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Abby Wambach

Big-game failures don't add up for Messi, Ronaldo

Big-game failures don't add up for Messi, Ronaldo

David Sumpter has spent decades studying math and years watching soccer, passions he recently melded in an attempt to explain how and why things happen as they do on the playing field.

And that led him to a rather unscientific conclusion for how and why Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the two greatest players of their generation, have yet to win a major title with their respective national teams.

“That, to me, is just the randomness of football,” Sumpter said in a phone call from vacation in Portugal.

Come again?

Keep in mind Sumpter has a doctorate in mathematics, held research positions at both Cambridge and Oxford, and has devised complex...

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