Next Ballon d'Or winner that isn't CR7 or LM10 (and when)?

Discussion in 'The Beautiful Game' started by BocaFan, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. Tropeiro

    Tropeiro Member

    Jun 1, 2018
    #7601 Tropeiro, Jul 17, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
    What's the problem Carlitos Brigante? :ROFLMAO:

    Cristiano Ronaldo isn't at the same level of Neymar as well, at least in terms of involvement in build plays, probably neither of Suarez too.
    He had a more limited role than Neymar or Suarez and he would not to the dirty service for Messi, Mbappe or for anyone for example. In these terms he was more like Toninho Guerreiro.

    It is only to note that Juventus in the last League was much less creative and scored fewer goals with Cristiano Ronaldo as the center point of the attack than the other seasons.
    In addition, Dybala who is the other talented striker has disappeared.

    Do not get me wrong, Cristiano was clutch in most of the decisive matches this season, but he did not really make Juventus more functional or gave more punch to the Italian team.

    31 Matches with Cristiano Ronaldo in the Italian League = 60 Goals (1.93 Goal average)
    That average in only higher than one season in the least five years:
  2. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Real Madrid
    #7602 carlito86, Jul 17, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
    Toninho scored freaking 60 goals in 1966 with pele out injured for most of the year.
    Suarez 15/16 had a GOAT playmaking version of Lionel Messi AND Neymar providing him and he still scored less

    How did Toninho 1966 without pele outscore Suarez 15/16 (with Messi/neymar/iniesta) doing so with a supposedly demonstrably inferior support cast?

    Were Santos without pele a greater team than you're giving them credit for?

    on what basis is CR "greater than Maradona"(your words) and "probably the greatest European player ever"(your words) if he was more limited than Luis Suarez and less involved in build up?
  3. Tropeiro

    Tropeiro Member

    Jun 1, 2018
    #7603 Tropeiro, Jul 17, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
    1966 Toninho scored 27 Goals in Campeonato Paulista, Santos played 28 Matches
    Still in 1966 Pelé scored 13 in 14 matches, not bad at all.
    In these 14 Matches Pelé played, Santos won 76,2% of the points and had a 1.36 Goal Difference for.
    In the 14 Matches Pelé didn't played, Santos won just 52,4% of the points and had just a 0.64 Goal Difference for.
    Santos finished in 3º
    Toninho scored 27 Goals of 70 Santos Goals (38,6%)

    1965 for example Santos finished as the Champion in the Campeonato Paulista.
    Santos played 30 matches, won 86,7% of the points and had a 2.17 Goal Difference for.
    Pelé scored 49 Goals of 93 Santos Goals (52,7%)
    That is a dominant league performance from Pelé.

    Toninho wasn't a bad striker, in fact he should be in the 1970 squad for his hype and he was also two time topscored in other team, São Paulo. He was a very well rated striker in the Brazilian scenary, just never close to Pelé's level in his life.
  4. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Real Madrid
    #7604 carlito86, Jul 17, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
    Toninho scored 60 official goals in all competitions during 1966
    He did so with Pele out injured for most of the year

    This is something you can't get away from no matter how many times you attempt to change the goalposts

    A player who is merely "not a bad striker " cant score 60 goals in a single campaign
    It never happened and never will happen

    Not interested in what Pele did or didn't do in 1965
    When Toninho assumed primary goalscoring responsibilities in 66 a striker who was merely "not bad" scored at a GOAT level rate

    Either toninho with 1 cap for the brazilian NT was a GOAT level scorer(which would completely invalidate your claim that Pelés teammates weren't really that special)
    And/Or Santos was a big fish in a small pond (which would detract from Pelé also considering he benefited directly from the same support cast that inflated toninho)
  5. Tropeiro

    Tropeiro Member

    Jun 1, 2018
    #7605 Tropeiro, Jul 17, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
    Not really, he scored 60 Goals including friendlies (he scored 42 in official matches as far as I know), you can count friendlies if you want but then you can accept that Pelé scored 1200 Goals too.
    Toninho did scored at very high rate in 1966-1972 tho, also in 1964.

    If Santos was a big fish in the League, why you explain this?

    1966 Toninho scored 27 Goals in Campeonato Paulista, Santos played 28 Matches
    Still in 1966 Pelé scored 13 in 14 matches, not bad at all.
    In these 14 Matches Pelé played, Santos won 76,2% of the points and had a 1.36 Goal Difference for.
    In the 14 Matches Pelé didn't played, Santos won just 52,4% of the points and had just a 0.64 Goal Difference for.

    Compared with this:

    Cristiano Ronaldo for example in his called peak:
    In 29 Matches Cristiano played in La Liga 2009/2010, Real Madrid won 82,9% of the points and had a 1.93 Goal Difference for.
    In the 9 Matches Cristiano didn't played, Madrid won 81,5% of the points and had a 1.22 Goal Difference for.

    In 30 Matches Cristiano played in La Liga 2013/2014, Real Madrid won 73,3% of the points and had a 1.53 Goal Difference for.
    In the 8 Maches he didn't played in La Liga, Madrid won 87.5% of the points and had a 2.5 Goal Difference for.

    Between others.

    Toninho, on the other hand, peaked in this years between 1964 and 1968, but he was still a prolific striker with São Paulo, he is proved. He was the topscorer in the Paulista league more two times and also scored the only goal in the 1971 Final vs Palmeiras:

    He also scored in the final vs Guarani in 1970 also.

    Toninho Guerreiro managed to be the topscorer of the Libertadores in 1972 as well.

    I mean he was a great striker, very well rated in Brazil, a idol at São Paulo more than for Santos maybe. He was sale for 800k cash to São Paulo. Gerson in the same year was 900k for example. That's a little difference between two top Brazilian players at that time, a big money for sure.

    Question it is not strange that Ronaldo just scored 16 Non PK Goals while playing for Juventus, and Higuain scored 33 while playing for Napoles in 2015/2016 or Duvan Zapata scored 22 Non-PK Goals while playing for Atalanta this year or that Quagriarella with 36 years old playing for Sampdoria had more Non-PK Goals + Assists than Ronaldo.

    Maybe Barcelona and Madrid are the clubs that really offer the best services for elite players? Unmatched and unprecendeted.
  6. comme

    comme Moderator
    Staff Member

    Feb 21, 2003
    I would have liked to have seen more of Dybala in the national side as I think he's the third best Argentine player (after Messi and Aguero). I have also found the exclusion of Icardi to be odd given his quality. However, I don't think either of those decisions have had any impact on the long term success of the side.

    Has Messi's off field influence had a profound negative impact on his on-field achievements? Not in my opinion.

    Yes, circumstances play a big part in people's achievements.

    There is a question to answer about to what degree that should be facored into our assessments of players.
  7. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    #7607 PuckVanHeel, Jul 18, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
    As a few additional remarks; I saw today that this week he contributed to a podcast on the history of the sweeper keeper (Grosics, Yashin, Van der Sar are all covered). Maybe there will be an English translation of the book.

    I've listened to it now and it is fine. In the information text below the podcast many links to other material (which I haven't checked).

    Also found an intriguing interview with the researcher in a Flemish paper (november 2018), maybe I get back to it on a later point. It has some good comments on how arrogant he was or not (he nuances that; he accepted commentary by the coffee lady just as easily as by a director), that as basically only star of his generation he never got divorced etcetera.

    The interviewer makes at the end the comment "he hypothesized Belgium might have the natural inclination to play defensive because we have always been occupied by other foreign countries", haha. As the wikipedia mentions, he had a (small) role in the recent success.... (the last paragraph here)

    Also this part: "Because of his [physical and mental] vulnerabilities he learned thinking faster and he developed his insight. Multiple footballers told me he seems to have had an extra sense. You wanted to catch him but he was already gone. And that all thanks to his limitations." (touched upon elsewhere in the interview)

    For further perspective/context: this coincided with the sudden appearance of (minor) pop successes in the UK and USA. Not something of huge proportions, but certain songs as 'Radar Love', 'Hocus Pocus' and 'Venus' (three times #1 in USA) have become international classics.
    (google translate helps etc.)

    There has been a big shift from pop/rock successes (until early 80s) to electronic/dance (last 25 years) though. As far as I know it isn't something of Sweden proportions (their music export is worth billions, though recently 'we' are catching up) but there was a sudden emergence and some of those are actually born in the same year as him, and some music has aged well in terms of airplay (not true for many other songs of the time). Also nice is that the last german speaking #1 hit in the USA was written by two hollanders, lol.
  8. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Yes and you can also wonder to what extent players got the most out of it. For example Puskas not playing a huge part in two of the three European Cups he won (he does win points elsewhere... the one he did win as one example... or the period Di Stefano struggled with injuries). Or while acknowledging dominance wasn't an option for Maradona, how to see his two league titles, two times runners-up, next to the many more by his (semi-)contemporaries plus their continental successes. Some of them very talented and skilled in their own right.

    'Circumstance' isn't automatically an excuse.
  9. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Thinking about this again: the major problem is much of this is speculation. Maybe @Vegan10 can explain more and also explain how it all, the selections and the rest, hampered the team.

    There is only one clear and obvious case and that is Tata Martino.

    There are many more cases where it's certain they weren't his pick (Luis Enrique, Maradona, Guardiola for example were all clearly not his pick; Bauza wasn't either I guess but maybe @Vegan10 knows better).

    Given Aguero his recurring struggles for the national team (and until recently also in the CL) there is maybe room for wonder whether someone else had to be tried. Has Messi ever played with a similar type of striker at club level?

    Of course there is a limit to it, so that not a Championship player becomes the pound-for-pound greatest ever.

    At the same time, it cannot be avoided. Mentioning the pity state of AFA is also an appeal to circumstance; just as the partial randomness of cup competitions.

    It's a team sport that is played in relation with and against others. It is not golf or darts where one is playing against themselves. The factor circumstance cannot be totally switched off.

    Achievements are also not necessary a binary thing. You can always be a close contender and finisher in every competition you enter (e.g. Cruijff at Barca, Puskas at Real, Ronaldo Luis at Real in his first seasons) without always winning (which then can get a further gloss if you produce in semi final ties where you get out, and the team not doing well before/without/after you).
  10. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Real Madrid
    #7610 carlito86, Jul 18, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
    CR is a 34 year old veteran who was bought by juventus to win a long awaited champions league trophy.

    Whether you think he was a failure or not is up for discussion
    Just bear in mind he scored 5 champions league KO goals in 4 games(100% involvement)

    To put this into some perspective zlatan ibrahimovic scored 7 CL KO goals in 15 years of European football
    Higuain even less

    Quagriarella is a quality striker who had been through a lot in his personal life
    Italian strikers age like wine and his game has never been built on his explosiveness off the mark

    "Question is not strange" how R9 in his prime scored less open play goals than Oliver bierhoff in serie A 97/98

    "Question is not strange"how R9 in his prime with a super team as Brazil was outscored by a Croatian David suker in the 1998 world cup

    "Question is not strange" how R9 in his prime was outscored by Guivarc'h in the 97/98 uefa cup
    (Guivarc'h played for auxurre a team which finished 7th place in ligue 1)

    Address all of these points without referring to mitigating factors (assists and differing roles on the pitch)

    Do that and maybe I'll entertain any of your "strange questions"
  11. Tropeiro

    Tropeiro Member

    Jun 1, 2018
    To balance things:
  12. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    #7612 PuckVanHeel, Jul 19, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
    Possibly, and while I think you are right here (this is also discussed in the thread below that article on twitter), there are also similarities in top players having their own staff. If you then add it with certain players (without precisely knowing who they are exactly) having political benefits and a carte blanche to enhance themselves (unlike other elite players, who are restricted), then there is a parallel with the tennis situation and the article linked to (this and this article covers the same ground and mentions similar things). Just as tennis players the elite footballers have their own entourage and are their own small business.

    "Yet even when Barça’s doctors think they know what treatment a player needs, they still need to persuade him. Modern football clubs seek ever more control over their players, but modern players push back. An elite footballer today is like the head of a small business, who contracts his playing services to a club for two or three hours a day. He often employs his own physiotherapist or strength coach, who may steer him towards the latest fashionable treatment (right now, ice baths). He may not tell the club what he’s doing. Barça aim to dissuade injured players from going private, so as to retain control of their treatment and protect them against potential quacks. That’s why, for instance, the club forked out for what it considers the best MRI machine on earth. The device can produce images of a single millimetre of muscle, showing exactly where a tear is."
    (if you can't read this full article, access through a search engine, it's decent)

    This is an important observation: while salaries in football have skyrocketed, the income by the elite clubs have even more so, hence the gradual decrease in 'wages-to-income/budget' ratio since the 2000s. That is a facet in support of your take that the organization and team is still important, and has some bargaining power over the individual.
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  13. Bavarian14

    Bavarian14 Member

    Bayern München
    Jun 1, 2017
    Do you think Ajax was bit of an anomaly in this modern era of sports science proving that the old school talent and hard work still triumphs?
  14. comme

    comme Moderator
    Staff Member

    Feb 21, 2003
    The problem is that both Higuaín and Icardi are similar to Aguero in that they are all pure scorers. None of them are going to offer you the workrate of a Suarez or Benzema, or the link play of a Lewandowski or Kane.

    Which is why achievements can only be a part of any assessment.

    To me a simple thing in Messi's favour is that when I watch him, he almost always plays well and is frequently (maybe half the time) the best player on the field. I know that is entirely subjective but in the current era where there are lots of very good players with lots of opportunities available to him, he passes a very simple test.
    ko242 repped this.
  15. Estel

    Estel Member+

    May 5, 2010
    Real Madrid
    I went through the other FT article. It does echo what you state in your last paragraph above, that elite clubs as a whole are now looking at incremental gains and utilising their considerable monetary advantage to achieve this.

    Regarding individual players, I felt that a few of them from a team employing support staff to help them gain an edge might not necessarily always be able to benefit the entire team enough to swing major results. But yeah, if the club gets involved and sets up such staff for each player, then it might be a different ball game. Hadn't considered it from that perspective.

    Thanks for sharing btw!
  16. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    I think it was/is a bit of everything (the Europa League final and then CL semi final) and it doesn't exclude each other.

    Anomaly: By relevant measures as the operating budget, the wages (lower than Celtic, 50% lower than Porto, lower than a number of Championship clubs), the game experience at that level, then it is a significant anomaly. At the same time it might be argued it falls within a long going narrative and is thus not an anomaly. Many 'pundits' in this region have over time said it is all blahblah when you have players like a Messi or a Van Basten to win games and win finals for you; instances as this are an argument for saying it might be blahblah, but it is blahblah with substance and merit, and a track record.

    'Old school' talent: There is a bit of that as well. If you look at Ajax of 10-15 years ago then some players were in there that didn't make sense. They also played increasingly on the counter-attack in the youth and senior team, even against much inferior opposition; the trademark 'third man' concept was entirely forgotten. They had some expensive marquee signings and then worked their own youth around it, rather than vice versa (seek the external players to fill holes that you haven't produced yourself). They went back to the framework of the past, and we also know Guardiola for instance said 90% of what he does in training and tactics is the same as what JC14 did (he goes over this in the 'all or nothing' series). So yes there is that tried and tested element to it. Sadly, the tendency to infighting and factions made them going adrift while at the same time it never entirely left the memory of the organization. Yeah there is a 'back to the future' trope attached to it, while they were far removed from it when Martin Jol was the trainer and he utilized a very different training methodology.

    Sport science: The (foreign) press was of course quick to notice all the former footballers that were brought back in to the club, but some without a pro career got involved as well, including a few with an academic background (Cruijff in his typical style said: "I forgot my glasses to read, but can already hear it is good", plus already in the early 70s he talked about the application of computers despite later saying computers cannot detect insight and technique). Like every other club Ajax also works with GPS trackers and the like, even if they don't have the same resources as a Manchester United or Barcelona (thus a major club has a data team that is four times as big, and can recruit the best people obviously). Furthermore, some of those former players had an affinity, certainly not an allergy, with science and academic thinking. Finally, all but one of the best sport science faculties in Europe are located in northern Europe (the remaining one is located in Italy; Spain has actually none).

    Hard work: Maybe it is better to say 'smart work' rather than working hard perse. Someone like De Ligt worked hard yes, but there was also a plan to make him improve. 'Smart and hard work' is necessary to make a small chance against much bigger organizations (and all the interests of broadcasters and sponsors). Luckily, also here it is a long standing tradition that players take ownership of the process and are made conscious of how they can help the team improve the most.

    [​IMG] cox zonal marking&hl=nl&pg=PT9#v=onepage&q=michael cox zonal marking&f=false

    Hard work and smart work is also necessary because this isn't a country with many short-cuts to success. Obviously the paradise doesn't exist on earth, it is human nature to take short-cuts, and I'd like to see some things better (CEOs can get off the hook too easily perhaps, more so than the organizations they run), but overall the policing is strict and the punishment consistent and considerable. The international rankings and lists reflect this. Copied from the country forum (always good to place 'Palermo at the North Sea' into perspective):
    Show Spoiler

    Sports governance observer

    Netherlands ranks #3 behind Norway and narrowly behind Denmark (#2 for accountability and control). Same for football. This is the best research of its type.

    WADA blacklist and watchlist (naming and shaming)

    As one of the very few countries in the world, Netherlands has never been on this. This is not true for e.g. Spain and Portugal, and repeatedly so. Netherlands allows testing and research by competing countries.

    Business corruption (Transparancy International)

    Number one in the world, with Japan.

    Press Freedom (Freedom House and Reporters without borders)

    Number two behind Norway & number three behind Norway and Sweden. Practically no press censorship, soft libel laws.

    Rule of Law index

    Number five behind the Scandinavian countries.

    Reliability of police services

    Number two country in the EU, behind Luxembourg (typically, various semi-totalitarian states rank high here).

    Good Country Index (net positive "contribution to the planet, and to the human race, through their policies and behaviors")

    Number one in the world (#3 and #4 in other years)

    Judicial Independence (WEF, made by legal experts)

    Number three in the world

    There was 'hard work' but that doesn't mean there was no science.

    So without claiming I possess the ultimate view and wisdom, as far as I can guess all of these things are true and do not exclude each other. All of that has contributed to Netherlands being #3 in Elo since the mid 60s (though it does not explain why Belgium is a bit behind at #16 --- someone like Paul van Himst has said once "the short and simplistic answer: the difference is Cruijff, and all the rest it generated over time"). All of that applies to Ajax of the past three years.
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  17. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member+

    Aug 4, 2011

    Bauza was a puppet, assigned out of haste after Tata resigned and Messi quit, but once things went downwards he was conveniently sacked with the approval of Messi and his ‘so-called friends’ Aguero, Maschereno, Di Maria...
  18. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member+

    Aug 4, 2011
    Sorry to not respond earlier, but I think you are overlooking the ‘big picture’ here. Messi simply hasn’t been a great performer for his NT in comparison to former all-time greats. I know you will probably disagree but various sources (Argentinian newspapers, France Football) never rated him that high in major competitions or in decisive stages. I think this should not be overlooked or downplayed in an historical assessment of his career (particularly to bump him over past legends).
  19. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011

    :eek: They have discovered the clone machine :eek:
    schwuppe repped this.
  20. thebigman

    thebigman Member+

    May 25, 2006
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Mbappe potentially next season
  21. Bruford

    Bruford Member

    Sep 23, 2012
    I´m a bit late here, but this a subject that always have make me curious: Why most recent superstars can no longer dominate major tournaments? I think we have seem more collective football (Spain, Germany etc) dominating the international stage, which indicates that the room for a outstanding individual performance may have decreased thanks to tactical evolution, perhaps.

    However, what really intrigates me is the superstars post season fatigue and how much this factor can impact in a individual performance. I watched a interview with Rivaldo and he mentioned his feud with Van Gaal. Then, I made a research on the other side of the story and read a Van Gaal 2002´s statement, back then when he comeback to Barcelona and just after WC02:
    "He plays for Brazil like we needed him to at Barcelona, and he has proved this in the World Cup finals, showing he reserved himself for Japan."

    Rivaldo played 33 games in 01/02 club season, less than his normal 50+ games, and delivered a great performance in WC02 . Ronaldo, who shined as brightly as him in that WC, played 16 games for Inter in that same season, which everyone knows was his comeback after his worst injury.

    Maradona played 31 games in his 85/86 season, just before the most dominant individual performance in a international major tournament, according to almost every fan and football expert.

    Ruud Gullit statements on his Euro´88 also touch on this subject: "“I was under pressure, because I had a great season; everyone expected me to repeat the feat - but I was tired, couldn't do it. Fortunately for me, Marco was great, very fresh. What I was doing was passing the ball to him as soon as possible. Against England I made two assists and he scored twice."

    Just to note, he played 39 games in 87/88 season, while Van basten, struggling with injuries, played 19 games.

    I remember people talking about Zidane preparation for WC06 too. He played 38 games in the season 05/06 and was far from his best in his last games for Real.

    So, having said all that, my question would be: do you think post-season fatigue is a huge factor that prevented recent stars as Ronaldinho, Henry, Cristiano and Messi to dominate a major tournament? I know some of them had great tournaments, but we know none of them were able to replicate their best performances at WC or Euro/Copa America.
  22. Bavarian14

    Bavarian14 Member

    Bayern München
    Jun 1, 2017
    This is true to some extent even for Pele.

    However a few discrepancies can be found for example Griezmann's great Euro 2016 after 54 appearances for Atletico Madrid in 2015/16. Or Messi's poor Copa America form despite playing full 90 minutes for only 35 games in 2018/19.
    Afghan-Juventus repped this.
  23. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    #7624 PuckVanHeel, Aug 2, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2019
    Sorry to come back to this but it felt like I owe an explanation (and I think I know more about this than boxing). Because it was off-subject I was hesitant to reply but later I thought actually many of my considerations are applicable to football too. It is a mixture of quantitative and qualitative perceptions and arguments.

    You're right Djokovic is almost 6 years younger, and a lot can happen in such a time span, so I was talking about how things are standing now. Let's start with peak, then (funny anecdote: Federer's most favorite football player as a youngster, when he himself was playing football at a good level, was a dutchman...).


    You are right Djokovic reached the highest Elo rating of everyone in history (only contenders are Federer and Borg). Federer in his most dominant seasons (2004 -2006) was competing against drunk Safin et al. before the emergence of Nadal and later Djokovic so that makes sense. Djokovic is also the one to have a winning record against both Nadal and Federer (something that also separated Sampras from the rest).

    However, when it comes to Grand Slams then Federer won twice without losing a single set. Even better: he did it at two different tournaments (AO 2007 and Wimbledon 2017). Borg is the only other of the professional era to do this in two different tournaments (when surfaces differed more widely); Nadal did it only in Paris, and Djokovic never accomplished it.

    Furthermore, when it comes to the year-end finals (the so called '5th Grand Slam') he is the only one to reach the final without losing a set, in 2010 (dropping one set in the final).


    Federer his ATP-ranking never dropped lower than 17th since his emergence to the top. That is evidently better than what Djokovic and more so Nadal have managed to do.

    Case can also be made Federer on his weakest surface is better than Nadal and Djokovic (less clear) on their weakest surface.

    Federer is also (to me) a better doubles player (at least more 'classic'), with better peak accomplishments there (an Olympic gold medal). He has a natural all-court game, with net play and an intuitive feel for where his partner is and what his partner does.

    Consistency and career accumulation

    Federer has more Grand Slams than everyone else, more year end wins than everyone else (the '5th GS'), more GS finals than everyone else, more semi finals than everyone. Furthermore, he has also three losses against the eventual winner after having a match-point himself, which the other two can't show (their combined number of losses against the winner after a match point is 0).

    For many/some Wimbledon is the premier event of all (in part because playing on grass is rare): he has won it more often than everyone and the first since Borg to do so without losing a set.

    The main thing in favor of Nadal and Djokovic is that they have won more tournaments of the 2nd tier (34, 33 vs 28).

    Style, conduct and demeanour

    Numbers are for me though not everything. Also important for me is that fundamentally the likes of Djokovic and Murray are defensive players, counter-punchers. Nadal is a more nuanced story, but also he is more of a defender than Federer is with his all-court play and incredible shot making. Federer would still be a great player in the faster and quicker 1990s (though he would also suffer from the more diverse surfaces), while for the others it is less obvious.

    For some this would be an irrelevant consideration, but I also like it he's not the most athletically gifted of the lot (as above link points out, his steps are not so aggressive and powerful). Yet he can dominate entire events when it all clicks. His general on-court and off-court demeanor is exemplary, notwithstanding occasional smashing of rackets or other lapses in emotion (starting with the 2005 semi vs Safin, costing him the game) or unsophisticated moments. The way he took his time for questions and the spectators in Rotterdam while not being under such formal obligation was really admirable. I think he wins points there next to Nadal, Murray or Djokovic (my personal impression).

    Finally, in an age where press and some sport journalists are as conscious as ever about the murky, fishy and political side of sports (without mentioning here his direct men rivals, as example: Serena Williams and her many TUEs), I think Federer as big as he is has mostly if not entirely steered away from that.

    It is though - and this is another parallel to other sports - very hard to compare to this to the era of Sampras and Borg. Probably Sampras had made amends to his game if he was forced to play a decade later (Federer actually did), and would have greater longevity too since all the differences in surfaces caused demonstrable wear and tear. But when it comes down to Federer his contemporaries and semi-contemporaries, for me the difference in 'class' is evident.

  24. Sexy Beast

    Sexy Beast Member

    Dinamo Zagreb
    Aug 11, 2016
    Nat'l Team:
    We might get the answer in 2022 WC because it will be played in december.

    My intuition is that there is more cohesion on club level (they train longer and play more matches together). The best players take the most advantage of it.. and fatigue to some extant

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