Sambafoot Sunday: Brazilian Statistics - Who's the Best Brazilian Footballer?

Reuters
The role of statistics in judging players, and a look at the best Brazilians according to the stats.

Sambafoot Sunday by James Nalton. The beat goes on...

The world of statistics and analysis has revolutionised the way we consume football. Some think it bleeds the life out of the game and others (especially the bookmakers) know the power behind this continuously evolving phenomenon.

Brazilian footballers have always had a reputation for natural football gifts and a magical touch ingrained in their DNA, but now we can use the statistics to prove that they’re just like everyone else. Fortunately, we can also use the statistics to prove how magnificent some of them are when it comes to this football lark.

The best Brazilian playing in Europe’s top leagues at the moment, is Raffael of Borussia Mönchengladbach. That’s according to the statistics website WhoScored. The 28-year-old forward has struck up a partnership with German striker Max Kruse, and has a total of eleven goals and five assists this season. Between them they’ve scored half of their team’s goals.

Another similar partnership has emerged elsewhere in Germany, as the second best Brazilian playing in Europe, Roberto Firmino, has linked up well with young German prospect Kevin Volland at Hoffenheim. The pair have the same amount of goals as Raffael and Kruse - 19 - and Firmino tops the Bundesliga assists chart with 8.

The 22-year-old Firmino has attracted interest from several clubs across Europe, thanks to these impressive numbers and a string of outstanding performances in blue and white. However, the traditional form of scouting still needs to be done. Any club signing a player on statistics alone could be in for a surprise, as there are many tactical and mental aspects of the game which can’t be judged on numbers alone.

This uncertainty when it comes to statistics can also be demonstrated by the disagreements which emerge between the websites and organisations who chart this type of thing. The definition of a tackle will be different, possession will be measured using alternate methods, and different weight will be put on the various data.

If we were to look to another publicly available statistics website, Squawka, we see that their statistical judgement determines that the best Brazilian playing in Europe is Thiago Silva. This is something Sambafoot readers would agree with, as he was recently awarded the Samba Gold Trophy which is given to the best Brazilian in Europe, as voted for by you!

The idea of subjectivity in statistics was the topic in a recent Twitter discussion I had with @Nazdagama (an account you should follow). He said:

"Ratings from stats sites are to a certain degree also subjective - they are based on giving certain weight to certain stats (you might disagree with the relevance of those stats and/or the weight assigned to them)."

As someone who runs a Liverpool FC website which judges players out of ten, based simply on how good I think they play in each game, it’s interesting to ponder which, if any, performance based scores based on statistical data are objective. At the end of the 2012/13 season, Liverpool’s best player wasn’t Luis Suarez, as many might have thought, but Philippe Coutinho. His excellent four month period on joining the club saw him trump Suarez by 0.10, when taking an average of their season’s ratings.

Similarly, the awards will tell you that the best player in Brazil last year was Éverton Ribeiro, but the aforementioned WhoScored would disagree, as his team-mate Dedé topped their chart.

The statistical waters can be muddy at times, and there’s still a lot to be said for the old fashioned concept of watching football matches when it comes to judging a player - and there always will be.

However, the growing legion of amateur analysts and the increase of publicly available data can only add to our enjoyment of the game, especially if it means more notice is taken of unsung heroes such as Raffael and Roberto Firmino.

 



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August 20, 2014
12:57Report: Internazionale hold talks over F.C. Nordsjælland forward Emiliano Marcondes
12:25Shakhtar Donetsk attacker Douglas Costa open to AC Milan move
August 19, 2014
23:52Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino eager to secure deal for Cagliari midfielder Adryan
23:52Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto hoping for Brazil call up
23:42Agent Alessandro Alberti hails Jefferson Brazil call up and admits Botafogo may have to sell him
23:38Agent Alessandro Alberti pushes Botafogo goalkeeper Jefferson towards Italy
23:34Shakhtar Donetsk Head Coach Mircea Lucescu confirms Fiorentina and Milan interest in Fernando
17:06Chelsea manager José Mourinho defends Diego Costa after striker booked for diving
16:09New Brazil head coach Dunga names just ten players selected for World Cup in his squad for September friendlies
15:40Neymar takes part in ice bucket challenge and calls on Juan Camilo Zúñiga to continue the campaign
15:17Neymar shines on return from injury for Barcelona
14:56Dani Alves booed by Barcelona fans with move away looking likely
August 18, 2014
22:52Representative confirms Cagliari midfielder Adryan is in talks with Leeds United
22:46Rafael Cabral, Jorginho and Henrique included in Napoli squad to face Athletic Bilbao
22:38Shakhtar Donetsk Head Coach Mircea Lucescu admits Douglas Costa could leave
22:35Internazionale defender Juan Jesus ready for Stjarnan tie
14:20Liverpool’s Coutinho wants more goals in the 2014/15 season
14:07Figueirense scores late on against Atlético Mineiro to grab vital Brasileirão point
13:45Alan Kardec returns to haunt old club Palmeiras as São Paulo earn 2-1 win
13:40Neymar cleared to return for this evening's Barcelona match
13:30Arsenal may move for Shakhtar star Bernard
13:27Fred misses a penalty as Fluminense defeated 2-0 by Botafogo
13:21Flamengo grab second straight win to ease relegation battle
13:11Rogerio Ceni plays down title chances after Palmeiras win
13:11Ricardo Goulart scores again to help Cruzeiro defeat Santos
12:56Thiago Motta's nose broken by Brandao, PSG confirm
August 17, 2014
13:49Dunga wary of Colombia quality ahead of next month's international friendly
13:35Vasco da Gama level with Ceara atop Serie B after 2-0 home win
13:25Kaka and Alan Kardec to return for Sao Paulo against Palmeiras
13:15David Luiz disappointed in Brandao after head butt
August 16, 2014
23:11Report: Juventus to target Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar as alternative to Benfica captain Luisao
23:05Zlatan Ibrahimovic confident new signings such as David Luiz can help Paris Saint-Germain win the Champions League
23:04Paris Saint-Germain President Nasser Al-Khelaifi wants Bastia forward Brandao banned for life
22:56Thiago Motta head butted by Brandao following Paris Saint-Germain's victory against Bastia
22:20Italy playmaker Andrea Pirlo grateful for World Cup reception from Brazilian fans
17:58Ex-international Kleber announces retirement
17:47Julio Cesar expected to join Benfica
17:38Vasco complete loan signing of Gremio's Maxi Rodriguez
17:28No further transfer business for PSG, says boss Blanc
17:22Sao Paulo boss Muricy backs Palmeiras rival Gareca
August 15, 2014
23:06Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes new signings such as Diego Costa and Filipe Luis have made his side title contenders
22:57Ronaldinho's agent and brother Roberto Assis seemingly opens door to Palmeiras switch
22:49Internazionale midfielder Hernanes wary of Stjarnan threat
22:45Internazionale midfielder Hernanes ready for the Europa League after returning in PAOK draw
22:41Benfica President Luís Filipe Vieira insisted over captain Luisão despite Juventus rumours
22:37Adriano open to Catania move
12:22São Paulo president admits Barcelona are in talks to sign right-back Douglas
11:55Benfica president Luís Filipe Vieira: Luisão wants to finish his career with us
11:42Robinho inspires Santos to Copa do Brasil victory over Londrina
11:24Mircea Lucescu tells Douglas Costa to stay at Shakhtar for another season
August 12, 2014
23:04Brazil Under-20 Head Coach Alexandre Gallo intrigued by World Cup tactical trends
23:00Selecao Under-20 Head Coach Alexandre Gallo believes it will be difficult for Brazil to collectively improve
18:03Brazilian flair to win European Fantasy League in 2014/15
August 11, 2014
23:19Under-20 Head Coach Alexandre Gallo compares Brazil with Germany
August 09, 2014
22:34Alexandre Gallo: Germany an example, but Brazilians don't have the same patience
August 08, 2014
22:47Brazil Under-20 Head Coach Alexandre Gallo hopes more attention will be paid to youth system
August 07, 2014
13:27Dunga takes Brazil back to the future
July 23, 2014
17:02Napoli goalkeeper Rafael Cabral hoping for Seleção return under Dunga
July 19, 2014
23:19Gerard Houllier explains why Lionel Messi was awarded the Golden Ball
23:13Neymar believes Brazil can learn from Germany and Spain
23:07Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli welcomes introduction of vanishing spray into Serie A after World Cup success
July 14, 2014
23:57FIFA President Sepp Blatter denies involvement in selection of Lionel Messi as Golden Ball winner
23:48FIFA Secretary-General Jérôme Valcke expects Russia and Qatar World Cups to match Brazil
23:13Maicon philosophical over Brazil World Cup disappointment
July 13, 2014
23:44Fred hopes Fluminense will give him time off after World Cup disappointment
23:41Fred confirms he has retired from international football
09:54Sambafoot Sunday: Brazil's 2014 World Cup Fallout: New Failures
July 12, 2014
23:51Joachim Low: Germany can be the first European nation to win in Latin America
23:48Dunga: Germany played as a unit
23:44Thiago Silva left frustrated by Netherlands defeat
23:35Oscar has "horrible feeling" after Netherlands defeat
July 11, 2014
22:50Germany forward Thomas Muller looking forward to playing in the Maracana
July 09, 2014
23:55Neymar agent Wagner Ribeiro makes astonishing attack of Luiz Felipe Scolari
23:51Brazil Head Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari insists Germany defeat "not all bad"
23:48Cafu refused entry to Brazil dressing room after Germany defeat
15:30Tim Vickery Column: A look at Brazil’s capitulation against Germany and what now for Luiz Felipe Scolari
July 08, 2014
23:59Luiz Felipe Scolari: “Who is responsible for this result? I am, it’s me”
23:55Germany forward Miroslav Klose "truly happy" to break Ronaldo's World Cup scoring record
23:50Julio Cesar struggles to comprehend Brazil defeat
23:39Brazil 1-7 Germany: Ruthless Germany tear Seleção apart to secure historic semi-final victory
23:29Brazil 1-7 Germany: Player ratings
20:10Brazil v Germany: line-ups
July 07, 2014
22:25Brazil legend Amarildo believes Neymar absence could work to the Selecao's advantage against Germany
22:22Germany Head Coach Joachim Low wary of "robust" Brazil
22:05Maicon disappointed with refereeing on Neymar challenge
July 06, 2014
09:25Sambafoot Sunday: Ney Problem - Can Brazil Cope Without Neymar?
July 05, 2014
23:45Argentina forward Lionel Messi aiming for the World Cup final
23:30Medic insists vertebra injury will not compromise Neymar’s career
July 04, 2014
23:59Thiago Silva defends emotional Brazil
23:55James Rodriguez: David Luiz told me I was a good player
23:50David Luiz looks forward to "classic" encounter with Germany
23:47David Luiz: Colombia would have gone further if they “hadn't come up against Brazil”
15:34Luiz Felipe Scolari feels Brazil’s lack of a rivalry with Colombia will allow his players to be “more at ease'
July 03, 2014
18:58Brazil v Colombia – Preview
July 02, 2014
22:14Neymar confirms he is fit to face Colombia
22:10Colombia Head Coach Jose Pekerman confident his side can upset Brazil
22:06Neymar insists he can fit in any formation amid rumours that Luiz Felipe Scolari will switch to a 3-5-2 against Colombia
22:02Neymar happy for Brazil to win 1-0 against Colombia
July 01, 2014
23:24Fernandinho confident Brazil can handle expectations
June 30, 2014
16:29Brazil Head Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari unsure whether Neymar will be fit to face Colombia
June 26, 2014
14:33Report: Flamengo one of eight clubs who have enquired about loaning Internazionale midfielder Rubén Botta
June 16, 2014
11:35Brazil Head Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari backs Portugal to recovery from heavy Germany defeat
June 09, 2014
23:18Italy forward Lorenzo Insigne insists Italy’s poor defending in victory against Fluminense is “not important”
23:12Italy forward Ciro Immobile “excited” with hat-trick against Fluminense
22:56Italy Head Coach Cesare Prandelli pleased with Fluminense victory
22:52Italy Head Coach Cesare Prandelli delighted with Brazilian support
June 07, 2014
23:32Italy line up confirmed for Fluminense friendly
May 19, 2014
22:13Portugal Manager Paulo Bento names his 23-man 2014 FIFA World Cup squad
May 18, 2014
19:09Sambafoot Sunday: Botafogo's Shaky Start to 2014
April 13, 2014
08:34Sambafoot Sunday: Brazilian Clubs' Libertadores Numbers Game
April 06, 2014
09:20Sambafoot Sunday: Atlético Mineiro's Anelka Interest Should be the Norm
February 14, 2014
12:23Shakhtar Donetsk: President decided to support Maicon’s family
February 09, 2014
09:25Sambafoot Sunday: Where’s Wallyson? Botafogo find their new hero post-Seedorf
January 26, 2014
10:09Sambafoot Sunday: Cruciate curse affects Seleção hopes of three midfielders
December 01, 2013
13:36Sambafoot Sunday: Could Éverton Ribeiro Crack Europe?
November 25, 2013
11:39Brasileirão Week 36 round up: Vasco shock champions to stay in contention while defeat leaves Ponte Preta on the brink
November 24, 2013
10:17Sambafoot Sunday: Palmeiras Promoted with Chapecoense in Tow
November 17, 2013
12:00Palmeiras secure Brasileirão Série B title with 3-0 win against Boa Esporte
November 12, 2013
08:42Relegation threatened Fluminense sack head coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo
November 10, 2013
12:59Sambafoot Sunday: Atlético Paranaense's hurricane season
November 09, 2013
10:05Drummer angers Flamengo fans
November 04, 2013
13:04Brasileirão week 32 round-up: Big win for Vasco as in-form Goiás maintain top four push
November 03, 2013
17:31Sambafoot Sunday: Surprise Packages in the 2013 Brasileirão
October 28, 2013
11:31Brasileirão Week 31 round up: Vital win for Ponte Preta while Goiás maintain top four push
October 21, 2013
13:21Olympique Marseille without defender Lucas Mendes for Napoli fixture
12:12Injury rules Bayern Munich defender Dante out of Viktoria Plzeň tie
October 20, 2013
23:50São Paulo president Juvenal Juvêncio admits interest in Lucas Moura loan return
October 18, 2013
11:47Diego Maradona dispute’s Pelé’s FIFA recognition
09:04Del Bosque: Costa approach no insult to current strikers
October 17, 2013
21:43Hard work is paying off insists Bayern Munich defender Rafinha
13:17Rodrigo Lasmar: Ronaldinho on track to be fit for the Club World Cup
October 16, 2013
19:53Report: Tottenham Hotspur set to offer Paulinho extended deal
09:12Report: São Paulo could terminate Lúcio’s contract if injury concerns prevail
October 13, 2013
18:32Brasileirão: Grêmio slip up as Vitoria and Santos grab victories
14:49Vanderlei Luxemburgo: ‘Simulation part of football’
October 09, 2013
20:37Mineiro learn Club World Cup fate
October 06, 2013
22:39Oswaldo de Oliveira in hospital after Botafogo defeat
11:55Sambafoot Sunday: Cruzeiro cruising at the top of the Brasileirão
October 04, 2013
23:52Internacional manager Dunga sacked
September 14, 2013
14:29Guerrero: Corinthians can still be champions
September 11, 2013
20:49Roberto Carlos: Anzhi could collapse
14:57Exeter City play down Brazil fears
September 07, 2013
14:12Atlético Madrid's Filipe Luis: Barca-Madrid dominance an injustice
September 06, 2013
19:04Santos announce tour of South East Asia
18:42São Paulo slump to defeat as Rogerio Ceni misses penalty
September 05, 2013
19:17Cruzeiro go four points clear after defeating Bahia
18:43Romário and Maradona fight against CONMEBOL corruption
September 03, 2013
21:29Marcelo Mattos says Botafogo will overcome difficulties
20:54Réver believes Atlético Mineiro can challenge for Brazilian title
September 02, 2013
23:21São Paulo to honour Brazil legend Leonidas da Silva
August 20, 2014
12:57Report: Internazionale hold talks over F.C. Nordsjælland forward Emiliano Marcondes
August 19, 2014
23:52Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto hoping for Brazil call up
23:52Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino eager to secure deal for Cagliari midfielder Adryan
23:42Agent Alessandro Alberti hails Jefferson Brazil call up and admits Botafogo may have to sell him
23:38Agent Alessandro Alberti pushes Botafogo goalkeeper Jefferson towards Italy
23:34Shakhtar Donetsk Head Coach Mircea Lucescu confirms Fiorentina and Milan interest in Fernando
August 18, 2014
22:52Representative confirms Cagliari midfielder Adryan is in talks with Leeds United
22:46Rafael Cabral, Jorginho and Henrique included in Napoli squad to face Athletic Bilbao
22:38Shakhtar Donetsk Head Coach Mircea Lucescu admits Douglas Costa could leave
22:35Internazionale defender Juan Jesus ready for Stjarnan tie
August 16, 2014
23:11Report: Juventus to target Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar as alternative to Benfica captain Luisao
23:05Zlatan Ibrahimovic confident new signings such as David Luiz can help Paris Saint-Germain win the Champions League
23:04Paris Saint-Germain President Nasser Al-Khelaifi wants Bastia forward Brandao banned for life
22:56Thiago Motta head butted by Brandao following Paris Saint-Germain's victory against Bastia
22:20Italy playmaker Andrea Pirlo grateful for World Cup reception from Brazilian fans
August 15, 2014
23:06Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes new signings such as Diego Costa and Filipe Luis have made his side title contenders
22:57Ronaldinho's agent and brother Roberto Assis seemingly opens door to Palmeiras switch
22:49Internazionale midfielder Hernanes wary of Stjarnan threat
22:45Internazionale midfielder Hernanes ready for the Europa League after returning in PAOK draw
22:41Benfica President Luís Filipe Vieira insisted over captain Luisão despite Juventus rumours
22:37Adriano open to Catania move
August 13, 2014
21:53Report: Juventus target Benfica captain Luisão
21:45VfL Wolfsburg General Manager Klaus Allofs insists Luiz Gustavo is not for sale
21:41Luiz Gustavo insists he is happy at VfL Wolfsburg
21:34Santos Vice President Odílio Rodrigues Filho denies Ronaldinho talks
August 12, 2014
23:08Diego Costa eager to prove himself at Chelsea
22:56Sampdoria sell midfielder Renan to Al Nasr
August 11, 2014
23:00Roberto Carlos believes Real Madrid's Galácticos gives opposition extra motivation
22:55Roberto Carlos warns Real Madrid need to be patient with Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez
22:49Four Brazilians named in Internazionale Europa League squad
22:38Roma's Leandro Castan hopes defensive partner Mehdi Benatia will stay at the club
22:34Roma defender Leandro Castan aiming for the Scudetto
August 10, 2014
22:35Cruzeiro forward Júlio Baptista expects Real Madrid to win more trophies
22:30Barcelona Head Coach Luis Enrique explains with Daniel Alves missed HJK friendly
09:12Report: Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva eager to join former Head Coach Rafael Benítez at Napoli
08:42Report: Virtus Lanciano set to sign Hellas Verona goalkeeper Nicolas
August 09, 2014
22:41Cruzeiro forward Julio Baptista believes Real Madrid are favourites for the UEFA Super Cup
22:29Alexandre Gallo: Brazil are still the "best in the world in terms of technical ability"
22:23President Enrico Preziosi confirms former Sao Paulo defender Diego Lugano will not be joining Genoa
August 08, 2014
22:41Robinho aiming for the Brasileirão title with Santos
22:38Santos Head Coach Oswaldo de Oliveira confirms Robinho will feature against Corinthians on Sunday
22:32Robinho delighted to return "home" at Santos
22:30Robinho pleased to return to Santos after growing tired of playing in Europe
August 06, 2014
22:20Barcelona confirm Neymar and Daniel Alves are back in training
22:09Robinho seemingly talks up Santos move on Twitter
21:59Selecao Head Coach Dunga worried about development of young Brazilian players
21:52Felipe Anderson admits Neymar convinced him to join Lazio
21:48Lazio midfielder Felipe Anderson looking forward to new season
21:44Agent confirms Deportivo Maldonado forward Willian José is set to join Palmeiras on loan
August 05, 2014
22:08Former Flamengo target Alessandro Del Piero set to play on
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