European Player of the Year. In 1975 there was a problem and Blokhin was voted best without fully convincing observers: it was rather there was nobody truly great. 1976 vote was no better… 29 players got points, quite a big number, yet, not unusual. There were some unlikely choices, going even beyond journalistic bias and rabid patriotism – Ali Cemal of Trabzonspor (Turkey) got a point. The Swedish player of Tennis Borussia (West Germany), Benny Wendt, got 2 points. Well, Trabzonspor at least were champions of Turkey - Tennis Borussia played Second Division! Wendt probably deserves mentioning just because he is the only second division player to appear in so prestigious award. How good were these two guys? Pause and think hard… and find nothing. Wendt hardly ranks high in Swedish football history, let alone German one. On the other hand there were significant absences: the whole British football failed – only Kevin Keegan got points. The Italians faired just as bad. Spanish too. Even the champions of Europe – Czechoslovakia – did not go very high. Individually, Johan Crujff dropped to 7th place with measly 12 points. It was shared with the Yugoslavian goalkeeper of St. Etienne Ivan Curkovic, a very consistent and solid player, but hardly a superstar. Oh, well, Crujff was entangled in a fight with his coach and had weak season, but… he ended 10 points above Benny Wendt and almost 80 points behind the winner. Numbers tell something… names too. Only two young and coming players appeared in the top 5 – Michel Platini (AS Nancy) was 5th and Kevin Keegan (Liverpool) – 4th. Both were far behind the third placed Ivo Viktor. The goalkeeper of the new European champions was neither young, not unknown – and so far was never ranked among the best goalkeepers, let alone the top players of the continent. Was he suddenly improved? Or was his club Dukla (Prague) making the news? Not at all. Viktor got points largely because of the European title and may be because of seniority – some of his teammates were more impressive than him, yet, not overwhelmingly impressive. Rob Rensenbrink ended on second place – a big star since 1974 the Dutch was hardly better in 1976 than in 1974… like Viktor, he most likely ranked so high because of the success of Anderlecht this year. But Rensenbrink did not come even close to the winner with his 75 points: the best one finished with 91. Numbers tell and numbers lie… the difference appear very impressive. The name of the winner no less… Franz Beckenbauer.