Every four years, the best men’s soccer teams in the world gather to face off against each other. It’s the World Cup, and you better believe it’s important! You can tell by the passion coming from the fans in the stadiums just how important success is to their nation, but there can be only one winner. All soccer fans tune in to see the World Cup because it’s basically a festival of soccer, but does that make it the best competition?
All of the best in one place
Most of the planet’s best players come together to fight it out at the World Cup and lift the famous trophy. Here is where Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, etc. come to show the world who’s the best. Historically these teams have the best players, so if they qualify for the tournament, they’re often seen as favorites.
It’s not just these countries that have amazing players though, and any nation with a few stars has a great chance of making it. Everyone wants to put on a show as they know the eyes of the world are watching, and no soccer tournament has drama like it. Careers can be made and lost on World Cup performances, and players like Pele and Maradona might never have been as celebrated without the iconic tournament.
There have been some unforgettable moments throughout the history of the World Cup, and that list keeps on growing the more tournaments we experience. The image of Diego Maradona sticking his hand above his head to slap the ball against England in 1986 will never be forgotten.
Another Maradona moment came in the same game as the ‘Hand of God’ incident, but this time, it was the ‘Goal of the Century.’ The Argentine ran through the entire English defense before scoring one of the most remarkable goals in history. Pele made his name as the youngest ever player to score in a final at the age of 17, and he’s also the only player to win the World Cup three times.
Who can forget Paul Gascoigne welling up with tears after he picked up a yellow card that meant he’d miss the final if England beat Germany? There is the drama of penalty shootouts, where hopes and dreams can be shattered by the kick of one ball. It’s the big moments in the World Cup that just can’t be replicated in any other tournament that make it such a special competition.
Taking what they can get
The World Cup is filled with stars, but each country can only choose players available from their nation. A country might have one of the best players in the world, but because the rest of the team don’t match their level, they won’t go far. Nations have to basically play the lottery when it comes to talent and hope that they develop enough players to make them competitive.
When you look at the best club teams in the world, they take players from all over the planet to make them stronger. Countries cannot do that, so it’s never going to be the best of the best against each other because some players miss out as their countries don’t even qualify.
Players like Gareth Bale, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, George Weah, and George Best never had a chance of the glory some of their club teammates did. If the World Cup is meant to be the best competition in the world, why do so many top stars never get their hands on the famous trophy?
Club versus country
For many people, if you want to see the best soccer in the world, you have to follow a club team. The World Cup is an amazing spectacle, but club soccer is where all of the stars play all of the time. It’s a bit like watching the NHL or NBA, then seeing those players compete at the Olympics.
We already know the best players are in the major leagues, and forcing some of them to play with sub-standard international players is going to make them look worse. The clubs around the world can afford to lure the best players to come and play on the same team.
Teams like the Galacticos of Real Madrid in the early 2000s brought players like Zidane, Figo, Ronaldo, and Roberto Carlos together to conquer the world. Countries can’t assemble their own version of The Avengers, unlike clubs.
Surely it’s the Champions League?
If the clubs are where the best players are at then the competition pitting the best teams against each other has to be the best. It doesn’t get much better than the UEFA Champions League, which has the best teams across Europe fighting for glory. The standard of games is so high in this competition that there’s not much doubt the Champions League is the best.
It’s where teams like Real Madrid can come up against equally talented opponents like Bayern Munich, Juventus, and Manchester City. If the World Cup is the greatest soccer spectacle on the planet, the Champions League is the fiercest competition.
The World Cup can’t really be beaten for drama, and a sense of history being made in the breathtaking moments. It might not actually be the most competitive tournament in soccer, but it will always remain a favorite among fans.