Ranking Europe's Best Leagues in Terms of Talent
European football is generally considered to be of a higher standard than non-European football.
Then again, perhaps that notion is only taken by Europeans.
Occasionally, there comes along a player that traverses leagues effortlessly and defies all the coaching methods and logic in the world.
So where should these players ply their trade?
Well, there are always arguments for and against which country boasts the best league in Europe, but how about which league boasts the most talent?
Surely there is less room for argument on that front...or is there?
La Liga: No. 1
La Liga has to be No. 1 in terms of talent, but that's not to say I think it's the best league in Europe.
When your division can offer up two of the best players in world football today—and possibly two of the best footballers that have ever lived—then they have to take the plaudits for best talent.
Couple that with the fact that Barcelona are the defending Champions League holders and you have a case for stating their whole squad is exceptionally talented.
Football, after all, is a team sport.
The Premier League: No. 2
Well, as its name suggests, the Premier League has some excellent players—from the likes of Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Robin van Persie and Juan Mata to Gareth Bale, Mario Balotelli and Luis Suarez.
Premier League teams regularly feature in the latter stages of the Champions League and can entertain as much as any other league on their day.
People often think that British players are overhyped, but the league definitely isn't.
The Bundesliga: No. 3
The Bundesliga offers some great football entertainment in a league which sees just five points between the top four teams currently.
The Bundesliga can boast talents such as Mats Hummels, Shinji Kagawa, Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Lukas Podolski.
The Bundesliga has slowly become a powerful division over the past few seasons, and German teams are starting to become more prominent in the Champions League latter stages, although that is a sign of ability more than talent.
Serie A: No. 4
Italy used to have a bad reputation for pedestrian football compared with the rest of Europe.
That analysis is somewhat stereotypical these days and AC Milan's demolition of Arsenal in the Champions League this week showed that Serie A is a talented league.
Robinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andrea Pirlo, Thiago Motta and Brazil's Lucio are just some of the big names on offer if you tune in to watch a game.
Ligue 1: No. 5
Ligue 1 in France is growing again.
Where Paris St-Germain used to be European giants, the club has endured a recent injection of cash in the hope of resurrecting its flagging reputation. Another season of spending and who knows what they could offer in terms of a European force.
Ligue 1 can boast the talents of Eden Hazard, Loic Remy, Michel Bastos and Mathieu Valbuena to name but a few.
As with anything football-related—and particularly anything that puts one nation above another—opinions are bound to be divided.
One thing that is important to remember is that the teams' ability in a league is not what is being measured here. This is all about talent on show.
Mario Balotelli is perhaps a standout candidate for an example.
Balotelli is blessed with exceptional talent, and boy does he know it. However, the Italian does not offer performances of a high standard week in and week out, which is what is required to be considered the best of the best.
I'd be interested to know if anybody considers an alternative league to boast more talent than those I've mentioned. Perhaps the Portuguese or Dutch leagues, for example.
Feel free to tweet me your views @petercwebster, where I post all my B/R content, and be sure to check out how each bottom-10 Premier League team can avoid the drop.