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Nov 7, 2007

Your Verdict: 100 greatest ever footballers

Yet another list of the 100 greatest players of all time has hit the headlines but on this occasion it is not based on mere opinion but fact, at least that is what the creators claim.

The Association of Football Statisticians' (AFS) compendium of 'Greatest Ever Footballers', due to hit the shelves in time for Christmas, used a points based 'all time player ranking system' to reveal that Pele is in fact, and you won't believe this, the best football player the world has ever seen.

Soccernet will let the shock of that revelation settle in before informing you that the Brazilian's normal opponent for that title Diego Maradona is actually only the sixth best player in the history of the game.

Manchester United legend George Best, the man Pele once described as 'the best player ever' does not even make it into the controversial list, whilst United defender Gary Neville is ranked 86th. And not the 86th best defender but the 86th best player of all time, in the entire universe...ever! Now we're not saying the Red Devils' skipper is not a decent player, but come on!

Some other baffling rankings has Johan Cruyff - three times European Footballer of the Year and key exponent of Rinus Michels' Total Football - listed 21st, just five places above little-known Iranian striker Ali Daei.

Daei ranks 26th due to his 109 goals in 149 international matches for Iran.... against the mighty teams of Asia. Socceroos' striker Archie Thompson's has already been on the phone to ask why he isn't on the list after his 13 goal haul against American Samoa (Population 57,291) in a World Cup qualifier.

Former France striker Sylvain Wiltord waltzes in at 58 and even overlooking the fact that he should not be in the list in the first place, it is difficult to comprehend why he is allegedly better than AC Milan legend Franco Baresi, Roberto Baggio, Bryan Robson and Edgar Davids.

The AFS' system of awarding points for goals scored by forwards, clean sheets from defenders and honours won - including cups and caps - seems like a reasonable idea at first glance; but there are so many variables in football that their method appears more flawed than FIFA's notoriously dubious co-efficient World Rankings for national teams.

A spokesman for the book's publishers defended the rankings by insisting it was a 'comprehensive list of who really were, statistically, the best players of all time'.

That much used saying regarding lies, damn lies and statistics has never seemed more appropriate.

The best team in the world according to the Association of Football Statisticians*

• GK - Peter Schmeichel

• LB - Roberto Carlos
• CB - Lothar Matthaus
• CB - Franz Beckenbauer
• RB - Cafu

• LM - Johan Cruyff
• CM - Zinedine Zidane
• CM - Michel Platini
• RM - Luis Figo

• ST - Ronaldo
• ST - Pele

*Compiled by taking the highest ranked player relevant to the available positions in standard 4-4-2.


Think that list is load of twaddle? Then tell us what you think and Email the newsdesk


Your Verdict

Load of garbage. No question this list was created to enrage its readers.

According to this list, Claudio Taffarel and Fabian "oh have I been lobbed again" Barthez are better than Lev Yashin, Gordon Banks, Renat Dasaev, Jean-Marie Pfaff, not to mention modern day greats like Gigi Buffon none of which made the list.

And if you are going to include masters of the two metre square ball like Valderrama and Albertini, where's Ray Wilkins?
Luciano Digirolamo

Firstly, the authors of this book, probably never entered the pitch, to experience football literally. It is very irresponsible to want to make such a list public and expect people to just accept it. Secondly, the system they used to come up with the list, its stupid, I mean, please, what were they thinking.

A list of 100 greats without Claude Makelele as a specialist in the role that he plays today, it's just a little childish. He is the best in that position, no doubt about it.

The whole list is just stupid; I am not sure whether I need to comment further. Even Zidane in 5th position with Romario at 3rd spot. Roberto Carlos better than Paolo Maldini or even Franco Baresi?
Robert Festus

What about Bobby Moore? Should be top ten on anyone's list.
Robin Jarvis

Some of the most unbelievable tripe I've ever seen. My dad played against both Beckenbauer and Pele while he played with the St. Louis Stars and he damn near died when he saw this list.

Tripe... unbelievable tripe.
Ed Clear

Silvian Wiltord? Jon Dahl Tommason? Jan Koller? Garry Neville? Patrick Kluivert? Please give me a break! These are good players but never better than Ruud van Nistelrooy, Pippo Inzaghi, Jay Jay Okocha, Roger Milla, George Best, George Weah...
Johnson Ntemuse

Regarding the list produce by ASF, I feel that I should be on the list as I have been averaging five goals per match for the last five years for a local pub team, once every week.
Kevin Wong

My concern is the omission of French master Eric Cantona, Bruce Grobelaar, Kalusha Bwalya, Roger Millar, Jay Jay Okocha and arguably the finest midfielder ever Paul Gascoigne 'Gaza'.
Charles Mushawedu

I'm sure these people will get their fair share of bashing over the next coming weeks and I hope this book/DVD or what ever it is doesn't get off the shelves, because it is not worth the paper it's written on!

I am Iranian and very proud that Ali Daei made the list but let's get real!

Beckham and Lineker, better than Ronaldhino? At speaking English yes, but not soccer!

Figo better than Maradona? That's an insult to all soccer fans not just Diego.
Anon

How can this list possibly be the greatest of all time when the likes of Stanley Matthews, Tom Finney, Frank Swift, and Alan Shearer are omitted?
Michael Grint

Ronaldhino only number 57? No Claude Makelele? The player who has won everything there is to win in footbal . You gotta be kidding me.

Look at Makalele's CV:
World Cup Winner..
European Cup Winner..
Spanish league winner..
Spanish cup winner..
English Premier League winner..
UEFA champions league winner..
FA Cup Winner..
Carling Cup Winner

Give me a break.
Katongo Kabwe

Gianfranco ZOLA, this man would surely rate in the top 10. No wonder the list leaves a lot to be desired!
Bill

This is a complete fallacy; Maradona should be number two, Best number three and Cruyff number four. There are too many current players here as well, people who haven't won many personal awards either. There are class players here there and everywhere but I definitely think that this is a useless list and not indicative of reality.
Greg Tucker