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What does it mean to be World Class?

Sunday 29th January 2017
The Oxford English Dictionary defines 'world class' as 'of or among the best in the world'. Having said that, there remains a lot of debate around the term when it comes to football.

All-time Premier League top-scorer and pundit Alan Shearer claims that  Lionel Messi  and Cristiano Ronaldo are the only true world class players right now, whereas your average fan would probably claim that in fact there are somewhere between 10 and 20 world class players out there.

Santos and Brazil legend Pele has a compiled list entitled 'FIFA 100' in which he names his top 100 players of all time, 3 of which are still playing competitively. These being Ronaldinho, Buffon and Belözoğlu, you might be inclined to agree or disagree with his choices, but one thing's for sure: no-one quite knows where to draw the line.

Unless you live under a rock you'll be more than aware of the everlasting Messi vs Ronaldo debate which has had fans, pundits and even players arguing for years. Some say Messi is the greatest footballer to ever grace the beautiful game, while others debate his ability to do what Ronaldo did and prove himself in a more competitive league.

Although we can rest assured in the knowledge that both are probably the 2 best players still active, let's delve a little deeper into who else should make the list.

With 79 goals and 26 assists in his last 81 matches, it's safe to say Luis Suárez is probably the most prolific goal-scorer around today. While his stats alone justify him as a contender, you'll probably never see him win the Ballon d'Or due to his, shall we say, discipline issues.

Another common belief of what makes a player 'world class' is their ability to win games on their own and carry a team. In other words, a player who is bigger than the club or country they play for. If this is the case then we'd have to also include the likes of Gareth Bale , Robert Lewandowski and Zlatan Ibrahimovic , all of whom have been known to grab games and even entire competitions by the scruff of the neck and drag their respective countries to varying degrees of success.

Perhaps the final rung on the ladder of qualification for the world-class label is the list of players who have had more than a couple of seriously impressive seasons, showing their class and ability. These players may play for top clubs and world class international sides and so stand out less in comparison to the players around them, but their quality is in no doubt. The same also applies for defensive players who may not receive the same recognition as the goal-scorers of the game.

In my personal opinion, this would include the following players:  Manuel Neuer Giorgio Chiellini ,Jérôme Boateng,Thiago Silva,  Mats Hummels ,  Diego Godín , Sergio Ramos ,   Sergio Busquets Neymar Alexis Sanchez  and  Sergio Agüero .

While there will almost certainly be players you feel should make the list and didn't, or shouldn't have made it and did, one thing's for certain: football is one heck of a sport with a whole lot of exciting talent. So there you have it, the complete (subjective) list.
Daniel Felix Hobson

I'm a 20-year-old film student and writer of all things football.


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