Five Potential Players for Soccers Biggest Loser

The biggest loser of all time is the blog about five soccer stars who don’t perform as well as they should. It has a category: “Five Potential Players for Soccers Biggest Loser.” In the last month it has had more than 200,000 pageviews, which is just about the same number of people who read this essay. But it could have been much more popular if it had not been so picky.

For example, LaPelle was in the biggest loser, but he wasn’t even close to being the biggest loser; that honor went to Beckenbauer. The point is not to pick out the biggest loser (though I think it was a good idea). The point is that there are so many losers it would be misleading to pick any one of them.

So here is a strategy for picking the next big loser:

1. Pick any famous athlete, team or coach and find five players who did worse than they should have done. 2. Pick a less famous athlete, team or coach and find five players who did better than they should have done. 3. Combine 1 and 2 into a list of ten losers by career length and performance level who did worst than they should have done. 4. Find five more top-level

What I find fascinating about this is that it has nothing to do with the product. It’s a marketing campaign for a blog. Soccers Biggest Loser is a fan blog, and not only that: it’s written by fans. It’s the fans who found that the “five biggest losers” were the five most popular players in the league. The producers of Soccer Biggest Loser may have been surprised, then, but they weren’t shocked.

The product is nice enough, but it’s really just an excuse to promote fans’ own work. And in a way, that makes sense: as fans we love our favorite sports teams and we’re proud of them and we want to see them succeed. But it also makes sense because if you’re going to make something out of one fan’s passion for soccer, then why not do something even more fan-centric? Why not write about the five most successful soccer players in the world?

The objective of this blog is to pick the five players who play the worst in major tournaments. This is not a general soccer blog. It is a blog about players who are not performing well in big tournaments.

There are only five players on the field at any given time. I focus on these five and write about them, sometimes because their performances are impressive, sometimes because their performances are disappointing, but mostly because they do not measure up to their reputations or the expectations of their fans.

I cannot see what happens during games. I can only see the results of games, which tell me how well each player has played. And I look at results of tournaments, which tell me how well each player did against other players in major tournaments.

The first player on my list was Ronaldinho. When he was playing for Brazilian club Flamengo, he scored more goals than any other player in Brazil’s league, but he didn’t score as many in the national team games. He looked like a star player when he played for Brazil, but he didn’t really have a star performance for Brazil in the World Cup. His move to Spanish club Barcelona was touted by everyone as great for his career; it was even predicted that he would win the Ballon d’Or

We all know the story. The five players are the five best players on their team: Messi, Ronaldo, Messi, Messi, Ronaldo. But here is the difference: I am not going to say that this is a joke-filled blog. The goal of this blog is to discover the truth behind these claims. Now, you might be asking yourself: “Why would anyone want to know who doesn’t perform as well as he should?” Well, maybe because you like Messi and don’t want him to lose his place in that top five spot. Or maybe because you like Ronaldo and don’t want him to lose his spot at number one. Or maybe you have just read my last post about how Ronaldinho’s stats are inflated because he plays for Barcelona and so does his dad and so does his mom…

This is one blog I can’t recommend.

It’s not a blog about my views: it’s a blog that reports results from an academic survey, which means the conclusions are going to be based on what the researchers think. And they do recommend some fairly strange things.

They think Spain is better than Germany; France better than Spain; and England better than France. What does that make Belgium?

Perhaps the most common explanation of why soccer players fail to perform is that they are too good. This is, of course, absurd.

Goodness in soccer players is not a problem; it’s the solution. In other sports, what you want is to win; in soccer, you want to play well. Which means that if you become a professional soccer player, you will quickly learn that your job is not just to play well, but also to stay out of trouble. The way to do this is not by playing less soccer but by learning how to play it well.

We’ve been working on this list for years.

In the last two weeks we got a lot of help from the website FiveThirtyEight, which offers predictions on a range of things and lets you see how well they did versus other predictions. You can find Futility Index on their website.

FiveThirtyEight is based on a statistical model that takes into account the record and performance of each player in previous matches, as well as recent form and previous history. It also considers variables including age, position and nationality.

We’ll put that data on our website too.

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