The World Cup is dead! Long live the Champions League!

Over the years the World Cup has been the King of competitions in world football. A tournament like no other where world stars congregate on a global stage. Pele, Maradona, Terry Butcher, Romario, Zidane, Beckenbauer…the list is endless, as are the goals and highlights. But there is a new king about to be crowned after this seasons events, this King is not a show that only lasts a month in the summer, this king gives more value and has the biggest collection of riches anywhere in the world…arise King Champions League.

Week in, week out, we are treated to a feast of football from the world’s finest players. Premier League sides come up against the cream of La Liga, top Serie A sides battle it out with the best of the Bundesliga, Ligue 1 pit their wits against the strongest in Liga Sagres (Portugal). The best teams in the world meet to battle it out to be the number one in Europe aka the world! Ok we may not have Brazilian and Argentinean teams in the mix, but their best players are in Europe anyway.

I feel sorry for what the World Cup has become and more widely the decline of international football in general. It is a great honour to represent your country, in days past the honour of this would be served on a battlefield where you fight for your life and give everything you have for King and country. Players can’t even sing their national anthems now, they don’t even know the words, they would rather duck out of a friendly for their country as it carries the risk of injury and they would not want to miss important games for their domestic club.

The World Cup and Champions League are easily comparable and surprisingly similar. There are always a couple teams that are underdogs but always pull off a shock result in th groups, there are always some surprise packages that qualify like Schalke and Shakhtar Donesk in this years Champions League. But once you are out of the group stages you come down to the best of the best.

But for me the key point is that the best players, regardless of nationality, will play in the Champions League. It is now a crime that awful football nations qualify for the World Cup, devaluing the tournament, whereas decent football nations such as Wales (!) cannot qualify due to the strength of the competition. Players like Giggs and Bale are highly unlikely to ever play at a World Cup, but the Champions League does not discriminate against such talent.

The World Cup is dead.

I have been home and away in the Champions League this year and it has been one of the highlights of my football fan career. Seeing how supporters from other countries and cultures support their teams, feeling the build up before the game, enjoying the atmosphere from both sides, looking forward to a game that you know is a huge spectacle that millions around the world will watch and that the fans of those teams would do anything to be at. The Champions League has organically outgrown what used to be the biggest tournament on earth.

Maybe this is because I am English and the performance of our national team is generally cack, but I think in general the loyalty people feel to our country is dying out. On the eve of a royal wedding, ask men under the age of 40 if they are looking forward to the royal wedding/even bothering to watch and you will get a similar response. Patriotism towards our country is dying like the old school values and religion that used to be the fabric that knitted this country together. The new religion and allegiance is to club not country.

This season we have seen some outstanding games in the Champions League, games that the neutral can enjoy as much as the fans involved; this is what the Champions League is about. The Manchester United v Schalke game was good to watch and although we had a thoroughly disappointing Champions League El Clasico (El Crapico) at least Messi lit up the show and it was another controversial instalment to the ultimate man soap opera that is Champions League football.

Unlike Eastenders and Corrie it contains the best characters in the world and is massively more interesting, this is what grips us football fans. Managers like Ferguson, Redknapp and Mourinho. Players like Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney, Sneijder and Drogba. I could go on but both players and managers have something to say, whether that is their feet doing the talking or their mouths, the script is unpredictable. Pre-match, post-match, on camera or on twitter, the build up, hype and reaction is like no other, especially this season.

The money in domestic league football has grown to such a level it has allowed Europe to attract the best talent worldwide that we can see play week in week out. The demise of the World Cup is in part due to the standard of football we get to enjoy through competitions like the Champions League. This is not just down to the quality of the players on show, it is more than that.

It is the passion of the fans whose teams are involved, it is the majesty of football that you can tune in to every week even if you are a neutral, it is about teams recruiting the best players with the draw of playing in the Champions League. There are no weak links, no dodgy full backs or Emile Heskey’s that have to play to make up the numbers. The bottom line for me is the World Cup is just boring, whereas the Champions League is the pinnicle of modern day football excitement. I am sorry World Cup but you are dead to me…long live the Champions League!

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  1. Teddy says:

    World Cup is good for something to do in the summer and that’s about it! Love Champ league – great weekly excuse to escape the mrs

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