These are not the five best players in the world, or even the players who performed the best in the last 28 to 31 days. These are the players who improved themselves in terms of perception in the public eye, who made their managers smile, or whose legacy got a nice polish, on the field or off the field, spiritually, ecumenically, grammatically, whatever.
This week, whereas we’d normally rank players, we’re going to rank European teams–we’ll use the same criteria, however.
1. Bayern Munich — Dortmund may be on track to win the Bundesliga this year, but Bayern have demonstrated higher aspirations. Coming off an impressive two-leg victory over who many believed to be the second-best team in the world, there are few doubters (including us) left.
2. Chelsea — Without beating Barcelona, Chelsea might not be in the top five teams at all. After a dreadful league campaign (they might not even finish in the top four), the Champions League was all they had left. Boy, did Drogba and co. make the best of it.
3. Real Madrid — Alright, well, yet again Madrid fail to reach the UCL Final. That said, they beat Barcelona in their most recent league match-up to secure the La Liga crown. Compared to the other league champions-elect, Madrid have had by far the most impressive season. We hope Mourinho stays.
4. Borussia Dortmund — How did this squad not make it further in the Euros? With the amount of youth and talent running around the pitch, provided they keep it, Dortmund will remain a force to be reckoned with in future years.
5. Montpellier — Hell, they were promoted three years ago, and now they’re top of Ligue 1 with the championship all but in hand! Forget the fact I spent seven months there and watched several matches. That’s damn impressive.
Bonus Rankings: TV Shows
1. Game of Thrones– Absolutely riveting, whether you are fans of the book series or not. The acting is surprisingly good, the direction and cinematography spot on… We hope the fun continues for many more years.
2. Mad Men — Don, Peggy, Pete, Roger, and crew are back at it for another round. Matthew Weiner doesn’t seem to lack for the ability to create nuanced plot lines in the purpose of subtly elevating the larger themes of life.
3. Girls — Lena Dunham is the most talented 25 year old in show business.Girls is closer to reality than your average run-of-the-mill reality TV show, and should be at the forefront of your Tivo queue. Who knew being a hipster in New York could be so complicated?
4. Community — If for no other reason, Community makes the list for their pitch perfect parody of the Law and Order franchise a few weeks back. That, on the back of a already very strong season. Come on NBC! Man up and renew it! #sixseasonsandamovie
5. Parks and Recreation — Although the show isn’t as clever as 30 Rock, the wholesome personality of Leslie Knope, along with a very ably utilized cast of surrounding characters (Chris Pratt has killed this season), gives it the nod onto the last place on the list.