A Dimension Reduction Approach to Player Rankings in European Football

Creative Commons License

Aydemir A. E., Taşkaya Temizel T., Temizel A., Preshlenov K., Strahinov D.

IEEE ACCESS, vol.9, pp.119503-119519, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 9
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1109/access.2021.3107585
  • Journal Name: IEEE ACCESS
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Compendex, INSPEC, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Page Numbers: pp.119503-119519
  • Keywords: Sports, Games, Measurement, Performance evaluation, Investment, Industries, Bibliographies, Player ranking, player performance, football analytics, sports analytics, SOCCER, PERFORMANCE, IDENTIFICATION, MONEYBALL, SYSTEM, TEAMS
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Player performance evaluation is a challenging problem with multiple dimensions. Football (soccer) is the largest sports industry in terms of monetary value and it is paramount that teams can assess the performance of players for both financial and operational reasons. However, this is a difficult task, not only because performance differs from position to position, but also it is based on competition, time played and team play-styles. Because of this, raw player statistics are not comparable across players and must be processed to facilitate a fair performance evaluation. Furthermore, teams may have different requirements and a generic player performance evaluation does not directly serve the particular expectations of different clubs. In this study, we provide a generic framework for estimating player performance and performing player-fit-to-criteria assessment, under different objectives, for left and right backs from competitions worldwide. The results show that the players who have ranked high have increased their transfer values and they have moved to suitable teams. Global nature of the proposed methodology expands the analyzed player pool, facilitating the search for outstanding players from all available competitions.