How do you define world class?
Stop for a moment, take a breath, and think about it.
Chances are, you'll digest that question differently to your mate who follows a club you'd rather see relegated. Your answer won't match a supporter who lives in another country and only watches their local league. You'll have an alternative opinion to someone of a generation you didn't grow up in. They're not the only factors either - there's a ton of variables.
Of course, the prospect of debate and alternative perspectives on the same player, moment or match is part of what makes football so special. It's how companies such as ours have grown up and established ourselves, and it's still what sits at the core of 90min going in to 2021. But it doesn't help the conversation at hand.
We wanted to dig in to what world class actually means, and how you measure it.
Our UK team have put their heads together behind the scenes over the last few weeks to do exactly that, and what you'll see over the next five weeks is a cross-platform content series which tells you the results - giving you something to really sink your teeth into over the festive period.
Welcome to World Class: How it Will Work
A world class footballer will be defined as one of the top five players in the world in a certain position.
We believe every top player in the game can fit the profile for one of ten roles:
- Right Back
- Centre Back
- Left Back
- Defensive Midfield
- Central Midfield
- Attacking Midfield
- Right Forward
- Left Forward
We'll announce shortlists of 10 to 15 players for each position who we feel either need to be in, or are relevant to, the world class conversation. We'll define the on-pitch responsibilities and habits which have seen the player in question nominated for that position.
Shortlists will be followed by daily announcements of the players we believe to be world class, with two confirmed per weekday. It's a place we've reached after canvassing the opinions of our 90min editorial and writing team, plus some familiar guests.
How are we reaching these conclusions, I hear you ask? Well, we've come up with a scoring metric for ten subcategories which we feel are essential when deciding what makes a player world class. They break down to the following:
- Key Statistics (by position)
- Fitness, Availability & Impact of Absence
- Natural Talent, Peak Potential & Ability
- Strength of League & Opposition
- Trophies & Awards - Team & Personal
- Form Over the Last Year
- Consistency Over Three Years
- Continental Record
- Clutch Moments
Each category will be graded internally for every player, though we'll put some more juice behind the last year (2020 on the whole) to ensure we give the best players in the world at present the fairest chance of making it. We want you to engage in the conversation, tell us we're spot on, or argue that we're wrong with your own collection of cold, hard facts.
Where Can I Follow?
The series starts Tuesday December 1, and will run on our website every weekday for five weeks - ending on Friday January 8. The conversation will also dominate our social channels, so prepare to have your say.
Some favourite faces, if you're familiar with the 90min YouTube channel, will also be discussing the shortlists and who should make it into the final fives every Tuesday and Wednesday over that period. And if you haven't joined the party already, get involved and hit the subscribe button - we're really close to 100,000 subs, so help us out.
Little more to say, then, outside of a term you'll be hearing a lot of over the next few weeks.
Welcome to World Class.