Lies, damned lies and statistics.

The ludicrous CIES report

This week’s CIES football observatory report ranking footballers in Europe by their worth in the transfer market reminded me of the Benjamin Disraeli quote: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."

Lionel Messi at number one is fair enough, but whether he would command a fee of 232 million Euros is another matter. Is Messi, who had a poor season by his own stellar standards, really worth almost twice as much as Christiano Ronaldo? Ronaldo has just enjoyed an outstanding season, culminating in a Champions league victory and is long odds on to be named the World player of the year.

I can only assume that the discrepancy in their values is down to the fact that Ronaldo is 29, whereas Messi will be 27 in a few weeks time. Yet, if that is the case, then it seems strange that 27 years old Luis Suarez, who has just enjoyed an outstanding season for Liverpool and is also 27 is also worth less than half a Lionel Messi.

Taking it a stage further, 4th placed Eden Hazard, a player viewed by many as the natural successor to Messi and Ronaldo is apparently worth only a 1/3rd of the value of Lionel Messi according to CIES. Yet hazard is only a sprightly 23 years old and was in outstanding form last season; it really is difficult to fathom how CIES arrived at their figures, especially when the fees paid in the real world are compared to the CIES valuations.

Is Raheem Stirling worth more than Daniel Sturridge?

There is no doubt that Raheem Stirling is a fine prospect, but is he really the Englishman who would demand the highest transfer fee? If Liverpool were to put Sterling and Daniel Sturridge up for sale tomorrow my money would be on Sturridge commanding the higher fee and no doubt many Evertonians would argue that Ross Berkeley would also command a bigger fee than Sterling.

Is Gareth Bale only worth £55 million?

Gareth Bale became the most expensive player in the world last year when he moved to Real Madrid for a reported £86 million fee. The 24 year old Welshman may not have had an outstanding first season In La Liga but it’s probably fair to say he had a better season than Messi, yet CIES calculate that his value has fallen by almost 30m Euros.

Using an even more recent example David Luiz, who has just been sold to PSG for a reported £48 million is another glaring discrepancy, being valued at 32 million Euros by CIES. On the other hand Mesut Ozil, who moved to Arsenal for £42 million and faded badly after a bright start has seen his value increase despite being a year older- bizarre!

What is the point of such a report when recent transfers have shown that it has bears no relevance to the real world? Some of the CIES figures really do defy belief, confirming the thought that reports such as this one should be treated with a pinch of salt; no doubt it would have brought a wry smile to the face of Benjamin Disraeli.

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