The overwhelming passion for football of FIFA.com users was emphatically underlined this week as over 400 individual comments flooded into the site on the week's two 'Have Your Say' topics. Two of the longest-running and most popular football debates stirred the passions, with well over 17,000 words contributed by our users to champion their favourite coach and reminisce on the greatest game they have ever seen.
Such was the nature of these topics that neither produced a
clear 'winner', although the debate on the world's
greatest coach inevitably threw up some well-known managerial
giants. Sir Alex Ferguson, for example, proved a predictably
popular choice, with Ghana's
DONPLATO leading the tributes: "No doubt Sir Alex
Ferguson is the man. Simple: Any player the man buys walks straight
into the first team and plays as if they've been playing at the
club all their lives. Take for instance this season, Nani,
Anderson, Hargreaves and Tevez have all been very crucial to the
Ferguson's old adversary Arsene Wenger was arguably just as well-backed, with another of our African users, Nigeria's hp5500, among those keen to state the Arsenal boss's case. "Arsene Wenger's ability of developing talents and bring out something special out nothing with young players cannot be compared with any," he wrote. "He has proved himself again and again."
Club managers didn't monopolise support, however, with international coaches also receiving their fair share of votes from the FIFA.com users. Egypt's double CAF Africa Cup of Nations-winning coach Hassan Shehata earned richly-deserved praise for upsetting the continent's more star-studded teams for a second successive time, and the Egyptian was far from the only coach to feature. American user TheYankArmy wrote: "Being a United supporter, I love Sir Alex, but I'm always amazed at what Guus Hiddink does with teams. South Korea in 2002, Australia in 2006, now Russia in making it to the Euro over England. Guus works miracles and simply just knows how to win."
Another US user, RallyR32, put forward his own, equally worthy candidate: "Leo Beenhakker should definitely be considered - what he did with his clubs (esp. Madrid) and national clubs like Trinidad and Tobago and Poland is just amazing. Long live King Leo!"
'Tears of joy'
By its nature, 'What's the greatest game you have seen?' was a question that provoked more subjective answers, with many users opting for a match that, while not renowned around the world, held great personal significance.
One exiled Evertonian, for example, opted for a classic match from the 1960s. "Without a doubt, the 1966 F.A. Cup Final, Sheffield Wednesday vs. Everton," wrote USA-based scousecolin. "The comeback final of the century! Everton, down 2-0 in the 2nd half, fight back with two quick goals from Mike Treblecock, and steal the day (and the Cup!) with a superb solo effort by Dereck Temple just minutes away from final whistle! I was 12 years old. I was there. I cried my eyes out...tears of JOY!"
This proved typical of the emotion and excitement generated by this debate, with Malaysia's ZidaneKaka opting for another equally dramatic match involving Everton's Merseyside rivals.
"Definitly the 2005 Uefa Champions League final," wrote the Malaysian. "The match between Liverpool and Milan is uncomparable in history. Maradona himself said that not even the Brazil team at one moment which was supposedly the best in the world could have bounced back from 3-0 down. Liverpool lived the adidas motto 'Impossible is Nothing' by coming back."
Another of Liverpool's European finals, their 5-4 UEFA Cup win over Alaves in 2001, also featured, while there were plenty of users who opted for a continental showpiece that showcased the never-say-die spirit of another red-clad English club.
Yasnin29 of Australia led the tributes to Manchester United's dramatic, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer-inspired last-gasp win over Bayern Munich, writing: "The 1999 European Champions League final between Man United and Bayern. The Red Devils proved that football is simply not a 90 minute game!"
A big thank you to the hundreds of you who contributed your thoughts to this week's debates. Next up, North and Central America and the Caribbean take centre stage as we ask you to decide: who is CONCACAF's best player?