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Football: Sarri state of affairs

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Salah's played the season of his life. So he was on a Messiesque level. You can make a case for him to be on the shortlist. Both him and Messi had pretty forgettable World Cups of their own. And I assume that Salah gets the benefit, that Liverpool is not Barcelona, and thus he is not surrounded by the same talent Messi is.

Modric has also played a pretty good season, which was topped of by his WC performance, which probably pushed him past Messi.

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1 hour ago, BigFatCoward said:

I get that it's an award fot this year, so again, does anybody seriously think salah or modric have been better this year?

It's always going to be difficult to narrow down the 'best' players in the world over the course of a year to just three and for everyone to agree, especially in a World Cup year. One could easily say that Mbappe, Griezmann or Varane deserved to be in the mix ahead of Salah. Varane is the player I would consider to have had most successful year of any player in world football, having been a key player in Real Madrid winning the Champions League and France winning the World Cup. 

The thing that may go against Messi is that he had an 'ordinary' year by his standards, which are a lot higher than those of any other player. We look at Salah's goal-scoring exploits as a wonder season, but Messi only scored one goal fewer, having played two few games than Salah, but Messi's exploits have hardly been spoken about because they are what we come to expect from him.

Also, notice that the three people chosen were three players that had successful seasons in either the Champions League or World Cup. Obviously Salah didn't win the World Cup or the Champions League, but his club performed well and exceeded expectations by getting to the final of the Champions League. Salah's Egypt didn't perform well at the World Cup, but he lead them to the tournament, which was an achievement in itself, considering they hadn't been to one since 1990.

Ronaldo won the Champions League with Real Madrid. He may not have had the best game in the final, but he still scored 15 goals in 13 appearances in it. Plus, he has a World Cup hat-trick against Spain to add to his list of achievements.

Modric won the Champions League, and, like Salah's Liverpool in the Champions League, Croatia got to the final of the World Cup - and he was named player of the tournament. Neither of Messi's teams performed well in the Champions League or the World Cup, yet both went into the two tournaments with high expectations. 

 

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Modric had a very, very good season last year and there's no way it was better than Messi's.

We tend to gloss over it because he always does it but Messi scored 40 league and Champions League goals and had 14 assists, that's a phenomenal season. If you're going to go with a player with less easily quantifiable results to his play like Modric his team or, at least, his area of the team needs to be absolutely dominant to rate as better than that. Real Madrid finished 26 points behind Barcelona, he played a big part in Europe but they were outplayed in midfield by Bayern and Spurs, Croatia did really well in the World Cup but they were in the easy side of the draw and lost the final.

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Messi should have been ahead of Modric. I don't think Modric was clearly the standout midfielder last season - was he really that much better than the likes of De Bruyne, D. Silva or Pjanic?  While he had a very good season, Messi was still better (45 goals + 18 assists in all competitions + creating the most chances in La Liga) but as we all know, team achievements plays a big part in these individual awards, especially CL wins and the WC is a huge factor this time around as well. Real Madrid winning the CL and Croatia reaching the WC final is going to be given more weight than Barca winning the double.

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3 hours ago, Jordan La Cabra said:

Neither of Messi's teams performed well in the Champions League or the World Cup, yet both went into the two tournaments with high expectations. 

Nobody with any sense expected Argentina to do particularly well with such a poor midfield and goalkeeper, an average-at-best defence and a problematic squad mentality. It is arguable that they performed even worse than my already low expectations though.

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18 minutes ago, Dolorous Gabe said:

Nobody with any sense expected Argentina to do particularly well with such a poor midfield and goalkeeper, an average-at-best defence and a problematic squad mentality. It is arguable that they performed even worse than my already low expectations though.

Another reason why Messi will never be considered as good as Maradona, who carried the Argies, almost single-handedly, to the WC in '78.

Also, fwiw, I don't think anyone seriously expected Croatia to do anything at the WC, until they saw how brilliantly Modric was playing.

Edited by Spockydog

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19 minutes ago, Dolorous Gabe said:

Nobody with any sense expected Argentina to do particularly well with such a poor midfield and goalkeeper, an average-at-best defence and a problematic squad mentality. It is arguable that they performed even worse than my already low expectations though.

Despite all that, Argentina is still Argentina and Messi is still Messi, so there will always be high expectations when Argentina play in a competition and Messi is part of the squad. 

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41 minutes ago, Spockydog said:

Also, fwiw, I don't think anyone seriously expected Croatia to do anything at the WC, until they saw how brilliantly Modric was playing.

I'd expect most people thought they'd either lose to France in the first round of the knockouts or Spain in the quarterfinals. If you'd asked beforehand if they could win against Argentina in the group stage and then beat Denmark and Russia on penalties and England in extra time I'd think most people wouldn't have been overly surprised.

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The Ballon D’Or is a marketing exercise for FIFA and voted for by the coach and captain of each national team in FIFA with a significant bias to the most widely recognized players (lowest common denominators in global awareness) and the reflected glamour of major competition winners.  On that basis, Salah definitely earned his spot on the shortlist by becoming a breakout star across the Arab world previously under-represented in FIFA galacticos, and by offering some novelty in a stale duopoly.  Modric brings even more reflected glamour this year and also offers novelty, but not a large new interest base.

The voting system means that you’ll always have a combination of votes for friends/acquaintances and votes that are no better informed than any armchair fan (how many of these voters have ever seen Messi play live?).  A poll of 11 year olds who casually watch soccer could probably predict the Ballon D’Or poll pretty well.

If you want a serious discussion of who is the best player in a given season, in a team sport with varying levels of teammates and opposition, from thousands of top players, across dozens of games each season for each player, with so many unquantifiable contributions outside of goals scored, then there is no reasonable format for that to occur (but the most likely answer is still Messi).

 

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2 hours ago, Spockydog said:

Another reason why Messi will never be considered as good as Maradona, who carried the Argies, almost single-handedly, to the WC in '78.

Also, fwiw, I don't think anyone seriously expected Croatia to do anything at the WC, until they saw how brilliantly Modric was playing.

'86? You simply can't win the world cup nowadays without a solid base. No one player can carry a team on their own in that way. Defending has evolved too well.

The winning of a world cup isn't a valid reason to say one player was better than a different player many years later.

Personally, I believe Messi could have done what Maradona did in '86. Whereas, I am not convinced that Maradona could do what Messi has done at Barcelona in this day and age.

 

As to Croatia, as classy a side as they are they had probably only one truly great performance, against Argentina which is perhaps ironic in this discussion. They had to endure two penalty shootouts against average-at-best sides and getting outplayed in one half by England of all teams. Modric is a wonderful player but some are going way OTT about him. I thought he was outplayed by Eriksen in the Denmark game and I also think he has the inconsistency of all the other contenders to thank for winning the player of the tournament. And while nobody really expects Croatia to reach the final, they are usually talked about as dark horses.

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3 hours ago, Spockydog said:

Another reason why Messi will never be considered as good as Maradona, who carried the Argies, almost single-handedly, to the WC in '78.

Also, fwiw, I don't think anyone seriously expected Croatia to do anything at the WC, until they saw how brilliantly Modric was playing.

Wrong World Cup.

Diego's World Cup was 1986. 

 

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7 minutes ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

 

Diego's World Cup was 1986. 

 

Apologies. Senior moment. 

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Looks like the Nations League will get off to a fittingly shambolic start as Denmark have picked a squad of third and fourth tier and futsal players for their game against Wales. The first team are in a dispute over pay and they have already been given a suspended ban after a women’s match was cancelled for the same reason.

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Argentina only went out of the World Cup because they lost to the future champions by a mere 4-3, and Messi managed that with one of the weakest Argentine sides of all time and a coach who was off his rocker. Even Croatia - featuring a Modric with far, far more support around him on the field and in the dugout than Messi had - couldn't get within one goal of the champions.

Forget the Ballon d'Or, Messi should be canonized.

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I just discovered something called the Nations League.  I can't decided whether UEFA's main goal is to try to make the international breaks appear more important or to create some nonsense that will work as a cash grab.

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7 hours ago, Teng Ai Hui said:

I just discovered something called the Nations League.  I can't decided whether UEFA's main goal is to try to make the international breaks appear more important or to create some nonsense that will work as a cash grab.

It was originally intended as a convoluted way of trying to get more European sides seeded at the World Cup. The way FIFAs ranking system worked, if you played international friendlies your ranking points would fall regardless of the result. This tournament now classifies all those matches as competitive so UEFAs teams get more points relative to the rest of the world who still play friendlies. But FIFA changed the system so that loophole has closed yet UEFA can’t back down now.

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14 hours ago, Davrum said:

Argentina only went out of the World Cup because they lost to the future champions by a mere 4-3, and Messi managed that with one of the weakest Argentine sides of all time and a coach who was off his rocker. Even Croatia - featuring a Modric with far, far more support around him on the field and in the dugout than Messi had - couldn't get within one goal of the champions.

Forget the Ballon d'Or, Messi should be canonized.

However, the goal margin in their encounter flattered Argentina big time. Argentina couldn't have had any complaints if France had sent them home with 4-1 spanking. 

In addition, Argentina was lucky to have survived the group stage. They were already on the verge of elimination then, and again, had Nigeria advanced, there also would've been very little for them to complain about.

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29 minutes ago, Jordan La Cabra said:

Ahhh, international break...

Europe's leading coaches have asked UEFA to review the away goal rule.

 

There's a friend of mine at work who is convinced that home goals is the way to go. He says if you can encourage home teams to really try and bang them in then it makes for a good spectacle because the away team is always going to play defensively anyway. Could make every away team park the bus though.

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