I love world football.
But I don't live in England, Germany, Spain or the United States; I live in Australia, where world football is not our national sport or constantly displayed on televisions.
I live in a country that is significantly ahead of the rest of the world in time differences, meaning that football games are cast at 2 a.m. or 4 a.m. To watch a regular weekend of the English Premier League, I'd have to stay up from 11:45 p.m. and carry that all the way through until around 6 a.m., when the last of the Saturday matches is complete and English folk can go to bed.
And yet, despite this and the myriad sports I follow and cover throughout the year, I remain absolutely in love with football.
I just can't get enough of it.
And so the notion of an all-star game—a chance for football to pit the best players it has against one another in a celebration of the sport—makes perfect sense to me.
Not just for the sake of more football to watch, either. It makes sense to showcase the best of the sport for all to see.
The NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB all have all-star games (they have entire weekends, really), and despite reports every year emerging about how supposedly tacky they've become and how boring they've been, people still flock to the events in record numbers.
Take the NBA's Slam Dunk Contest as an example. Despite people frequently discussing how boring the competition was, the event still posted incredible viewing numbers for the entire duration, and Twitter was abuzz throughout.
There's just something about an all-star game that people love.
And when you break it down, it's really not that hard to figure out what it is. The best in the game are competing against each other all at once. Normally, to see that many superstars, one would have to watch some 15 games over four days.
In no regular game will Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson and Tom Brady all feature at once, and yet, at the NFL's Pro Bowl, they did.
People flocked to the Pro Bowl (both live and on television) because it gave them the opportunity to watch their favorite players of the sport in action. Nobody cared that the NFC beat the AFC 62-35 in one of the most lopsided blowouts in the history of the sport; nobody cared that both teams refused to play defense.
It was about fun and enjoyment, and it allowed the sport to transcend the rivalries and competition that take place week in and week out.
Don't get me wrong; those are good and healthy things for the sport, but an all-star game can breathe new life into a sport.
And so it seems only right that world football has an all-star game.
Major League Soccer has already endorsed its own version for United States fans, with the game helping grow the reputation of soccer in America.
The world stage needs to take the step and get involved, for it would mean great and wonderful things for the entirety of world football as a whole.
Think. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will never feature on the same team, and yet they could well do so if they played in an all-star game. The same goes for guys like Andrea Pirlo, Robin van Persie, Radamel Falcao, Andres Iniesta—the list could go on and on and on.
And that's because we can endlessly think of stars we'd love to see.
Truth be told, we'd simply die to see Ronaldo and Messi playing on the same team. That would be a huge attraction for the sport as a whole, for both players individually and the competitions that they would play in throughout their normal careers outside of the all-star game.
Having an all-star game would generate a buzz and an atmosphere like no other event can—not even something like the UEFA Champions League final.
For at the end of the day, any event other than an all-star game would leave players out. And whilst even that would do something similar, by having a voting process to select the players, there would be no room for debating the absence or inclusion of certain players over others (though, as with any sport, "who got snubbed" will be a topic of discussion).
Vote your favorites in and watch the stars do the rest. It really could be that simple for FIFA to get behind if they really felt the need to.
That, it seems, is perhaps the biggest deterrent to all of this.
There is no pressing need for it to happen; players play in so many games as it is that we already watch them endlessly, and something like the Champions League already pits the best of the world against one another. Why, then, would we need or even want an all-star game?
The answer is just like it is for the other sports—fun.
Make it fun. Make the players want to come to the all-star game; let them score 50 goals and have a blind penalty shootout; let Petr Cech play as a striker and Wayne Rooney as a goalkeeper. Let the fans have an experience that they would not get in any other match in the entire calendar year, and I guarantee it will be a success.
If people are talking about it and wanting to watch it, it's a success—period.
How you get the players involved is another question, and it would most likely require assistance from FIFA, the FA and teams right around the globe. It would also no doubt take an interest from the players themselves, who would have to feel the need to want to play and want to try and score goals.
Let the two teams compete to raise money for a charity; let the two teams compete for a challenge or a holiday or a trophy or a new statue of themselves. Whatever it takes—get the players and the organizations on board so that an all-star game can be launched in world football.
And we, the fans, can enjoy watching all our favorite players at once.
The question "why have an all-star game?" should really be "why not have an all-star game?," and when you consider the life that it would bring to a sport recently dominated by match-fixing, racism and seemingly anything other than the football itself, it's hard to argue against its inclusion.
The fans would be keen, and the global audience would no doubt revel in the opportunity to witness such a fascinating and incredible world football match.
I know I'd certainly get up for it.
Even with the time difference.
What do you think? Should world football have an all-star game?
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