The true meaning of Christmas is, of course, getting drunk, sitting around the house with nothing to do and filling the tedious void by having arguments about stuff that isn’t really very important.
So thanks to The Guardian for it annual “100 best footballers” list, which provides us all with plenty of ammunition for heated debate with our in-laws, and is so serious they even made a spreadsheet out of the results.
The headline is that Cristiano Ronaldo has knocked off Lionel Messi to take the top honor, as decided by 73 judges. And it wasn’t even close, with Ronaldo receiving 74 percent of the vote but Messi garnering just 12 percent. Last year things were much tighter, with Messi just ahead of Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Franck Ribery not too far behind.
OK, so it’s a reflection of Ronaldo’s unreal year more than anything else; but isn’t there a danger that we’re now underrating the Barcelona man? He has after all scored 23 goals this season and finally looked good in a World Cup (the final aside, which was a mass crapfest anyway).
Even though this list is just a bit of Yuletide fun, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t become OUTRAGED at it. For a start, it’s un-American. Literally: there are no Americans. Not even Landon Donovan. No members of the 2014 World Cup’s media darling U.S. national side. Nor are there any MLS players. Gervinho (82) ahead of Robbie Keane? Miroslav Klose ahead of Bradley Wright-Phillips? (OK, we might give you that one, judges.) But do you even know who Lee Nguyen is?
There are no women.
Pele and Maradona aren’t included, so how are we meant to know which one’s better than the other? Talk about avoiding the key issue.
What it is, essentially, is a list of the top 100 male players at European clubs, prioritizing celebrity above current performance. Of course, that includes a wide number of nationalities from around the world, but also suggests that the judges don’t believe you can really be a top player unless you’re in a major Euro division.
There are only 15 players not from the EPL, La Liga, Serie A or the Bundesliga – and six of them are at Paris Saint-Germain. The only player not in Europe is Rogerio Ceni, the São Paulo goalkeeper – and he’s only there for novelty value, because he’s insanely old and scores goals.
Really, this list is just a love letter to Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid (Sergio Agüero is the only player not from those clubs in the top 10, and he’s 10th). Zlatan’s way down in 13th, which will probably make him angry, since he believes finishing second is “like finishing last.”
And how about the lack of love for Serie A (no representatives till Paul Pogba in 20th) and the EPL, which I’m pretty sure is the World’s Best League, according to people on television. No Englishman until Wayne Rooney, at 43 (43!). And only 10 EPL players in the top 40, compared with 14 for La Liga.
ENOUGH! I can’t take any more of this controversy. I’m going away now to drink brandy and watch Love Actually. Or possibly Bad Santa.