Spanish giants FC Barcelona, have relinquished its hold on the No. 1 ranking as the world’s best soccer club or at least that’s what the International Federation of Football History and Statistics says.
In a story courtesy Greg Howard of Deadspin, the IFFHS has demoted the Catalan club, that held the No. 1 ranking for three of the last four years, to fifth and in an even more mind boggling decision, given European champions Chelsea the prestigious title.
FC Barcelona’s been struggling. In the past few weeks, they’ve lost to Real Madrid back-to-back, and haven’t beaten their rivals since last August. They were just defeated 2-0 in the Champions League away to an undermanned AC Milan side. They’ve only won one game in their last four. Messi is hurting, spiritually. And last week, Barça plummeted in the rankings from best club in the world all the way to fifth.
The rankings are based on a point system given to match victories over the course of the year, with different weight given to different competitions. A club in a top domestic league is awarded four points for a win, and two points for a draw. If a team wins in a major international club tournament like the Champions League or Copa Libertadores, they can be awarded as many as 14 points, with half as much for a draw.
That’s right; Chelsea, from England’s Premier League. Even with signings like Belgian wonderkid Eden Hazard, the club’s been floundering, domestically at least, for the better part of the last two years. The Blues have a tenuous hold on fourth place in the Premier League right now. Last year, they came in sixth. They were ousted in the group stages of the Champions League this season, and the only reason why they were able to compete in the first place is because Didier Drogba and Petr Cech led the club to an almost miraculous final victory against Bayern Munich on the heels of a semifinal win against, of course, FC Barcelona. They then went on to compete in Europe’s Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. They lost both, but they were there.
I can understand how Barcelona can lose the top spot, they’ve lost that aura of invincibility over the last year with a series of disappointing results, but to give it to Chelsea who have been in poor form over the past year although, they have won two tournament trophies, makes me question the validity of the IFFHS’ ranking system.