Depends what club you support or what level of football you're talking about, I suppose.
Obviously the clubs I watch most often is Spurs and I wouldn't agree that is the case, if anything there's been a decline.
...also I think some positions have improved, some have declined
Of course not every footballer is better than the previous one, otherwise these records would be broken every season or three. The main idea is that the overall average continues to improve. I'd say national teams are a great example: the 2014 edition of the Liechtenstein national team is going to suffer against say '74 Brazil, but you'd have to think 2014 Germany walks all over '74 brazil, or '94 brazil for that matter. I mean you could probably argue Spain from 2-6 years ago beats the world cup winning German side, but I don't think that is firm evidence against the idea that on the macro-scale, football is getting better all the time.
Outisde of the elite clubs, maybe a dozen or so, I'm not sure it is.
It stands to reason that the stronger and larger the squads at the very best clubs (the Real Madrids, Barcelonas and Bayern Munichs) then the weaker and more dilluted the talent will be amongst the rest.
Well yes and no. Is the competition as balanced? Certainly not, but across the board the players of today are better than the players of 10 years ago, which are better than the players 20 years ago. My point was more that it is a cycle of reinforcement.
I've always liked Casemiro since his first appearance in a pre-season friendly with the first team, I think the only thing he has lacked is the manager's confidence. It is great that Flo loves him, but we need Carlo to want him.
Great players are going to be great. Every argument and point that is made for why something has happened can be countered or supported in how integral it was/is to the result.
Messi and Ronaldo are breaking records because they are absolutely head and shoulders above anyone else playing today. It doesn't necessarily have to do anything about the era or the defenders.
R9 was an absolute FREAK of nature when he played at Barcelona. The amount and types of goals he was scoring were mind boggling. What "derailed" his career, so to speak, were injuries and lifestyle choices. He will go down as a legend, but if it wasn't for his injuries, partying and lack of true peak physical fitness he could have gone down as absolutely the BEST player to have play the game. So he could have been doing with Ronaldo and Messi are doing right now 2 decades ago.
You picked the one point I admitted was highly debatable and used that to refute my statements and then you used R9 as an example, which I almost did along with Socrates, but I think he is a good case for my final point. I think it all boils down to the fact that the sport is evolving at a lightning pace and we will continue to see better and better players. I always cringe at the debates over the "best player of all time" in any sport, because it is almost guaranteed to be someone in the past 10 years if you are looking at things objectively, just because the level of competition is always going up. Use a time machine and grab Di Stefano in his prime and drop him on this Madrid squad? He'd probably be a squad player at best. Take him as a small child and let him grow up in today's environment, I'd like to think we'd have another World XI on our hands... though that clearly is again admittedly quite debatable.