Q from Ryan
I find it utterly ridiculous that some pundits are ready to call Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi one of the greatest players in history, while the name of Raul Gonzalez Blanco is nowhere to be seen?
Longevity goes hand in hand with greatness. What do you think is the criteria for greatness in football and does Raul deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Pele, Maradona, Cruyff, and Di Stefano?
Response from Bobby
There is a need to perform consistently at the highest level for an extended period of time and that would certainly be one criterion.
But to be considered one of the truly great players there is a need to go beyond being consistently good, there is a need to dominate your peers in order to be considered one of the all-time greats.
And when I say dominate I mean being so good that other brilliant players can be made to look ordinary in comparison. I would also add that a truly great player often has such ability that he makes ordinary players that play with him look much better than they may actually be.
The all-time great list is normally regarded as being a top ten of players and there are very few who would disagree with a list that included Pele, Maradona, Cruyff and Di Stefano. Brilliant performances at the World Cup Finals certainly help to cement a player’s case but it is not mandatory.
Alfredo di Stefano never played in a World Cup Finals but such was his impact on the Real Madrid side in the late 50s that he “qualifies.”
George Best is the one player who regularly appears on a top ten all-time greats list whom never appeared in the Finals of a major international tournament or whose club dominated the European Cup.
As for Raul I am sorry to tell you that he would not make my top ten and I would be surprised if he made a lot of others list either.
A great player but he falls well short of an all-time great. He would fall into a very large pool of players that would make up a bloated second tier or maybe even third although I am not sure the criterion to split second and third. I would have him grouped with the likes of Roberto Baggio.
Q from Robert
With Arsenal’s disastrous season Arsenal fans are polling and blogging for Wenger to be sacked.
Do you think his reign at Arsenal is over? If so, who will be his replacement?
Arsenal fans love Wenger’s style of play and will hoping to see the same type of football but desperately need to win trophies to end humiliation.
Response from Bobby
I am having a bit of difficult reconciling the view that “Arsenal fans love Wenger’s style of play” but “are polling and blogging for Wenger to be sacked.”
Maybe I would throw a question back to you that would be something along the lines of “If it went picking up trophies on a regular basis would you (as an Arsenal fan) like to see a return to the George Graham style of play?”
In boards listened to and based their decisions on fans (from the word “fanatic”) say every week there would be some very odd and inconsistent decisions made.
Just go back a few weeks to when Arsenal played and beat Manchester United without Cesc Fabregas in the side.
That set off comments about how Arsenal did not need Fabregas and that he should be sold. Fast forward another week and a loss to Stoke and the “Fabregas can go” tune hit a sour note.
The problem with campaigning for regime change it is predicated on the assumption that the incumbent is to blame for everything and the successor’s decision making will be flawless and success will flow.
Nice thought but not reality. With fourteen top four finishes and entry into the Champions League each season there are far more down sides to firing Wenger than upsides.
Wenger has made mistakes and his unwillingness to fix problems that seem obvious to so many others is incredibly frustrating for Arsenal fans.
Nonetheless those clamoring for him to be replaced should take a moment to remember that sometimes you don’t realize what you have until it is gone.
Q from Robbortega
With all the talk about Barcelona being the best team of all time it’s seems that the likes of Porto’s accomplishments have seemed to be over looked.
So what does it take to be considered one of the greatest club teams of all time are of their time frame?
As an Arsenal fan we went 49 games unbeaten and almost did it twice if it wasn’t for a young Rooney with Everton who scored a late winner.
However never winning a Champions League I understand they will not be in that category.
However, Porto have gone undefeated in the league and won a treble that is one of the great accomplishments but they have got no publicity or praise.
If Barcelona win back to back Champions League it will very hard not to call them the greatest of all time.
So what does it take to be one of the great club teams of a generation are of all time?
Response from Bobby
I think first of all there is a very large difference between being a great team “of the present” and the best or one of the best of all time.
There is also a differentiation between a great domestic team and a great team that dominates their region through the Champions League or the Copa Libertadores.
To be simply a great team in the context of Europe, winning the Champions League is a minimum requirement. As you point out that would rule out Arsenal and it is a major impediment that anointing Porto.
Whether we like it or not winning the Europa League just doesn’t cut it. If the Porto team from last season stays largely intact then we might get a better sense of how good they truly are.
Just a little historical note as I think your mind might be playing tricks.
On October 19, 2002 Everton beat Arsenal 2-1 and Wayne Rooney announced his arrival on the Premier League scene with the winning goal. Blackburn beat Arsenal the following week by the same score and Arsenal lost six games that season in finishing five points behind champions Manchester United.
I don’t think is fair to say Rooney was the difference between Arsenal achieving another unbeaten season seeing that it was only nine games into the season and there were a good number of losses that came before the season was over.
Nonetheless the loss to Everton brought to an end an unbeaten streak of 30 games that had started in December 2001 with a 3-1 loss at home to Newcastle. However Arsenal would go unbeaten in their next 21 league games and win the Premier League in the process.
Q from Robbortega
Is Kenny Dalglish not only winning over Liverpool fans with his love for the club by putting the club first and foremost the priority?
He has turned the season around for the reds with his devotion which has proved to get the best out of his players.
But is he also winning over England as a whole by not only giving the younger generation faith but also by getting the best young English players no matter the price?
Response from Bobby
I am sorry but I don’t share your view of what Kenny Dalglish is doing for Liverpool. Liverpool finished in and around the same position many people would have predicted at the beginning of the season. Yes, he pulled them up by their bootstraps and they were a much exciting side during the second half of the season.
However, suggestions that Liverpool are going to contend for the Premier League title next season are as far off the mark as they were a year ago when similar statements were made.
There is an incredible amount of work to be done at Liverpool and although they are spending money I question the value that the club is actually getting.
A combined fee of £55M for two players with potential seems excessive. (And before the comments started coming in I don’t understand the rationale that Chelsea overpaid for Torres so somehow it is ok for Liverpool to overpay in return).
Finally as for Dalglish winning over England as a whole – I think that is very optimistic. Any Everton or Manchester United fans willing to chime in on this?
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