It’s official: Gary Neville, the Manchester United and England right back, is a better footballer than George Best ever was. Or Gianfranco Zola. Or Eric Cantona. Or Matt Le Tissier…
This startling revelation (as they’d say at The Sun) was made today in the, errr, Sun, where the Association of Football Statisticians’ list of the 100 all-time greatest footballers places Pele at No 1 and Neville at No86, but which finds no place for the likes of Cantona, Best or Zola.
The article in The Sun explains:
But they came up with a set of results that will baffle supporters across the country. The number crunchers decided Brazilian Pele was the best â€“ and most fans would agree â€“ but also claim:
Man United legends George Best, Denis Law and Eric Cantona donâ€™t make the top 100;
Ali Daeiâ€™s 109 goals in 149 games for Iran puts him at 26th â€“ ahead of Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Ronaldhino;
Argentine hero Diego Maradona is ranked only 6th.
The full list of the top 100 players is available online here. It shows how Franz Beckenbauer (9th) and Michel Platini (11th), both leading international football administrators, are ranked above Johan Cryuff (21st) and Ferenc Puskas (20th).
The list, included in the book Greatest Ever Footballers, gives points for goals scored by forwards and clean sheets for defenders. Players also get awarded marks for cups won, being captain and the level they played at.
Best misses out because he was never at a World Cup and had a short career, while Neville’s longevity and regular caps for England saw him score points with the statisticians.