EPL players fail to make world grade and Neil Humphreys is not surprised
Outdated mindset and fixture pile-up weaken stars
Just a week after the English Premier League praised itself, once again, for having the world's most exciting competition, it all came crashing down.
Those party poopers in Zurich pointed out, as they insist on doing every year, that English football boasts neither the world's best player nor the best manager.
Most embarrassing of all, not a single EPL player made the 2015 FIFPro World 11.
When the league's outstanding footballers are Leicester's Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, this is hardly surprising.
Actually it is, but only within EPL circles.
The fist-pumping insistence that the EPL is the best in the business because it is the most popular is always entertaining, rather like a reality TV star insisting he's better than Daniel Day-Lewis because he's got more followers on Facebook.
But the more pressing issue is the quality gap itself. Why is the chasm in talent so wide, particularly this season?
The new TV deal - worth £5.14 billion ($10.7b) over three years - easily makes the EPL the richest league in the world, allowing the powerhouses of Manchester, Liverpool and London to theoretically chase the most highly prized assets.
Once the TV money kicks in, even the likes of Leicester and West Ham could match the salaries of World 11 inductees such as Marcelo and Luka Modric.
But it's not entirely about money.
Artists born in South America or the Iberian Peninsula will naturally crave Spanish canvases to paint the prettiest pictures, but that doesn't explain the attraction of Bayern Munich or Paris Saint-Germain.
What those clubs also offer is a safety net.
As Jose Mourinho famously pointed out: "If you are an attacking player and go to Barcelona or Real Madrid, it is easier to score 50 goals than if you're playing in England."
To expand his argument, Barca, Real, Bayern and PSG are elite football's only gilt-edged securities. Trophies are guaranteed, along with regular Champions League football, doormats for opponents, good food and wine and a sprinkling of naturally tanned supermodels.
Ironically, the EPL's biggest selling point is also its least appealing attribute for the game's most discerning virtuosos.
The blood and thunder elements, those dubious qualities that allow lazy pundits to waffle on about Johnny Foreigner knowing that "he's been in a real battle"; the manic ingredients that make games seem like they've been played in wind tunnels do not attract men like Lionel Messi.
Neymar doesn't want to take on Norwich's no-frills 4-4-2 any more than Rory McIlroy wants to hack his way around a public course filled with pockmarks and wheezing, weekend golfers.
The Premier League's stubborn insistence on being a real man's game, with frilly foreign dandies ordered to toughen up and track back to succeed - Eden Hazard, Mesut Oezil, Angel di Maria, Juan Mata and so on - scares off not only potential world-beaters but also wears out those already there.
Hazard, Diego Costa, Alexis Sanchez, David de Gea and Sergio Aguero are - or have the potential to be - contenders for any respectable World 11. Last year, every one of them was knocking at the door of greatness.
This time around, it's more likely to be the door to the treatment room.
The EPL does grab some of the game's leading players, only to pummel them into submission with an archaic fixture list.
When he was Chelsea manager, Mourinho essentially lifted the title before Christmas 2014 with the same, small group of players. He then looked on in horror as his exhausted trophy winners spent most of 2015 running on empty.
At Tottenham, the excellent Mauricio Pochettino was forced to rest seven players for the FA Cup third round tie against Leicester. Foxes manager Claudio Ranieri rested eight. The two sides face each other three times in 10 days.
At Liverpool, Juergen Klopp was stunned to learn that the League Cup semi-finals are played over two legs. He now also realises that the early rounds of the FA Cup include replays. He needs neither and nor does the Premier League.
The Reds have played 11 times since Dec 2 and face at least another five games before the end of this month.
In the same period, Bayern Munich turned out just five times. The Bundesliga winter break allowed Pep Guardiola to pop to Qatar for warm-weather training.
La Liga also enjoyed a 10-day break and Gareth Bale, his batteries fully charged, knocked in a hat-trick against Deportivo La Coruna last weekend.
Why would the Welshman come back to English football? Why would the game's leading lights consider a move to a league where existing stars are fading as the relentless fixture demands take their toll?
Among Europe's elite leagues, the EPL certainly remains the messiest, the most unpredictable and exhausting.
Unless that changes, English football will continue to produce more wide-eyed fans than world-class footballers.