There's been but one issue discussed around water coolers, on radio phone-ins and on internet messageboards worldwide this week - the 2008 incarnation of FourFourTwoÃ¢ÂÂs Top 100 Players in the World.
As weÃ¢ÂÂre sure many of you will be aware, our December issue hit newsagents' shelves like Steven Gerrard hitting the deck in the box on Wednesday Ã¢ÂÂ and inside was the full run down of which world stars finished where in the race for world footballÃ¢ÂÂs most prestigious individual award... handed out by a magazine... published in the UK.
As ever with a list of this kind, there will be arguments. In a week when democracy has come to the fore (yes, another oblique US election reference already), it seems only fitting to compare the top 100, complied by our global team of experts, to dear old TalentSpotter, the internetÃ¢ÂÂs most addictive non-porn, non-Facebookish website, rather democratically compiled using the ratings given by our delightful band of Spotters.
Kaka went to great lengths to win something this week
Obviously if you pop-pickers want the full chart run down, youÃ¢ÂÂll have to get off your backside and buy the mag (hey, weÃ¢ÂÂve got to keep ourselves in sausage rolls and Sugar Puffs somehow, and thatÃ¢ÂÂs honestly not some form of uber-trendy urban drug lingo), but hereÃ¢ÂÂs a few examples of why the published list is wrong... at least according to TalentSpotter.
As you may already be aware, the boy Ronaldo (him with the hair and the pout, not him with the beer gut and the "lady"-friends) came top of the pile; but was that echoed on TalentSpotter? Well no, actually. Cristiano is, at the time of writing, ranked 6th Ã¢ÂÂ and thatÃ¢ÂÂs just up against players in the UK.
If our Spotters had their way, John Terry, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Deco and, erm, Pedro Mendes would all have featured higher in the list than the Portuguese wing wizard, with the England skipper taking the crown as No.1. There was still space in the top 100 for the aforementioned England trio and Portuguese midfield dynamo (Deco, not Mendes, criminally), but only Gerrard scraped into the top 10.
In all, seven Premier League clubs have players in the top 100, but despite their early season form, there is no place for any Aston Villa, or indeed Hull City players (Geovanni is currently sat in TalentSpotter's top 30 with a rating of 7.6). There is, however, a Portsmouth player in the top 100, although itÃ¢ÂÂs not England striker Jermain Defoe, who with a rating of 7.8 is currently PompeyÃ¢ÂÂs highest rated player on TalentSpotter.
Only one player from the SPL was deemed to have the quality to make the top 100. Again, we donÃ¢ÂÂt want to give too much away, but the madcap Pope T-shirt wearing Polish goalkeeper in question is, in fact, currently deemed only the third best player north of the border by our Spotters, behind Celtic forward Scott McDonald and James Fowler of Kilmarnock.
Simon Cox: better than Adebayor. So now you know...
Although it may be too late for you to affect the official Top 100 (and indeed vote in that election thingy), that's not the case on TalentSpotter. So if you disagree that Borja Valero is better than Gareth Barry, that SwindonÃ¢ÂÂs Simon Cox is better than that Adebayor chap, or just want to rate your own team's squad, then sign up and get rating!