvious for everybody that names such as Ronaldo, Beckham, Thierry, Pelé occur among the top popular players. Unfortunately, I'm not a football expert to comment further on that. Let's have a look, whether popularity corresponds with the number of achieved goals. However, this information is not easy to extract. For some of the football players, there's a property dbprop:totalGoals, while most of them has dbprop:goals. But the later sometimes exists multiple times for single years or periods. Thus, we have to sum up all dbprop:goals, while keeping in mind not to count any number more often than once (because an entry might be reproduced in our result list for several reasons).
|David Schofield (footballer)||76543210||9|
|Marei Al Ramly||6037||11|
|Elias Ribeiro de Oliveira||1187||26|
|Mohd Amar Rohidan||1020||38|
|John Bartley (footballer)||762||1|
|Ernest Spiteri Gonzi||704||11|
|Pierre van Hooijdonk||670||238|
|Trevor Phillips (footballer)||655||4|
|Harry Johnson (footballer born 1899)||610||25|
|Tony Brown (English footballer)||498||47|
|Nguyen Minh Phuong||496||50|
|Leônidas da Silva||484||98|
|Zeki Rıza Sporel||470||75|
|Arsénio Trindade Duarte||409||19|
Again we see, that DBpedia data (resp. Wikipedia data) is somehow 'noisy'. The first 3 ranks are obviously wrong concerning the number of goals. Simply because if David Schofield really would have achieved 76,543,210 goals, it would mean that he had won about 5 goals per minute of all the 32 years of his entire life so far. This must be kind of an extraction error. If we look at the players with more than 1000 goals, then a closer inspection reveals some handballers that either are also footballers or are wrongly declared to be footballers. In handball it is easier to achieve a higher number of goals compared to football. Trevor Phillips and John Bartley really achieved more than 600 goals, but their popularity score signals that they did achieve this not necessarely in the major league. The first top ranked prominent football player in this list definitely is Pelé with 620 goals. The only other two in this Top50 list I have already heard of are Eusébio and Uwe Seeler, but don't take me as a reference :)
Lets order the list again the other way around according to the most popular players to investigate their goal score:
|Alessandro Del Piero||223||926|
|Ruud van Nistelrooy||249||861|
|Robin van Persie||130||720|
|Dwayne De Rosario||94||617|
As we would expect, most of the popular football players are also good goal scorers. Well, there are a few exceptions. Take John Terry with a popularity score of 669 and only 30 goals. Why might he be so popular then? Taking a closer look at Wikipedia reveals that Terry plays at centre back position and is the captain of Chelsea in the Premier League. Well, that's already something for popularity. But, if you look even closer, you will find more: under the topic 'Controversies' you will find charges for assault and affray, a £60 fine for parking his Bentley in a disabled bay, extramarital affair allegations as well as racial abuse allegations. But, neither of these is directly responsible for Terry's popularity. In fact it's an internet meme (cf. introductory picture of this article). John Terry was suspended for the UEFA Final and had to watch his team in a suit and tie on the sidelines. He did look quite miserable as he sat there, watching his team defend for their lives and then miraculously pull out the victory. However, as soon as Chelsea made the victory, it was party time for Terry! He immediately threw off his suit like Superman and revealed his full Chelsea kit underneath his suit. The internet community enjoyed his dedication to his club and soccer so much that immediately a popular internet meme lampooning his behaviour appeared on the web, becoming one of the most popular online jokes in 2012. Terry has been pictured taking part in great moments in history and fiction. These included the fall of the Berlin Wall, the freeing of Nelson Mandela, the triumph of Rocky Balboa, as well as the first landing on the Moon . Well, this should be reason for some popularity :)