The best Dutch Footballers of All Time - recalculated

Discussion in 'Players & Legends' started by PuckVanHeel, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Often lists about the 'best [insert part of the world] of [insert timescale]' include controversial and conventional choices alike. For political and economical reasons every (noteworthy) list contains both regularity and change. Some key-players declined to cooperate, most notably Marco Van Basten and Uwe Seeler with the FIFA 100 list, for exactly these reasons.

    The University of Groningen, which also does many other football related research, tried to calculate which Dutch footballer is indeed the best since 1953, the beginning of professional football in the Netherlands (more on this later), until 2009. This method is based on the amount of playing minutes for club and country. The exact calculation method is quite complicated but it is roughly based on the following factors:

    • The amount of playing minutes. The reasoning is that it is the coach/manager who decides who is the best for a given position and who is not. Furthermore, also injuries, whether through his own mistakes or not, say something about the quality of a player. Obviously, a goalkeeper has in general and on average more playing minutes than a winger so they have calibrated for this. In fact: if an attacker only plays 70 minutes in a game, that is above average and he will be rewarded for this.
    • The result of a single match. But: even when a player lost a game he gets more points than a bench player, who gets zero points. Also: wins in extra time or after a penalty shoot-out received a deduction.
    • Obviously: the importance of a tournament, and how far they reached. Again, they calibrated for differences in the number of rounds and the differences in general competition structure through the decades and among different countries.
    Before showing the, quite shocking and thought provoking, results I will show first two well-known 'conventional' lists (in the Netherlands at least). Both were written at the turn of the millennium, in 1999.

    The first relatively well-known list was made by a Dutch football journalist Henk Spaan. This list became featured in a Dutch curren affairs broadcast which exactly pointed quasi-humorously towards the controversial nature of any list. It showed the complaints of the Bertus de Harder fanclub and the happiness of the almost forgotten Willy Dullens (who was ranked at 11). But most notable was the remark of Jan Jongbloed (the Dutch goalkeeper of 1974, did not appear in the list) who called it a 'shit list'.

    The list:
    1 Johan Cruijff
    2 Marco van Basten
    3 Abe Lenstra
    4 Willem van Hanegem
    5 Faas Wilkes
    6 Frank Rijkaard
    7 Rob Rensenbrink
    8 Johan Neeskens
    9 Ruud Gullit
    10 Rinus Israel
    11 Willy Dullens
    12 Dennis Bergkamp
    13 Piet Keizer
    14 Jan van Beveren
    15 Ruud Krol
    16 Willy van der Kuijlen
    17 Ronald Koeman
    18 Bep Bakhuys
    19 Coen Moulijn
    20 Wim Suurbier
    21 Bertus de Harder
    22 Wim Jansen
    23 Puck van Heel
    24 Kick Smit
    25 Frans Thijssen

    By showing the first 25 it already becomes clear that despite the controversies it pretty much had all the conventional names, often in the regular untouchable order (Cruijff is untouchable in the Netherlands). All inactive names that appeared in the FIFA 100 (2004) list, with the exception of the brothers Van der Kerkhof, are also in the top 10 of this list.

    The second list was even heavier debated in the Netherlands. Johan Cruijff himself made that list called 'Orange of the Century'. In no particular order he came with the following list of then living players who played a testimonial match in Amsterdam later in the year.
    [FONT=Trebuchet MS, Bookman Old Style, Futura BdCn BT, Arial]
    • Marco van Basten
    • Dennis Bergkamp
    • Jan van Beveren
    • Danny Blind
    • Hans van Breukelen
    • Johan Cruijff (C)
    • Willy Dullens
    • Henk Groot
    • Ruud Gullit
    • Arie Haan
    • Willem van Hanegem
    • Cor van der Hart
    • Barry Hulshoff
    • Rinus Israel
    • Wim Jansen
    • Piet Keizer
    • Willy van de Kerkhof
    • Ruud Krol
    • Willy van der Kuijlen
    • Kees Kuys
    • Arnold Mühren
    • Gerrie Mühren
    • Frans de Munck
    • Johan Neeskens
    • Eddy Pieters Graafland
    • Rob Rensenbrink
    • Johnny Rep
    • Frank Rijkaard
    • Edwin van der Sar
    • John van 't Schip
    • Wim Suurbier
    • Sjaak Swart
    • Adri van Tiggelen
    • Faas Wilkes
    • Jan Wouters
    [/FONT]Many pointed at the exclusion of Coen Moulijn and Ronald Koeman in the list. The football historian Matty Verkamman pointed at an subtler deficiency: it was an 'Orange of a half-Century'. Verkamman recalled the meetings a young Johan Cruijff had with Ad van Emmenes, the writer of a magnum opus about the first 50 years of Dutch football. "Didn't Ad tell the young Johan how great Bok de Korver was, what kind of fabulous technique right-back Harry Dénis had", Verkammen asked. Verkamman came in 2003 with his own teams:


    Nederland 1
    Frans de Munck; Harry Dénis, Ronald Koeman, Frank de Boer; Johan Neeskens, Wim van Hanegem; Ruud Gullit, Faas Wilkes, Marco van Basten, Johan Cruijff, Coen Moulijn.


    Nederland 2
    Jan van Beveren; Berry van Aerle, Bok de Korver, Ruud Krol; Frank Rijkaard, Kick Smit; Jan de Natris, Patrick Kluivert, Beb Bakhuys, Abe Lenstra, Rob Rensenbrink.


    Nederland 3
    Just Göbel; Wim Suurbier, Cor van der Hart, Bertus Caldenhove; Wim Jansen, Puck van Heel; Johnny Rep, Willy van der Kuylen, Ruud van Nistelrooij, Mannes Francken, Piet Keizer.


    Nederland 4
    Edwin van der Sar; Mauk Weber, Rinus Israël, Arthur Numan; Arie Haan, Phillip Cocu; Dé Kessler, Dennis Bergkamp, Eddy de Neve, Rafael van der Vaart, Bertus de Harder.

    Note: the inclusion of Van der Vaart was meant as a joke although he was indeed a revelation in 2003 and widely crowned as the most talented guy of his generation, above the likes of Robben, Sneijder and Van Persie.



    Unfortunately, the list of Groningen (with the help of football magazine 'elf voetbal') excludes everything from before 1953, although they pay tribute to the names who missed out (Bakhuys, Wilkes, to name a few). Given this deficiency they came with the following list:

    1 Ruud Krol
    2 Arie Haan
    3 Johan Cruijff
    4 Johan Neeskens
    5 Clarence Seedorf
    6 Frank Rijkaard
    7 Edwin van der Sar
    8 Wim Suurbier
    9 Frank de Boer
    10 Ronald Koeman
    11 Marco van Basten
    12 Wim Jansen
    13 Piet Keizer
    14 Johnny Rep
    15 Edgar Davids
    16 Barry Hulshoff
    17 Philip Cocu
    18 Rob Rensenbrink
    19 Willy van de Kerkhof
    20 Ruud Gullit
    21 Jaap Stam
    22 Hans van Breukelen
    23 Gerrie Mühren
    24 Dennis Bergkamp
    25 Willem Van Hanegem
    26 Sjaak Swart
    27 Michael Reiziger
    28 Patrick Kluivert
    29 Ronald de Boer
    30 Gerald Vanenburg
    31 Berry van Aerle
    32 Marc Overmars
    33 Arnold Mühren
    34 René van de Kerkhof
    35 Danny Blind
    36 Jan Wouters
    37 Giovanni van Bronckhorst
    38 Adri van Tiggelen
    39 Aron Winter
    40 Erwin Koeman
    41 Theo van Duivenbode
    42 Mark van Bommel
    43 Jan Poortvliet
    44 Jan Jongbloed
    45 Piet Schrijvers
    46 Wim Rijsbergen
    47 Wim Kieft
    48 Rinus Israel
    49 Wim Jonk
    50 Ruud van Nistelrooij

    Of course the authors explain why Cruijff comes third, by a considerable margin. Although he gets the second highest score for his club career (Seedorf comes first; Keizer third), his national team career is the half (in points) as that of Ruud Krol (Seedorf is also heavily punished for that). Therefore: given the tremendous amount of playing minutes that Krol had on the pitch and the good results when he stood on the pitch (as opposed to when he was absent!), Krol comes first. By the way: Krol has the highest score for his national team, second is Arie Haan, third Johnny Rep.

    Which points to a question: do we overrate attackers? I wonder if other lists, about other countries/eras, would have been different too.

    N.B.: of course, numbers cannot measure the influence of players in the dressing room. Some inherent weaknesses of calculation are impossible to solve.
    ChaChaFut repped this.


  2. schwuppe

    schwuppe Member

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    Very interesting topic.

    Nothing to do with positions rather than evaluation of prime and overall career - the problem: using only career as a ranking measurement.

    Krol played nearly twice as many games as Cruyff for the NT, it's not surprising that he's ahead in a list that factors only cumulative career 'points'.

    Very common in NA sports, see: Brett Favre, Ron Francis, Nolan Ryan ...
  3. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    It is not only about the number of games, that was initially also my first rebuttal of this calculation before I began to understand they also take the statistical effect of a player on the pitch into account and the minutes they play (which rests on the assumption the coach knows best). The fact that defenders generally have a longer peak (and a longer career) is reflected in the differentiated weighing of positions. For example: over several thousands of top players they calculated that an attacker plays on average only 60% of the available minutes in a total season (as opposed to a top class goalkeeper who plays on average 96% of the available time; forced exclusions, red cards, is included in this statistic). For that reason an attacker will be point-wise rewarded if he can stay for 70 minutes on the pitch, whereas a defender will be punished. If I'm right (I will take a look at it) they corrected furthermore for the statistical fact that an defender lasts several seasons more on top level, on average.
    But in general yeah, you're right that any calculation method favours a lasting career instead of a short burst in peak-performance. But I personally think that is a right way of doing things.
    I do have a problem with statistics however that they cannot measure the influence of a player outside the pitch and what they brought to the game (which can very well be some ingrained structures that lasts when a player is not on the pitch for a few games). Also: it can be argued, but that is a different debate, that football is not solely about results (that is Cruyffs vision actually, and he says that perpetually). Unfortunately, that residual is impossible to measure with statistics.

    These are my cards on the table, but I thought these lists might be interesting to share.
  4. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    This list is ridiculous wih some names in bold overated ... Krol, and Haan were great and deserved in TOP10 list but NOT at top. Seedorf? NOT in TOP10 surely probabaly TOP25 at best.

    Now your question: do we overate the attackers? Of course NOT.
    1- If you one ever play football (up to a serious level of competition, not on the street!) he/she should know that the "ATTACKERS" are the USUAL BEST players in his/her team.
    2- Football is a sport game where the "WINNER TAKES IT ALL" - so attackers are the force to realize that heavy task. More difficult, more responsible ...

    No wonder, most highly paid players are attackers.


  5. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    To clarify: Cocu received an especially high rating for his national team career. Of the 1998-generation he is after Van der Sar and Bergkamp the third best rated player for his national team.
  6. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Forgot to note the range of the assigned weight: it varies from 0,5 for the Supercup (because it is an 'extra' prize) to 10 for the World Cup (two European Cups/Champions Leagues equals one World Cup; all other things equal, which is never the case).

    Just wonder how it would have been for players from other countries.
  7. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    well it sounds fair but then its' not quite a clear good system ... for example, a Roque Junior would have the same points (10) as of Ronaldo or Rivaldo for his WC02? No wonder why Seedorf got so high .. (with his 3,4 UCL)

    I would say roughly (not exact) for example ...

    - win the WC: 6pts, plus 4 if goldenball/goldenboot, plus 3 if among TOP5 goldenball, plus 2 if among the all star team
    - win Euro: 5pts, plus 3 if MVP, plus 2 as topscorer, plus 1 if among the star team
    - win UCL: 4pts, plus 3 if MVP or topscorer, plus 2 if among the UEFA selected team ...
    - win copaAmerica: 4pts, 2 for MVP or topscorer, plus 1 if among the best performers ...
    - win league: 3pts, plus 3 if best league player or topscorer, plus 2 if among best XI of the league (yearly)
  8. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Not exactly because Ronaldo stood a couple of games for 90 minutes on the pitch, and won. He will be rewarded for that if you calculate this.

    Good to note is however that such calculations cannot be partitioned in separate tournaments, for mathematical reasons (you'll get insignificant results, they say). So, it is over a, say, 10 year time-scale and I'm very sure Ronaldo would in that case rank above Roque Junior.

    And because he played in many games, and for a long time. But his performance for the national team is ranked very low, one of the lowest of the 1998-generation despite having 79 caps (and having performed in three tournaments: 1998, 2000 and 2004). I think that outcome corresponds well with how the press generally see this.

    The problem is that these selections are often political or economic motivated. That is only aggrevating the calculation problems.
  9. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    Well I was sarcastic in naming R.Junior there. But the real challenge to that system would be calling Cafu (4WC's and 2xfinals won 2). Would he rated higher than Ronaldo and Romario? (not to mention Zico, Rivelino, Socrates Rivaldo ...)

    That's exactly my point of Seedorf: he was INVOLVED in many UCL events, but got a LOW performance for Holland in big event like WC = NOT DESERVED that highly rate as his resume sounds
  10. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Cafu is a good one... It will depend on how his Copa America (97&99, Ronaldo was a star too) and Copa Libertadores performances would have been rated. With the Champions League, Cup Winners Cup and World Cup alone he won't come very far. He played very infrequently in three (out of four) wins (1998 the exception). Also, his European career for AS Roma was the equivalent of Ruud van Nistelrooij for Manchester United.

    Also in this case I don't think the attacker Ronaldo will be blown away by Cafu.
  11. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    What about Romario, Rivaldo amd Zico??? ermm... what a system!
  12. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Romario and Rivaldo would certainly rank high under any calculation system. Romario performed very consistently in Europe for PSV and reached the final with Barcelona. Furthermore, he was a key player in both Copa America victories.
  13. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    mmm key player? maybe but not quite among the best performers there
    89: Bebeto topscorer and Sousa (Uruguay) MVP (Romario got 3goals)
    97: Hernandez topscorer, and Ronaldo won MVP (Romario 3goals)

    that AGAIN highlighted MY POINT: win cup did not mean much, but true performance!
  14. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    My point is that it maybe makes even less sense to hand out MPV-accolades towards someone.
  15. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    About this: Cruijff is ranked 21 on the national team list. This cannot be entirely attributed to his 48 caps. Jongbloed has 24 caps and is ranked one place above him (despite getting 0 points for the European Championships). Van de Kerkhof has 47 caps, is on 17. Neeskens has 49, is on 6. Rensenbrink has 46, is on 5. Johnny Rep has 42, is on 3. Haan has only 35 caps and is on 2.
    You're right however that the amount of caps of Krol is reflected in his rating for the qualification matches, it is the highest of all players. Only Van der Sar edges him with a few points (but Van der Sar has 130 caps) but that is negligible.
  16. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    That's totally ABSURD!!!

    Cruijff was regarded as the BEST EUROPEAN EVER played the game (even including Stefano) - 21st in Holland list? Yeah rite ...

    for me Cruiff was a "European made of Pele"
  17. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Can be, but his Holland career was disappointing. The general public in Holland and abroad only remembers his 1974 performance (where he wasn't at its top shape either) but before that and afterwards he wasn't always very interested in the Dutch team. For me that is also the reason why I never bought the 'with cruyff we would have been world champion in 1978' argument.
    His greatness, and he is even greater in that respect than the people abroad recognise, laid predominantly in his club career performance.

    Again, I wonder how it would turn out if you run this kind of calculation on other countries.
  18. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    Well I had already mentioned the case of Brazil,no? with such a system, Cafu, D.Santos, and Gilmar would have a very big chance to surpass Romario, Rivaldo, Rivelino and surely to top the likes Zico Socrates Facao ... as not so making sense I think ...
  19. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Why does it not make sense? Because attackers are more often mentioned they should also be higher in the list? Having talent is one thing, enjoying a long career is something other.
    You are calling names who won't be trashed anyway by Cafu and the likes.
  20. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    Maybe you did not get my point, it is very possible with the "Gronigen system" you demonstrated for Netherland players where Krol and Haan > Cruiff
  21. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    A recent conversation on PM brought me to post the full top 100. Again, it is a list made by a journalist in 1999 and it has flaws in my view (see above) but this one of the most cited ones if it comes down to place and significance in history of the domestic game. So apparently it has some authority and probably most see it overall as a good effort. It gained some criticism of course and apart from the points mentioned in the starting post it was allegedly also too much an Ajax-colored list. Which was by the creator defended with the famous Fabio Capello quote who once said: "Feyenoord, the only thing I know about them is that they live in the country of Ajax."

    1 Johan Cruijff
    2 Marco van Basten
    3 Abe Lenstra
    4 Willem van Hanegem
    5 Faas Wilkes
    6 Frank Rijkaard
    7 Rob Rensenbrink
    8 Johan Neeskens
    9 Ruud Gullit
    10 Rinus Israel
    11 Willy Dullens
    12 Dennis Bergkamp
    13 Piet Keizer
    14 Jan van Beveren
    15 Ruud Krol
    16 Willy van der Kuijlen
    17 Ronald Koeman
    18 Bep Bakhuys
    19 Coen Moulijn
    20 Wim Suurbier
    21 Bertus de Harder
    22 Wim Jansen
    23 Puck van Heel
    24 Kick Smit
    25 Frans Thijssen
    26 Cor van der Hart
    27 Gerrie Mühren
    28 Jan Wouters
    29 Kees Rijvers
    30 Jan Peters
    31 Willy Brokamp
    32 Frans de Munck
    33 Ronald de Boer
    34 Arnold Mühren
    35 Tonny van der Linden
    36 Henk Groot
    37 Hugo Hovenkamp
    38 Johnny Rep
    39 Frank de Boer
    40 Jan Klijnjan
    41 Wim Jonk
    42 Wim Rijsbergen
    43 Charlie Bosveld
    44 Sjaak Swart
    45 Theo de Jong
    46 Ruud Geels
    47 Piet van der Kuil
    48 Daan Schrijvers
    49 René van der Kerkhof
    50 Richard Witschge
    51 Gerald Vanenburg
    52 Erwin Koeman
    53 Simon Tahamata
    54 Rinus Terlouw
    55 Piet Schrijvers
    56 Jan Poortvliet
    57 Roel Wiersma
    58 Danny Blind
    59 Willy van der Kerkhof
    60 Peter Houtman
    61 Theo Pahlplatz
    62 Arie Haan
    63 Bennie Wijnstekers
    64 Kees Kist
    65 Tinus Bosselaar
    66 Bennie Muller
    67 Pummie Bergholz
    68 Jan Klaassens
    69 Berry van Aerle
    70 Edwin van der Sar
    71 Mick Klavan
    72 Tscheu La Ling
    73 Edgar Davids
    74 Henk Wery
    75 Dick Nanninga
    76 Epi Drost
    77 Coen Dillen
    78 Cor Veldhoen
    79 Michel van der Korput
    80 Jaap Stam
    81 Frans Bouwmeester
    82 Jan Mulder
    83 Aad Mansveld
    84 Aron Winter
    85 Reinier Kreyermaat
    86 Wim Kieft
    87 Frits Flinkevleugel
    88 Theo Laseroms
    89 Henk Schouten
    90 Jo Bonfrere
    91 Dick van Dijk
    92 Adri van Tiggelen
    93 Fons van Wissen
    94 Hans Eijkenbroek
    95 Humphrey Mijnals
    96 Rinus Bennaars
    97 John van 't Schip
    98 Peet Petersen
    99 Clarence Seedorf
    100 Hans van Breukelen
  22. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    I don't think Gullit is lower than Rijkaard, Neesken ... but arguably ok since only 1 place higher or lower ...

    BUT ... All the BOLD names are too low. I can;t believe Edgar Davids, Seedorf and Stam Hann all lower than Dany Blind, and otehr no names ...
  23. msioux75

    msioux75 Member+

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    Puck, i like to know more about Willy Dullen :)
  24. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    In mid 60s Holland had three great talents, Van der Kuijlen, Cruijff and Dullens. Dullens was two years older than the other two. Van der Kuijlen four months older than Cruijff.
    According to many, and also a young Cruijf and Van der Kuijlen themselves, Dullens had the best technique of them all. Dullens was footballer of the year in 1966 - while playing in second division. His club promoted to first division predominantly due to his efforts.
    He is the example of someone with a short peak. He suffered various injuries and one of them was fatal. His career ended in 1967.

    Later on he suffered psychotic traumas because he saw parallels between his career and the career of Van Basten.

    I think it is certain that he had better skills as Cruijff or who else back then. Cruijff said in 1966: "I can play on midfield and attack but I like to run my socks off for a man like him." I think he had a high peak (matches against first division teams and friendlies against German teams speak for themselves).
    He was also a likable person which helps his ranking.

    You can say that he is the Garrincha of Holland ;) Although I don't agree with such high ranking, videos featuring him do exist and the results against various opponents result in a credible argument I think (his club suffered enormously as well when he was out). Romanticism and nostalgia has a part but I think it is right that he was a phenomenon. The contrast is also nice: he was small (way smaller as Cruijff) and fragile but stood nevertheless out against big, strong and well-prepared German guys.

    James, although I agree with you in some cases I can explain it but because it won't affect your evaluation at all I refrain from doing so. I do agree however with ranking Rijkaard above Gullit.
  25. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    I just want to know how it's proceeded though ... (always good to know how people derive their ranking that's all)

    ;) Deep down, there is no "absolute" right or wrong in such things - like a beauty contest - not always I perceive all "Miss Unniverse" as my dream girls !!!

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