Who is the best footballer in the World?
Whilst it would be hard to argue with the fact Critiano Ronaldo had the best season, I don’t agree this necessarily makes him the most skilful player on the planet. At United, I’d much rather see Wayne Rooney on the park than Ronaldo. I would find it difficult to claim that Ronaldo is an all-round better player than Lionel Messi.
I still strongly believe Ronaldo deserves all the individual awards going though, from FIFPro, European and World Player of the Year, simply because you can’t overlook a player who scored 42 goals in 47 games, including his team’s only goal in the European Cup final. His season was superior to every other players’ by miles, therefore he is a worthy winner.
It’s hard to decide who deserves the player awards, but it can’t be ignored that unworthy winners get their names mentioned an awful lot. Usually, it is players from the English League who are overlooked.
Michael Owen (2001), George Best (1968), Sir Bobby Charlton (1966), Dennis Law (1964) and Stanley Matthews (1956) are the only players from our league to have claimed the title as the best in Europe. No player from this league has ever won FIFA World Player of the Year. Can that be fair? Has their only been one player in the past forty years who is deserving of this title? Was Michael Owen in 2001 really the greatest player we’ve had on show for decades? Really?
The Italian League has seen seventeen winners, the Spanish league has seen twelve winners, and the German league has seen nine. The figures from the English league are some way off, boasting just five winners in the fifty-two years of the award. This suggests that how players are picked doesn’t necessarily relate to who is the best, rather, who fits the mould better, who is expected to appear.
The FIFA shortlist for the World Player of the Year was announced this week and when I got to the end, I thought there had to be players missing. How is it that Manchester United, who won the league and European Cup, have just one player on this list, whilst Chelsea, who came second in the league and runners up in the European Cup, have four players featuring?
The one that grates on me the most is John Terry, whose reputation doesn’t quite seem to fit with the reality of who he is and what he does. Here is the only player who has featured in every FIFPro World XI team, here is the Chelsea and England captain.
Yet I see the player who isn’t even the best centre back at his own club, with Ricardo Carvalho showing himself as a more skilled defender.
I see the player who isn’t even the best centre back for his own country, with Rio Ferdinand playing a crucial role for United and showing himself as a more composed and mature defender.
I see the player who played in 37 of Chelsea’s 61 games in all competitions, spending chunks of the season out injured.
I see the player who was the only one to slip whilst taking a crucial penalty, costing his club their first ever European Cup. I see the player who then cried his eyes out, as he does every time England or Chelsea are knocked out of a competition (see JT vs Liverpool or JT vs Portugal, tears galore), leaving his team mates who he is the captain of to get on with it by themselves. I see the player who didn’t get his hands on any silverware last season.
I see the player who as captain has lead his team to countless charges for failing to control their players in the past few seasons. I see the player who is so arrogant that he tried to take the red card from the referee’s hand when one of his team mates was sent off, yet faced no punishment for it. I see the player who covered his mouth as he chased after Carlos Tevez in Moscow, wanting to hide what he was saying to the Argentine from the World.
I can’t fit the John Terry I see for England and Chelsea in to the same mould that has been created for him. Both Carvalho and Ferdinand, amongst others, are better defenders than him, yet for some reason, this man is hailed above all others as the definition of a centre back.
When looking at goals to games ratios, Manchester United’s defence was better than any in Spain, Germany or Italy, yet none of our defenders made the list. Rio Ferdinand missed just 5 games for United, in comparison to the 24 games Terry missed. Nemanja Vidic missed 12 games for United and still played in 7 games more than Terry. So we have a better defence with defenders who played in almost every match, yet they miss out for a defender whose defence wasn’t as strong, who missed 40% of his team’s matches. Where is the logic?
Fortunately for Ronaldo, he does fit the mould, with the all important Champions League winners medal in tow, and will undoubtedly claim the awards. But there isn’t half something dodgy in the way these winners are decided upon!