Take a look at the players in the Premier League and exclude those that might be joining the English elite.
When you look closely at which players ply their trade in our top league, which is noted around the world and has the most exposure and financial clout, you may be surprised to note that actual world class players are thin on the ground.
When FIFA announced the FIFPro XI of the year for 2015, the line-up was dominated by players from La Liga.
Of the 11 players named at the Ballon d’Or ceremony, eight came from the Spanish top flight, with four from Barcelona and four for Real Madrid.
There were no Premier League players included, but there was one representative each from Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga.
Paul Pogba was named and it is entirely possible that he could join Manchester United, but it says a tremendous amount that not one player from our league was mentioned.
We think that the likes of De Bruyne, Aguero, Ibrahimovic, Martial, Sanchez, Ozil, Payet and Hazard are all world class, but simply they are not.
They are very good players. Not greats. Great is a word used all too often to describe players now, but the greats are still head and shoulders above most today.
Maradonna, Di Stefano, Moore, Beckenbauer, Pele, Cruyff – are greats.
Ronaldo and Messi stand to become greats in the future, but no one else can touch the mercurial talents that again play elsewhere.
What makes a player great? Understanding that gives you the reason why others are very good.
Inspirational, leaders, unique, wisdom, physique, presence, style, creativeness, lethal, unpredictable, mesmerising and so the superlatives go on that mark a true great from the mediocrity.
Who in our Premier League has attributes such as those mentioned and shine out like a beacon above all others?
Players will have good games and excel. Players will have some of those skills, but not consistently. The players that our clubs race to buy and throw millions at are struggling to be nominated in the world XI and our league is meant to be the best. But we can’t entice any one of the very best to play here.
It shouldn’t be seen as a negative – it’s just what it is, a fact of life.
Because when you look at the 2016 European Championship select XI, there were four Portuguese players, three from Germany, two each from France and Wales and, not surprisingly, none from England.
The team was selected by UEFA’s 13-strong panel of technical observers, led by UEFA chief technical officer Ioan Lupescu and included Sir Alex Ferguson, Alain Giresse, David Moyes, Packie Bonner, Mixu Paatelainen among others.
How many play in the Premier League? Three. Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey and Dimitri Payet. In terms of Europe, there is hope based on one tournament, but over a season, no one was picked for a world X1.
Lastly, when you consider the UEFA team of the year for 2015, no one from the Premier League made the cut. Bar two players from the Bundesliga and one from Serie A, the other eight were from Spanish clubs.
So for all the money the Premier League clubs spend, we only buy very good players, but not greats.
Those are few and far between and virtually priceless.