Oct 14, 2007

The World’s Top 25 Clubs, Oct. 15 2007 Edition

With European clubs on hiatus this week, I considered skipping this edition of the Top 25 altogether. Then I realized that would kind of defeat the purpose of the exercise, which is to have something comparable to the weekly U.S. college football rankings. As you know if you’re in the U.S. and follow college football (that’s American football), the rankings are released every week regardless of whether a few teams are idle. For us, it just so happens that “a few teams” correspond to every one of last week’s top 16 (to see those rankings go here). But who’s to say national team play couldn’t affect these listings? After all, it's many of the same players and their performance can cast their club’s record in a different light. Especially if they got injured and are going to miss time with their club. Besides, Latin American and Mexican teams were active and could (and in one case did) move up. Read on.

(1) Barcelona. Idle.
2. (2) Arsenal. Idle.
3. (3) Bayern Munich. Idle.
4. (4) Inter Milan. Idle.
5. (5) Real Madrid. Idle.
6. (6) Manchester United. Idle.
7. (7) FC Porto. Idle.
8. (8) Celtic Glasgow. Idle.
9. (9) Juventus. Idle.
10. (10) Manchester City. Idle.
11. (11) Chelsea. Idle.
12. (12) Olympiakos. Idle.

13. (17) Chivas de Guadelajara. Top non-European team for the second week running. Cemented their position atop Group 3 in the Mexican Apertura by beating up on Necaxa over the weekend, but the bigger achievement was a scoreless draw at Argentina’s Arsenal in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana quarterfinals.

14. (13) PSV Eindhoven. Idle.
15. (14) Liverpool. Idle but Torres’ injury will hurt them. Update: Torres now says he expects to play in the Merseyside derby next weekend.
16. (15) Villareal. Idle.
17. (16) Shakhtar Donetsk. Idle.
18. (18) Rangers. Idle.
19. (20) Valencia. Idle.
20. (21) AS Nancy. Idle.
21. (23) Dynamo Zagreb. Idle.

22. (19) Sao Paulo. Lost at home to Colombia’s Millionarios in their first Copa Sudamericana match, then drew at Fluminense in Brazilian league action. The latter game actually salvaged their rankings because the Rio de Janeiro side (in sixth place) needed the victory worse than Sao Paolo did. Sao Paolo leads the league by a comfortable 11 point margin with seven games remaining.

23. (23) Olympique Lyon. Idle.

24. (-) Club America. They’re back after a one week absence by virtue of an impressive 2-0 win over Brazil’s Vasco da Gama in the Sudamericana. Would have probably moved up more had they won their Mexican league game this weekend, but managed only a scoreless draw against Veracruz.

25. (-) Steaua Bucharest. I put them here for two reasons: 1) I couldn’t find anybody worthy from Mexico or South America and 2) It was their defender, Dorin Goian, who scored the goal that won the Romanian national team’s clash against Holland Saturday. It also made Goian a national hero in Romania, whose national team features three Steaua players (midfielders Banel Nicolita and Ovidiu Pedre are the others) which is more representatives than from any other club.

Dropping out: Santos (22), Atlante (25).


  1. What i hate about these listings is that they hardly take into consideration fútbol (south american soccer). If one were to read the soccer history books, you can see that the majority of international championships wether it be clubs or national team level correspond to south american teams. if we look at recent club level tournies, you see teams like Boca Jrs and Sao Paulo beating massive Euro teams like AC Milan or Barça.
    In your list, you have Olimpiakos and Chivas, two teams that have yet to win any international level tournament... so how is it that they rank so high?
    This ranking is like the bizarre FIFA national teams ranking; with soccer being the World's most important sport, you are telling me that we can't find a better solution to the ranking problems?!
    (Sorry I picked your blog Mr. Baker, but I am just trying to get some controversy rolling ;-) ).

  2. It's funny because I actually tried to make my list LESS Euro-centric, but in the process I seem to have pissed off both Euro supporters and those in LatAm (but no offense taken either way). I don't have any doubt that many of the best players ply their trade for European clubs, but Mexican and South American teams (and others) can and do beat them as you point out. I admit that I need to educate myself more to the latter teams. Despite being in the same hemisphere (and time zone) I am still pretty ignorant, I'm afraid. (But I'm working on it!) I should also state that this is not a ranking of the clubs' legacies but of their current form.

  3. i agree you ranking should not be legacy based, hence the reason why i talked about recent international tournaments.
    maybe you can divy up the list into two and do one Euro and the other Latin. however your latin should not have to many mexican teams however becuase they have yet to make an impact in the Libertadores or Sudamericana...no matter if Hugo Sanchez thinks that mexican soccer is just below Argentine and Bralizian (in my opinion the guy is crazyyy).

  4. Aren't Pachuca the current Copa Sudamericana champions? Mexican teams have only been playing in the Libertadores since 2004.

  5. Right and the Copa Lib holders, Boca Juniors, have been in crappy form lately, for example losing to River and being ousted in the Copa Sudamericana, which is why they have yet to make this list. We'll see how the rest of that tournament plays out. It will definitely impact these rankings.

  6. pachuca are the current holders, i stand corrected, they are the first mexican club to win an international tournament. however my point is that GolTV and others pay too much attention to the Mexican league/s and very little to such strong leagues as Argentina or Brazil. Paraguay, Chile, Columbia, Uruguay, Chile... strong countries but not breaking into the top 25?

  7. I looked into clubs from those countries' leagues. I came close to adding Defensor Sporting from Uruguay, who are alive in the Copa Sudamericana and sit second in the domestic league, but I think Steaua Bucharest are better. I would have added Colombia's Millionarios (who beat #23 Sao Paolo in CS action) but they're in horrible form in the Colombian league. Like 12th or something. Argentina's Independiente made the inaugural version of the list but haven't done much since. Pound-for-pound, I do think the Mexican league has more depth than just about any other in the hemisphere. That said, they probably do get a disproportionate amount of coverage from U.S. TV, but that is probably due to the large target audience (i.e. first-generation Mexicans) in the country.