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The unpredictable and amazing IFFHS Rankings

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Unlike other sports, especially the most popular in the United States (American football, basketball, baseball and ice hockey), in football, statistics are something that has been growing recently, although without the importance or exhaustive detail of the others sports. This is due to the nature of football where there are qualities and movements that are difficult to quantify and present in a statistic.

However, there is the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) which is in charge of keeping the record of statistics and records in the world of football and based on them IFFHS publishes different types of rankings as the best club in the world or best player of the world, always based on what the statistics say and that, sometimes, yields some less curious results.

The IFFHS has just published the ranking of the best national football leagues in 2020 worldwide, which takes into account a series of data although it is mainly affected by the results of the clubs in international competitions. Italy’s Serie A took first place, leaping from position 4 in 2019, beating the English Premier League, which in 2020 obtained second place after leading the ranking in 2019. La Liga is in the position 4, having been the first of that ranking in the period 2011-2018, strongly helped by the performance of Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League and Sevilla FC in the UEFA Europa League. The third place goes to the Brazilian tournament, the Brasileirao, whose clubs are usually among the most prominent in international competitions in South America. It should be noted that the Paraguayan Honor Division (8th) surpasses the Argentine Super League (9th) or that the Ecuador Pro League is in position 10, above the Scottish Premiership (11th) or the Eredivisie (18th).

On the other hand, the IFFHS also published the ranking for the best club in the world that uses criteria of points for wins and draws at the national level and another point system at the international level. In the 2020 ranking, the winner was FC Bayern Munich, which is no surprise to anyone, but in the second place we find SE Palmeiras from Brazil, followed by Paris Saint Germain, Inter Milan and Manchester City FC.

Among the most interesting facts of this ranking is that AC Milan (6th) surpasses Juventus FC (7th), despite the fact the Turin club were Serie A champions, or that Sevilla FC is the best Spanish club (8th). Even Granada CF (19th) is ahead of Club Atlético de Madrid (23rd) and Real Madrid CF (25th), La Liga champions in the 2019-20 season. Of course, this is the product of Granada FC’s good season in the UEFA Europa League, although it is still striking. These rankings are an example of how difficult it is to represent the reality of football with a system of points and statistics.

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