/ why are the best footballers so short..?

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no_more_scotch_eggs - on 11 Dec 2012
The messi thread got me thinking: if you take a list of great footballers, they wouldn't exactly be pushing for inclusion in a basketball team

Maradona, puskas, pele, gerd muller, jimmy Johnson, George best, romario, xavi, iniesta and messi are all the short side of 5'9"

Presumably its to do with a low centre of gravity allowing rapid shifts in direction and close control

Does the British tendency to focus on physical attributes like height and strength put us at a disadvantage in international competitions? Leading to our lumbering trolls in defence having rings run round them...?

(Especially in Scotland, where we aren't exactly a nation of giants...)

Cheers

Gregor
Steve John B - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:
>
> Does the British tendency to focus on physical attributes like height and strength put us at a disadvantage in international competitions?

yes
ripper - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs: hmmm. Cruyff? Van Basten? Zidane? Ibrahimovic? not exactly hobbits
Neil Williams - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

You might be right. From experience, being tall, however fit and strong a 6+ footer gets, they won't ever be as manoeuvrable or as stable as a 5-footer.

Neil
The Ivanator - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to ripper: (In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs) hmmm. Cruyff? Van Basten? Zidane? Ibrahimovic? not exactly hobbits

...not forgetting Cristiano Ronaldo, a well built 6 footer with close control and the ability to shift direction that compares with any of the players mentioned in the OP.
winhill - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to ripper:
> (In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs) hmmm. Cruyff? Van Basten? Zidane? Ibrahimovic? not exactly hobbits

Neither is Pele, at 5'8" average height for his time and quite possibly above average for his country?
Timmd on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ivanator:
> (In reply to ripper) (In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs) hmmm. Cruyff? Van Basten? Zidane? Ibrahimovic? not exactly hobbits
>
> ...not forgetting Cristiano Ronaldo, a well built 6 footer with close control and the ability to shift direction that compares with any of the players mentioned in the OP.

I wonder what the trend on average is?
Al Evans on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs: I actually met Maraddona once for an interview, I was quite shocked to find he was several inches shorter than me, and I'm only 5' 8", I would guess he was 5' 5" at most.
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Jiduvah - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Steve John B: I disagree. There is a nice blog on the bbc website which is about south american football.

At one point Brazils teams where small and not strong. After one world cup where they where dominated physically the Brazilian FA decided to focus on strength and size of the players.

If you look at the players they have now, they are generally a lot bigger and stronger than 10 -15 years ago. And they are still awesome.

Strength can only be a benefit. The problem in England is that skill is not encouraged or promoted. In brazil they play with a smaller ball from a young age which requires more control. Also footsal is popular which requires lots of skill. Plenty of the top players of recent years played footsal such as Robinio, Ronaldiniho and I would guess some others as well.

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