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Castrol Football Rankings – What They Said

We interviewed the 2010 Soccerlens Awards nominees this week to ask them about who they would vote for, the secrets to their success, who they would pick as the best footballer in the world and what they thought about the Castrol Football Rankings.

We’ve collected their answers to the last question below:

“Have you seen the Castrol Football Rankings? What do you think about them, and who do you think is the best footballer in the world at the moment?”

Andreas Voniatis of Football Superstars:

I have and this is something we could definitely use for our virtual world ranking, currently this is handled by our own leaderboard system. The best footballer in the world has to be Lionel Messi because he has raw talent, flare and passion for the game.

Will Wood, PR Director of Goal.com:

Football is all about opinions and the Castrol Football Rankings are a fantastic way of igniting discussion as to who is the best player in the world, what the outcome of games will be and a number of other topics. In my eyes the best player in the world is Lionel Messi, something the Castrol Football Rankings agrees with too.

Scott Brown of ManUtdTalk:

Easy to use, insightful and probably most accurate by the methodology described. Best player at the moment has to be Messi for me.

Michael Cox of Zonal Marking:

I have, it’s a good idea. I know the data all comes from OPTA who are terrific, their twitter feeds are superb and they also power the Guardian chalkboards that I use on the site. It’s interesting, the top two are who you’d expect, then there’s a few surprise names up there – but I suppose that’s the point. The best player in the world, in my opinion, is Lionel Messi.

Tim Vickery:

I haven’t, and to be honest, I think too much time is spent discussing individual awards in what is a collective sport.

Gabriele Marcotti:

I think trying to put footballers in a statistical framework as the Castrol Index does is very difficult, but that does not mean it’s not worth doing. Only through more research and trial-and-error can we hope to understand the game from a more objective standpoint. Castrol’s Index is working towards that and I think it’s valuable tool, as long as it continues to grow and evolve. As for the best right now, I’ll go with Messi, by a shade over Ronaldo. (Distincly unimaginative, I know…)

Raphael Honigstein:

I’m surprised Arjen Robben still features in the top ten. But there’s no argument: Lionel Messi is – easily – the best in the world right now.

Alan Spurgeon of Footy Boots:

We’re big subscribers to the Castrol Rankings, and have done several articles based on their astounding collection of data in the past! It’s unbelievable how much stuff they track from every game in Europe!

As for the best player; has anyone answered this question and not said Leo Messi? Every season people wonder if he’s going to go off the boil and have a bad few months; but it just doesn’t happen! And it’s not just showmanship or tricks, he’s neigh-on impossible to take the ball off of and his work off the ball is always making room for the rest of the Barca strike force.

Kieron O’Connor of Swiss Ramble:

As a numbers guy, I like the concept of the Castrol Football Rankings and admire the objectivity. What’s interesting to me is that the rankings don’t just highlight the obvious stars like Messi and Ronaldo (though they are indeed the top two), but they also feature lesser know talents like Lucas Barrios, the Dortmund striker, who is currently in sixth place. That said, it’s difficult to look beyond Messi as best footballer in the world, especially with El Clasico so fresh in the memory.

Paul Tomkins of The Tomkins Times:

I’m renowned for my love of stats, and I think anything that helps us better understand the game is to be welcomed.

While there are a number of outstanding players, for me, Lionel Messi is in a class of his own. Cristiano Ronaldo has an incredible goalscoring record, Xavi is a joy to watch, but Messi just has the something extra.

Adam Bader:

I love the concept a lot, but I don’t think it will put a stop to who is the best player debate. It will, however, show based on facts who is actually the best performing player. I’d love If FIFA considered Castrol’s system in their FIFA Player of the Year Award.

The best footballer in the world right now? It’s hard to answer and it’s “IMPOSSIBLE”, in my humble opinion, to compare between football players especially if they were ones like Ronaldo & Messi.

My answer is this; it is all down to preference. For me it’s Cristiano Ronaldo not because he plays for Real Madrid, but I like his style, I like the fact he is physically very strong, can score from free-kicks, headers..etc a “complete” player, but that doesn’t mean he is better than Messi. As I said it is all down to preference, I prefer Ronaldo over Messi the same way I prefer Maradona over Pele.

Comparing footballers will always be inaccurate especially if they were of the calibre of Messi, Ronaldo Pele and Maradona.

Jonathan Teague of Football Ramble:

The best footballer in the world at the moment is either Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez or Liam Lawrence. Take your pick.

Ibracadabra of Never Captain Nicky Butt:

I’ve certainly seen the rankings. I think, like any other ranking system, algorithm, or football debate there will always be two football fans with three opinions. At the moment, I agree that Messi and Ronaldo are the two best players in the world. It disappoints me a bit that I follow the Premier League so closely whilst two La Liga studs sit at the top of the world rankings. They are the best, little argument is needed there.

After those two, I think it’s wide open. I think the rankings are a bit off at the moment. Take Wolves’ goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann for example. No offense to the American goalkeeper, who is a fine shot blocker and wears the small patch of facial hair just below his lower lip and above his chin very well, but he’s not amongst the Top 30 players in the world. (Currently listed at 28 ahead of the likes of Fabregas, Berbatov, Ozil). Raise your hand if you think Hahnemann is better than even one of those three players. I doubt anyone just raised their hand.

Danny Last of European Football Weekends:

I have. Messi and Ronaldo, who knew? The rankings are good, the players are all great, obviously, but if I’m being honest, I prefer fans to players. The last player I really worshiped was Bobby Zamora at Brighton. I know it’s bad, but when I’m bouncing along the terraces at Spartak Trnava, I can’t help but enjoy the actions of the fans more than what’s actually occurring on the pitch. I don’t, in truth, watch that much Premier or Champions League football either. Give me the Conference South or the Slovak First Divsion any day of the week.

In Bed With Maradona:

Yes I have, and it is very impressive! Invaluable when I was looking at players earlier this year. Best player? Well Cristiano Ronaldo has stepped up again and I’m a huge admirer of Iniesta, Villa and Sneijder, but can’t look past Messi. It will only be when he retires that we will realise how special he is.

The Equaliser:

They seem to give an objective view of performance, which can only be a good thing. It’s hard to look beyond Lionel Messi as the world’s best player, but I think Xavi deserves to be put in the same bracket for his incredibly high standard of midfield play over the last eight to ten years. Both players are absolutely phenomenal.

Demetrie of SoccerClips:

I’ve seen it everywhere. I’m sure the rest of the team has as well. You can barely watch Press Pass or visit Soccernet without noticing the conspicuous red, white and green banners. It’s a tall order to do what they are doing, but I think their approach is definitely the most sound and objective method I’ve seen to date. Castrol ranks Messi above Ronaldo so clearly the system is working fine. Messi is the best by a country mile.

Iain Macintosh:

They make for fascinating reading and I certainly can’t disagree with the number one. There just isn’t another footballer out there like Lionel Messi. He’s an absolute genius.

Harry Hotspur:

That appears to have been hacked. Wayne Rooney? And no Gareth Bale? I’d update your AVG mate.

Denis Pshenov of FootyRoom:

Yes I’ve seen it on multiple websites before. They have Messi and Ronaldo in top 3. That sounds just about right to me. They couldn’t be too wrong, I’ve read they use latest technology to make the rankings. As for myself I think that Messi deserves to be recognized as the best footballer at the moment.

Three And In:

I think it’s a toss up between Lionel Messi, Samir Nasri and Christian Poulsen. Too close to call though.

Brian Phillips of Run of Play:

It’s funny to find myself in agreement with a company that makes industrial and automotive lubricants, but I can’t help but notice that Castrol and I share a strong admiration for Leo Messi. I am more likely to buy Castrol and Castrol-related products as a result of this realization.

Grant Wahl:

I haven’t spent much time with the rankings, but they look interesting. I’ll probably get criticized for sounding American here, but I think increased use of the right statistics will help soccer, not hurt it. Best in the world right now? Lionel Messi, an absolute joy to watch.

Mark of Fantasy Football Scout:

I’m certainly aware of them but to be honest they operate at a different level, my head lives in a more humble space where Kevin Davies’ key passes are more relevant than whether Messi is a better player than Ronaldo.

Player indexes have their value and they make a great platform for debate and discussion but I’ve pretty certain that if I started soaking up the stuff that the Castrol rankings supply, I’d literally burn out. These days I have to be pretty single minded; If the information isn’t likely to earn me or my visitors Fantasy points, then it gets ignored. I’m a little worried that one day I’ll start applying the same rule to conversations.

Oliver Irish of Who Ate All The Pies:

I just took a look. The absence of Xavi or Iniesta in the top 20 is plainly wrong and makes me question the criteria.

Sid Lowe:

I use a lot of statistics. Not so much as the basis of arguments as a way of supporting them. I love the way that can reinforce what you think or totally destroy what you imagined to be true. They have to be handled well, of course, but I like them a lot. And I agree with Castrol’s Ranking right now. There can be absolutely no doubt at all in my mind that Leo Messi is the best player in the world. Maybe even one of the best ever.

Andy Brassell:

I’m aware of it, but not really clear how it’s worked out. Personally I feel that individual awards are all well and good, but it’s a team game and that should be remembered rather than constantly singling out individuals. That said, I’ve just come back from Barcelona where I had the good fortune to see Lionel Messi doing his stuff against Real Sociedad, so it’s hard to look at anyone else for current best footballer. He is quite breathtaking.

Sean Ingle of Guardian:

You mean the same Castrol Football Rankings that are sponsoring these awards? Can I plead the Fifth? Actually, they’re not that bad but I have my doubts about how effectively you can boil down the dozens of actions a player might make over the course of year to a single number. But I agree at least with their No1: because Leo Messi is clearly the best player in the world right now.

James Maw of FourFourTwo:

Afraid not. As for the best player in the world, it’s hard to argue for anybody other than Lionel Messi right now, however hard Cristiano Ronaldo protests and Richard Keys prattles on about Gareth Bale…

Ives Galarcep:

Coming up with a thorough system to rank players is probably close to impossible but the Castrol Rankings do a good job of providing a measure of just what players bring to each game. For me, Lionel Messi is the best in the world, but Xavi is much closer than many give him credit for being.

101GreatGoals:

Like most football fans we enjoy statistics although ranking individual players is difficult for a team game. Castrol have it right about Lionel Messi, no doubt about that, but where is Gareth Bale in the top 40?

Christopher Harris of EPL Talk:

I’ve been a big fan of the Castrol rankings since Euro 2008 which they covered head to toe. The data they provide is really intriguing. As for the best footballer in the world, most people will probably say Lionel Messi. But being Welsh and a former winger myself, I have to vote for Tottenham wunderkind Gareth Bale.

Chris Toy of Studs Up:

I have, I’m a huge stat head so I was excited to see them come out. I hope they take it further and further and really make it a statto’s dream. You can’t really say the best player in the world right now is anyone other than Messi. Ronaldo scores as much, but seems to do it by taking about a million shots a match. Messi seems to move through a football match like Neo through the Matrix.

Football Shirt Culture:

Well I just took a look at it. I was looking for Wesley Sneijder, but found him on place 174, instead of the top 5. For me he’s one of the best players in the world right now. Too bad he didn’t bring home the World Cup this year.

Aaron Lavery of Umbro.com:

We have seen them, and they’re obviously a good thing for fans, coaches, managers and everyone involved in football. However, they can’t measure whether a player is going to get homesick, get caught cheating on his missus or demand a better contract, so they’re not perfect! It’s tough to pick the best footballer in the world, because it’s so subjective, my heart says that it’s Jon ‘The Beast’ Parkin at Preston North End, but my head says that it’s one of the Barca trio – Messi, Xavi or Iniesta.

Also see: 2010 Soccerlens Awards Interviews.

Topics: 2010 Soccerlens Awards, News


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