In the wake of England's dominance of the UEFA Champions League semifinals and then rumors linking Valencia's David Villa and Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o with moves to the Premiership, Phil Ball, Soccernet's Spain columnist, wonders about the criteria for selecting a "best league in the world." He claims it is "equally significant," for example, that Spain features three teams in the last four of the UEFA Cup, a tournament that is "picking up in both quality and spectacle."
While that is certainly a dubious claim (the UEFA Cup is still the stepchild of European soccer tournaments despite the appearance of Sevilla this year), it would also be wrong to say England is the best simply because the EPL has three clubs in the CL semifinals. Remember in 2004 when FC Porto beat AS Monaco in the final? Did anyone say the French and Portuguese leagues were the strongest in the world-or that either of those teams were the best in the world, for that matter? Also, don't forget that many a European powerhouse-namely Barcelona, Inter Milan and Real Madrid-bowed out of this year's tournament thanks to the controversial away goals rule.