Famous Faces in Football

Raghunandh G.S | Dec 23, 2015 | | | |


Sometime ago I stumbled upon this wonderful style of visualization called Chernoff Faces, which involves representing data with features in a human face like size of eyes, nose, their positioning etc.

From the time I got to know about this style of viz, I wanted to implement it on a few well known faces of football with data representing their honors. It took me sometime to get the coding done using matplot library in python and to fetch the data for the players and decide on a mapping system between the set of values and the attributes.

So as the representation goes, the size of the eyes is the direct representation of whether the player is a World Cup winner or not. Players with bigger eyes are World Cup winners. The size of the eyebrows represent individual honors in the World Cup (Golden Ball). The width of the top half of the face represents whether the player is a Euro or Copa America winner and the bottom half represents whether the player is Champions League winner. The curvature of smile represents Ballon d'or winners, higher the concavity higher the number of awards. The size of nose represents Olympic honors.

So I took this algorithm and mapped it across several footballers to arrive at the below output.

Maradona, Ronaldo de Lima (The bald Brazilian), Zidane, Iniesta and Ozil have bigger eyes which represents their world cup winners medal. Among this Zidane, Maradona and Ronaldo de Lima have longer eyebrows representing their Golden Ball awards at the World Cup. If you look closely you will see longer eyebrows for Messi too but sadly he doesn't have bigger eyes, courtesy Higuain.

Marodona's face looks pretty thin (just opposite to the way he looks), this is because he hasn't won anything like the Copa America or the Champions league. Ronaldo De Lima has won the Copa America but shockingly not the Champions League hence the bottom part of his face looks thin. Zidane is a perfect footballer and has won everything, with such a perfect head he can dare to head butt anyone in the world.

The smile is a representation of the Ballon d'or honours. Messi, Ronaldo, Ronaldo de Lima and Zidane all have smiling faces. Maradona & others don't want to smile.

Messi has a bigger nose compared to anyone else as he has an Olympic gold medal. Ronaldo De Lima has a slightly smaller nose than Messi representing his Olympic bronze medal.

It was really shocking and exciting for me to find that the three images in the last row closely resemble the corresponding player's real life faces.

With a great footballing season coming up ahead, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


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