Monday, January 12, 2015


In the Times yesterday it mentioned that Manuel Neuer, goalkeeper for Bayern Munich and Germany, might snake the FIFA Ballon d'Or award for the best soccer player in the world in 2014.  He would be the first goalie to win in over 20 years.

Immediately my mind went "well, if he's the best goalkeeper of all time, why shouldn't he?"  And where, gentle reader, did I get the idea that he was the best goalie of all time?  Well, they said it on TV during the World Cup, now didn't they?  And once  they had said it, I watched him and thought:  "well dag, he is rather good, sure enough."

Now, I watch a lot of soccer.  Not as much as many people in the world, but I like to.  And I try to be as discerning a judge as possible.  Those of you who read my blog are well aware of how hard I try, how important to my ego it is for me to try to be well-informed and impartial evaluator of just about whatever comes in front of me.  But, honestly, it's hard to evaluate this kind of stuff.  Sure, Neuer has won a lot, but he's been on great teams, has had great defensive teams in front of him.  Sure, he makes great saves, but so do other keepers. I think objectively I can accept that he is exceptionally effective coming out of his box and squelching opportunities proactively. But "best of all time?"  Honestly, what the hell do I know?

But all TV had to do was plant that seed in the back of my mind and I'm half ready to accept it. Therefore, the Ballon d'Or seems only meet and right.

The bigger point is that it's deucedly hard to make these kind of decisions, to decide what is the absolute right thing.  And that the easiest way to do so is to accept expert testimony at face value. For most domains in life, thankfully, we don't have to make an absolute right decision, we just have to make one that's good enough and move on.

Same with the Ballon d'Or.  Messi and Christiano Ronaldo have split it between the two of them for the last 6 or 7 years.  I say give it to Neuer.  Give it to a keeper.  Share the wealth, and keep on going.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...