As the much anticipated list of names of top players rolled out in January, many expected the usual share of stars from arguably the best football league in the world - the Premier League.

However, as the FIFA World XI was unveiled, there was undoubtedly a great level of disappointment amongst football fans especially the ones who support teams in England's top-flight.

There was not a single representative from the Premier League, and furthermore, every player came from Spain's Primera Liga. Except for Atletico Madrid's Columbian striker Radamel Falcao, the remaining players either play for FC Barcelona or their fierce rivals, Real Madrid.

The likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona do boast world class players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi, and neither would fail to force their way into any starting 11 in the world.

What most football fans would gather from the discloser of this starting 11 is that the Premier League, with a decent number of representatives every year prior to this year (with the exception of 2010), is slowly being drained of prodigious talent.

Despite Manchester City's final day heroics to clinch the Premier League title last season, their inspirational Vincent Kompany narrowly missed out, losing his spot to Barcelona's centre half Gerard Pique.

Surely, the Premier League has experienced a slight decline in talent and would be unable to compare with the illustrious talents in Spain, with many of them World Cup and European Cups winners.

The Ballon d'Or used to be a dogfight between talents representing both the Spanish and English leagues, but today, and it has been for the last three years, a head-on challenge between Ronaldo and Messi for the coveted trophy.

What we must ask ourselves, however, is whether having great players with tremendous potential, and skills, means that the league would be much more exciting and the best in the world. This would depend heavily on the definition of best.

'Best' in the eyes of many football fans, would mean a domestic league laden with thrill and excitement and heart-pumping drama. Arguably, La Liga has more talent than the Premier League, however, this talent is only concentrated on the hands of a few, namely Barcelona and Real Madrid. This has led to a two-horse race for the Spanish title while they leave the other teams in the dust.

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simone branded that La Liga is boring after his side's 4-1 loss to Barcelona despite a great display by Los Rojiblancos. It is easy to see the frustration of many teams in La Liga as they strive to be the best.

Many expect Real Madrid and Barcelona to win every game, and only anticipate El Clasico in the Spanish football calendar every year. Now, with Barcelona already 18 points adrift of Real Madrid, it would not be difficult to predict the champions this year.

The Premier League on the other hand, provides the necessary ingredients to create a football drama. The main reason could be that talent in the Premier League is widely spread amongst all the teams.

Compared to the league a few seasons back, where a 'famous four' - Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United - was established, the deemed weaker oppositions have strengthened greatly, and it's almost difficult to predict results for the matches.

Take the shock 1-0 losses of Manchester United and Chelsea to Norwich City and Queens Park Rangers. Nobody saw these results on the cards and hardly anyone gave these teams a fighting chance before the match.

Then, there are matches with goals galore. A record 47 goals in nine games over one week was recorded at the end of last year in the Premier League. The fight for the title is split between the two Manchester teams and Chelsea, the fight for fourth spot and race to avoid relegation has not failed in delivering the twists and turns, as well as climaxes and downfalls.

The English Premier League may not be the league showcasing the best football. Perhaps switching channels to watch Barcelona play their tiki taka, or Real Madrid with their immense attacking strength would be a good option. However, in terms of excitement and the ability to make fans laugh, cheer and cry all at the same time, the Premier League is still undoubtedly, the league to be watched, and it will remain as the best league in the world.
 



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