I read an article, here on Bleacher Report entitled, “World's Greatest Footballer? There Is No Such Thing.” And it inspired me.
After reading through it a number of times, I, myself concluded, that it was true: There is no best player in the world. How can you truly compare two different players?
I thought long and hard about the argument and asked myself, “If there is no world’s best player, can there be a best team in the world?”
People are constantly arguing of how one club is superior to another, and it is this opinion that drives World Football.
But can there be one club, which is better than all others?
To answer my question I decided to look at three important criteria which together, could ‘pronounce’ a team as the best.
The categories I chose are: different sports, different strengths, and how they are compared.
First of all, I compared football to another sport, one with a clear, undeniable world champion.
The sport that came to mind was boxing, where an individual can be superior to all others. And can therefore claim the right to be the best in the world.
Boxing though, is a sport where variables are more or less taken out of the equation. ‘Flukes’ can happen in football, nothing is perfect. Whereas with boxing, if one can conquer another over a certain number of rounds, then they are clearly better.
If you beat the world champion at boxing, you are the world champion; while we see time and time again a world-class team has a bad day, and are beaten by lesser opponents. Does that mean that the winning team, although less great, are better? The answer is no, but you can’t necessarily say that the losing team are any better.
Different teams also have different strengths and strategies. Just as there is no way to compare a Messi to a Terry or a Puyol, there isn’t a true way you can compare two teams.
One may be more consistent, narrowing the field as to which team may be the best, but when thinking of each team's objectives and focus, who is better: a Chelsea, with a rock solid defence or a Barcelona, who can score for fun? Neither.
Who is to say that an attacking team is better than a defending team, and are they both inferior to a team that controls 90 percent of possession?
Is a team that creates loads of opportunities, but doesn’t finish, any better than a team whose number of chances are smaller, but finish better?
To answer we must consider the way in which they are judged.
To find the ‘best team,’ we play teams in a cup, e.g. the UEFA Champions League. And whoever wins is the best, right?
Wrong, as we all know cup football varies. A team’s performance can change overnight. They can be giant-killers one day, and they can be knocked out by lower division team the next.
The winner simply proves that they are more consistent or have more ‘luck,’ not that they are any better than any of the teams who started off.
A perfect example is during the group stages of the UEFA Champions League. The group was made up of Internazionale Milano, FC Barcelona, Dynamo Kyiv, and Rubin Kazan.
All the teams except Barcelona managed to beat Rubin (who finished last in the group.) Now, we cannot say all the teams that beat Rubin are better than Barca, but at the same time how can you say Barcelona are better than Rubin Kazan?
In truth it is impossible.
A quote from the video game; FIFA 09, “Games are not won on paper; they are won out on that green thing in front of you and I.”
Football teams cannot be compared, the so called “World’s best” can go out on to a field and lose a game, it doesn’t make the winners any better.
There are infinite variables; we therefore cannot, in any way, compare two different football teams.
Football although a game of skill, is also a game of chance. And it is ‘chance’ that renders comparison between teams utterly impossible.