Jonah Freedman
Thursday May 14th, 2009

So the Mexican federation has pulled out of South American tournaments. That's a bummer for our purposes here in Rankingsville, because it's much easier to gauge the worthiness of Mexican clubs against the likes of strong South American teams in the Copas Libertadores and Sudamericana. It becomes much harder to justify putting a club, like Pachuca, on here when it's beating up on the Houston Dynamo and Joe Public FC instead of going toe-to-toe with Boca Juniors or Flamengo.

On the bright side, this change may inject some immediacy into our own CONCACAF Champions League ... if the confederation figures out a way to do it right. And only if -- and I'd wager this is by no means a final decision -- this Mexican standoff actually lasts.

In the meantime, we've got some Rankings to do. For more of my random thoughts -- footie, baseball and otherwise -- follow me on Twitter at jonahfreedman.

Note: All rankings, records and statistics are through May 13.

World Soccer Power Rankings
1FC Barcelona
Previously: 1
FC Barcelona
True, they probably owe quite a bit of thanks to referee Tom Ovrebo, but we may just have seen the greatest two-week stretch of Blaugrana's season: They found a way to win when it really counted. With its 25th Copa del Rey in the bag, Barça will press on a try to wrap up the Liga title this weekend, and will then look to Rome on May 27 to put the capper on not just an unprecedented treble, but on one of the more brilliant campaigns in all of Europe in recent years.
2Manchester United
Previously: 2
Manchester United
This may be redundant, but when it comes to consistency and top-down stability, you can't find a better club than Man. United. When the Red Devils surely clinch their 18th English first-division title this weekend, it will put them level with Liverpool for most all-time. Say what you want about Malcolm Glazer and his American ownership, but perhaps no major club in Europe has been more solidly run since Euro soccer has moved into the multibillion-dollar entertainment arena.
Previously: 3
Everyone has weighed in on the debacle at Stamford Bridge, so I'm not sure what good my two cents will do at this point. But I will say this: Yes, the Blues were jobbed by Ovrebo, but they shouldn't have put themselves in that situation to begin with. Still, it has been a delight to see what Guus Hiddink can do with a squad with pure talent instead of the rag-tag underdog bunches he has coached throughout his career. What Chelsea now needs is some stability. Good luck with that one.
Previously: 6
Technically, the Reds still have a shot at stealing the title from Man U. So you're saying there's a chance? It's starting to set in that it's going to be a third-straight trophy-less season on the Merseyside, which is a shame because this is a really entertaining team that has put on some masterful displays. Steven Gerrard was voted Footballer of the Year by the English media, and he completely deserved it. Can you recall another season in which the skipper carried the team on his back like he has this year?
5Inter Milan
Previously: 7
Inter Milan
The Serie A title should have been clinched weeks ago. But Inter's lack of immediacy is a big reason why it has won only once in its past five league games. "We're not the team I would like us to be because of injuries and suspensions," said José Mourinho after last weekend's draw at 16th-place Chievo. True, but your subs are still better than nearly every team in Italy. It's time to get this thing in the bag and start wondering how the "Special One" will continue to remake this squad.
6FC Porto
Previously: 8
FC Porto
Ho, hum. Just another trophy for the Dragons, who won their fourth-straight Portuguese league title (and 17th overall) last weekend. And believe it or not, for a club whose ranks get pilfered so often by the Chelseas and Inter Milans of the world, Porto has six players who have somehow been on all four title-winners: Bruno Alves, Raul Meireles, captain Pedro Emanuel, Brazilian keeper Helton and, of course, Argentine club idols Lisandro López and Lucho González.
7Real Madrid
Previously: 5
Real Madrid
Real is pretty much sure of finishing second in La Liga, but all of a sudden, it's lost two straight by a combined 9-2. Yikes. We keep harping on this, but it's hard to get away from the fact that it's going to be another ridiculous summer of hirings, firings, elections and transfers at the Bernabéu. That word "stability" comes to mind yet again here: Electing a sixth club president over a nine-year span is not the way to achieve that.
8AC Milan
Previously: --
AC Milan
Look who's back. To be sure, it has been a frustrating season for the Rossoneri, dumped from the competition they never wanted to be in (at least by Werder Bremen, a team that may actually win the UEFA Cup) and incurring the wrath of the supremo of supremi, Silvio Berlusconi. But Milan hasn't played all that badly recently, despite the ire of the prime minister. They're undefeated in nine straight in Serie A and will look ahead to Champions League play next season. Yes, David Beckham (we say, with annoyance), you'll be back in the big time.
Previously: 10
It's been a pretty good couple of weeks for the Brazilians, winning the Mineiro state tournament with ease, halfway to the Copa Libertadores quarterfinals and kicking off the Brazilian Championship with a win over Flamengo. They might not have sexy names like some of their fellow Brazilian clubs, but we'll know a lot more about them if they finish off Universidad de Chile on Thursday and book a date with none other than Libertadores favorite São Paulo.
Previously: --
Ugh, does this stink. But rules are rules, and as the new CONCACAF champions, we hereby grant the charity spot to the Iron Colts. That a Mexican bottom-feeder will be the region's representative at the FIFA Club World Cup is the confederation's own fault, as our own Luis Bueno so eloquently wrote. And the Cancún club likely will be massacred in Dubai in December, perhaps by Man. United. And that's the worst part: Can you imagine what will happen when the Brit tabloids start researching Cancún and get wind of our most embarrassing American creation, Girls Gone Wild? Ay yay yay!
Honorable mentions: VfL Wolfsburg, Olympique de Marseille, Girondins de Bordeaux, Palmeiras, Grêmio, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayern Munich, AZ Alkmaar, Vélez Sarsfield
Dropped off: Arsenal, Hamburger SV

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