In the age-old debate of who is the greatest player of all time, we often take the 'statistical route' by talking about how many Ballon d'Ors and World Cups/Uefa Champions League (UCL) trophies that player has won.
While fans of Cristiano Ronaldo might be inclined to say "Masi kala para na" (Messi can not play football) and fans of Lionel Messi might do the same in all their Avro Bangla typing glory, we all know that is far from the truth.
Both are two amazing players with certain feats that may never ever be duplicated or bettered again in football.
But when it comes down to the debate of who's the greatest of all time (GOAT), it is often down to personal preference.
The stats do not tell the whole story
Football, while a team sport with 11 players playing in a team, is designed in a way where strikers or goalscorers are highlighted more.
The goal or the pass that led to the goal are more highlighted than the vision of a midfielder or the anticipation of a defender.
The strikers are the most expensive commodity as a result in the transfer market and in the GOAT list, they are the ones hogging the top spots.
90min has Diego Maradona as their GOAT while FourFourTwo has Messi and it's a merry-go-round between these two and Pele with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Johan Cruyff in the top five mix.
In fact, most top fives or even top tens of these lists will be dominated by attackers and the reasoning behind that will be because of their goal-scoring feats or remarkable goals.
So that always leaves room for debate as to why defenders or goalkeepers do not make these lists and it further proves how stats talk in favour of the attackers.
The number of trophies won can also mislead
A lot of Messi fans argue that if he had won a World Cup he would be the undisputed GOAT and there would be no room for debate.
But it is a team game after all and the number of trophies you win playing for a team means the team also had a part to play in it.
For instance, Cristiano Ronaldo would not have won Euro 2016 with Portugal if little-known Eder had not scored the winner in extra-time.
Ronaldo was injured early on in that game and was mostly a voice from the touchline, almost like a coach.
He was not adjudged the best player of the tournament, which went to Antoine Griezmann of France.
So it's hard to quantify Ronaldo's contribution there with stats although he went on to win the Ballon d'Or later that year.
But in this case, we have to say that Cristiano Ronaldo has more international trophies than Lionel Messi so that gives him an edge in the GOAT debate.
France and Real Madrid defender Rafael Varane has four UCL trophies and a World Cup and he is aged 27.
But that does not get him in contention for the Ballon d'Or and a case can be made because he is a defender, and goalscoring eventually helps a team win games and that's what matters most.
So trophies won doesn't give a proper reflection of how influential a player was for his side.
Stats aside, popularity matters
When it comes to the voting of the Ballon d'Or voting, journalists, coaches, and captains of national teams are the ones voting.
So the more popular or well-known a player, the more chances his performances will get of being seen by others and he will have an edge.
It is impossible for the players, coaches, and journalists to have extensively followed and covered every single footballer in the world and the big names like Messi and Ronaldo scoring and getting assists will give them an edge.
Playing for a top team in Europe with a large fanbase will also help and especially if you are netting in goals regularly and winning trophies.
Players like Luka Modric, who has been a consistent performer for Real Madrid and Croatia finally broke the Messi-Ronaldo Ballon' d'Or duopoly in 2018.
He won the UCL with his club and helped his national side to the World Cup final and that brought eyes and attention on him.
Whether he was truly the best player in the world that season can be argued by the trophies helped his cause massively.
So in conclusion, given all these variables, it is hard to pinpoint exactly which player was the best in the world in a particular season.
It leaves the debate wide open for who is the GOAT and it also shows why football is the most popular sport in the world.
Football is a blockbuster: it gives every team a chance to cause an upset given so many variables, and not all players are celebrated equally.
In many ways, it is a reflection of the world and how everything is not always fair, and not everyone gets rewarded equally.
And perhaps the individual awards also do not always show the true caliber of a player that did not win them.