The history of world football is built from an intriguing balance of forces between Europe and South America, as until the 2010 Cup, both had the same number of titles in the most important tournament of all time: nine.
If the new continent produced Pele, Garrincha, Romario, Ronaldo, Alfredo Di Stefano, Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, then Filho gave the planet heavyweights like Johan Cruyff, Franz Beckenbauer, Ferenc Puskas, Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane, Yuzubio and Cristiano Ronald.
But this balance has been out of step recently. While Europe continued to produce superstars, conquer titles and make their teams develop, South America stepped on the brakes and showed signs of being left behind.
For the first time in history, teams from the same continent, Europe, have won four consecutive World Cups. At Russia 2018, three years ago, the dominance was so wide that the other side of the Atlantic won six teams in the quarter-finals and reached the semi-finals.
Individual awards are also increasingly becoming theirs. In the past 12 years, only one South American (Messi) has won the World Player of the Year election. And the Brazilian Neymar was the only other to climb the podium in that period. On the other hand, Europe won three different athletes and placed seven more names among the top three in some editions of the FIFA Prize.