FIFA.com's two Have Your Say topics from last week caused a firestorm of debate and opinion. The first topic revolved around who users consider the best player from the Asian Zone, and the second asked readers to chime in on which club they thought would win the Copa Libertadores 2008.
The Asian Zone (AFC) incorporates no less than 43 countries from the largely Arab Middle East to the islands and peninsulas of East Asia. With all of that variety it really is no surprise that the responses seemed to pour in from every corner of the confederation.
Supercheeses from Australia saw the need to be tested in the cauldron of Europe as crucial to the forging of Asia's top player. "I don't think you can call a player the best in Asia unless they have proven themselves in Europe, in the tough leagues against the best players. Therefore, I don't think you can go past Tim Cahill (Australia), Park Ji-sung (Korea Republic) or Marco Bresciano (Australia) as being the best in Asia."
From further north, Iranian fans are sure their AFC Asian Player of the Year from 2003 and current Eintracht Frankfurt star is the elite among the elite. "Surely the best player is Mehdi Mahdavikia. Iranian football players have been the best at least in Asia for decades. It's unquestionable," replied Iranian DR.MEHRDAD, one of many fans of Mahdavikia among the week's respondents.
Iraq are the reigning Asian champions and, as such, the
country's players were no surprises among the responses.
"Younis Mahmoud deserves to be called AFC's best player
because he led the Iraqi team to the final and won the Asian Cup
iraqi4ever from the United Arab Emirates.
Eye on South America
While still talking about the best in a region, the second topic of the week shifted from individuals to clubs and from Asia to South America - and who will win the Copa Libertadores 2008?
The usual suspects from Argentina and Brazil were represented heavily among the responders, but so too were a good number of Mexican sides, especially Guadalajara and America, who have been much improved in recent instalments of South America's top club competition.
Most of the pro-Mexico votes came predictably from Mexico, but one fan flew the flag from down in Argentina. "Let's face it, the Mexican teams are way better than the South American teams now," said messibarce15. "They have taken apart South American teams in the past and they will do it all over again this year."
More of the votes from Argentina came in equal parts for Boca Juniors and River Plate, the two Buenos Aires giants. Argentina2 wrote: "River Plate is going to take it all...Ortega and Falcao will lead the way and lead us to the cup."
On the other side of the city, LeoMessi19 said: "No one has a chance against Boca. We are the best and will at least reach the final."
And logically, Brazil had the final world on the debate with the fans from football's spiritual home having their say. Slaurindo wrote: "Of course it will be the great Sao Paulo FC! We will beat our country rivals Flamengo in the semi-final and then, in the greatest final of all time, we will destroy Boca Juniors and Juan Roman Riquelme in the great Morumbi stadium and in the Bombonera! Can't wait for it!"
FIFA.com would like to say a big thank you to everyone who contributed to making these debates so intriguing.