Vincenzo Nibali looks to properly celebrate his big win

Vincenzo Nibali looks to properly celebrate his big win

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Lebron James announced his jersey number via Twitter & Instagram

Lebron James announced his jersey number via Twitter & Instagram

Lebron James sent out > a cryptic Tweet and Instagram photo mash-up today to announce that he was returning to the number 23 jersey.

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Drake joins Blue Jays Bautista goes to Grammys

Drake joins Blue Jays Bautista goes to Grammys

Do these two “Torontonians” really look that much alike?

I was sitting in a bar with my wife last night (I’d had a few) when a guy screamed “Bautista!!!” I looked up to see a Blue Jay rounding the bases, clearly having just hit a home run. The camera close-up revealed that it was indeed Jose Bautista who’d hit it. Which was great – always happy to see a Toronto team do well (after many, many dark years here). But while others were revelling in the home run I was suddenly struck by how much Bautista looked like Drake and said so to my wife. She agreed. So it wasn’t my imagination.

And not only did my wife agree but I found that this was not a new idea. Others have also thought that Drake “totally looks like” Bautista (and vice-versa).

And so I thought I’d do this swap. I think they both look good in their new roles though the more I look at them the less I think they look alike.

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Gareth Bale plays in the Best League in the World

Gareth Bale plays in the Best League in the World

Here we go again. We’ve been down this road before: What is the best league in the world?

“The Premier League!” shouts the English speaking world.

However one English speaker does not join in the shouting. His name is Gareth Bale and he is in the news today for a rather contrary shout:

“The Spanish League is the most exciting. The world’s top players play there. Barcelona or Real Madrid are always there near the Champions League final or winning it. The Premier League is a great league but we are attracting the best players to La Liga. It is great to be involved in it.” (ESPN)

Interesting to hear from someone who has played in both leagues. Interesting to hear from an “English man”.

And we have to agree.

Just take one look at our Best Player in the World Poll for the coming season:

As you can see eight out of the eleven players listed play in La Liga, while the other three play in the Bundesliga. There are no Premier League players in our Best XI. Not one.

Now does that mean that the Premier League cannot be the best league in the world? We’re not prepared to say that here in this space. What we are at the very least prepared to say is that La Liga has the best players in the world, followed by the Bundesliga. We are going to agree with Bale on that point. But we are not going to debate best league rankings for that is a far more complex question.

However one thing you could do is debate with us the selection of the names in the poll. Please note though that we’ve left voters the room to manually add names and we will be editing the list of names during the season in order to get it right. And by then – who knows? – a BPL player could be in our poll. Now, if you insist on questioning our current poll, let us offer you our reasons for selecting our Best XI:

Cristiano – self-explanatory

Messi – self-explanatory

Suarez – best player in BPL last season, now a Barcelona player, perhaps great enough now to be counted in a top 3 with Messi and Cristiano

Robben – almost single-handedly led Netherlands to World Cup final with his drive, his moves and talent for “winning fouls”

Toni Kroos – Castrol-rated statistically best player at World Cup

James Rodriguez – 6 goals and Golden Boot at World Cup

Thomas Muller – 5 goals at World Cup

Neymar – 4 goals at World Cup

Gareth Bale – World ‘s most expensive player recovered from injuries to score 22 goals and the 2014 Champions League winner

Andres Iniesta – Short-listed for the 2012 Ballon d’Or and still in magical form

Franck Ribery – Short-listed for the 2013 Ballon d’Or

So there are our reasons in a nutshell. I wonder if Gareth would agree? I wonder if he’d perhaps slot a BPL player into that mix? Would you?

It’ll be interesting to see how this list will change over the season and of course how the respective players do in the voting.

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