A propos the Barca-versus-Arsenal argument: there are always certain factors that must be regarded as “given” in an argument.
It is a given that most football clubs try to have a solid defence, a solid midfield and a relatively credible or passable attack. The ones that shine are those that, given the basic good team elements, still possess one of the great names we know. The German World Cup team of 1974, for instance, with Gerd Muller as main striker, wasn’t overwhelmingly good. But Muller’s perfectly balanced physique, his strength and his opportunism won the World Cup for them.
Again, I had never regarded Leeds as anything much — until Tony Yeboah got there. They suddenly shone –on the backs of three or four amazing goals from Yeboah. The fans created a song for him! When he fell out with the manager and left, that was the beginning of the end. Today Leeds is almost always falling into the relegation zone somewhere in the lower leagues.
Barca has always been good, but their attractive football has been built around great players — most recently, Ronaldinho, who has now been eclipsed in their annals by Messi. That’s the way it is. Until a few months ago, the question was not which is the better team in Spain, Real or Barca, but who is the better player, Messi or Christiaan Ronaldo. Real also once made us ask: Roberto Carlos or Ronaldo? And, of course, we can never forget Rivaldo at his peak in Barca.
If we were sitting under a neem tree, with glasses going to and from our lips, we could debate this all day and late into the night! The Internet is a poor substitute!