tirsdag den 29. december 2009

The 200 best players in the world: 162-160

I actually started writing on a season so far update but got kinda stuck so instead here comes the list again.

Also, I've done some counting and

players on the list playing in:

EPL: 59

La Liga: 43 (It feels low when you compare to EPL and Serie A, but they do crush when it comes to top 20, 50 and 100 too I think, where they have the most players)

Serie A: 44 (There probably is some unintentional favoritism when it comes to some of the lower inclusions over people from some other leagues based on watching more mid-table Serie A teams than mid La Liga, Bundesliga and France teams, but they are clearly behind La Liga and EPL when it comes to the top ranks)

Bundesliga: 23

Ligue 1: 12 (again this feels too low but they're suffering a bit from some very talented people that I just haven't seen enough like Sissoko from Toulouse and then there were a few others like Ben Arfa and Gomis who have been struggling a little bit too much and were late cuts.
Also, none of these 12 have even appeared yet!)

Players on the list from:

Brazil: 19 (Low number when compared to the Europeans but if it's top 400 and of course upwards they'd pull away from the field)

Italy: 17 (A lot of people think the national team has been terrible so this must be way too high right? WELL... Something like half of these aren't even playing on that team regularly!)

France: 16 (see the Ligue 1. comments and to those I'll add Flamini who is easily talented enough but just isn't playing at the moment. A lot of candidates also seems like they're defenders (and goalkeepers for that matter) where a lot people were cut)

Germany: 12 (This really surprised me and it seems very low. When it comes to defenders they're in the same boat as France though and virtually no one made it. All in all I do feel like I have a good representation of their midfielders and forwards where some are ranked pretty high, though of course there will be people who you could easily make a case for in the lower placements)

Argentina: 18

Spain: 26 (The big winner and World Cup favorites!)

England: 19 (Don't like the number compared to Brazil and Argentina or Germany for that matter, but remove Walcott who probably shouldn't have been included after all and it's at least one less!
And like I said in relation to Brazil, all the European nations would start falling behind once we went deeper. England too of course)

An Introduction to the list.

The list so far:

200: Alberto Zapater - Genoa - Spain
199: Nikola Zigic - Valencia - Serbia
198: Sergio Ramos - Real Madrid - Spain
197: Lucio - Inter - Brazil
196: John Obi Mikel - Chelsea - Nigeria
195: Sergio Busquets - Barcelona - Spain
194: Philippe Mexes - Roma -France
193: Anatolij Tymoshchuk - Bayern München - Ukraine
192: Theo Walcott - Arsenal - England
191: Aaron Ramsey - Arsenal - Wales
190: Pepe - Real Madrid - Portugal
189: Sergei Semak - Rubin Kazan - Russia
188: Alberto Aquilani - Liverpool - Italy
187: Clarence Seedorf - Milan - Holland
186: Diego Capel - Sevilla - Spain
185: Yossi Benayoun - Liverpool - Israel
184: Riccardo Montolivo - Fiorentina - Italy
183: Kolo Toure - Manchester City -Côte d'Ivoire
182: Yuri Zhirkov - Chelsea - Russia
181: Martin Demichelis - Bayern Munich - Argentina
180: Marouane Fellaini - Everton - Belgium
179: Cristian Zapata - Udinese - Colombia
178: Tim Cahill - Everton - Australia
177: Paul Scholes - Manchester United - England
176: Arda Turan - Galatasaray - Turkey
175: Ezequiel Lavezzi - Napoli - Argentina
174: Klaas Jan Huntelaar - AC Milan - The Netherlands
173: William Gallas - Arsenal - France
172: Shaun Wright Phillips - Manchester City - England
171: Pavel Pogrebnyak - VBF Stuttgart - Russia
170: Darijo Srna - Shakhtar Donetsk - Croatia
169: Bojan Krkic and Pedro - Barcelona - Spain
168: Ronaldinho - AC Milan - Brazil
167: Tranquillo Barnetta - Bayer Leverkusen - Switzerland
166: Stiliyan Petrov - Aston Villa - Bulgaria
165: Amauri - Juventus - Brazil
164: Dirk Kuyt - Liverpool - The Netherlands
163: Bruno Alves - FC Porto - Portugal


Lorik Cana - Sunderland



Literally carrying teammates (here Nasri), what a hero!

Lorik Cana is one of the more limited players on this list technically, now that I think about it perhaps the most limited , meaning the rest of what he brings better be something special and all in all I think that it is.

Now it can of course be argued that this is a little too generous of a ranking but defensively I think he is the best midfielder so far, which counts for a lot.

Cana is the former Marseille captain and when he moved to Sunderland this season he immediately became captain there too and when you watch him play there is definitely a sense of this is a real leader trying to make the people around him better.
It's hard for an outsider to really judge something like that and generally it's something that is often probably quite overrated, but Cana really does seem to get acclaim from just about everyone as a great influence on his team.
If nothing else he definitely leads by example, head or feet first with non stop hard work for his team. The man just goes to war in every game.

So why then did he end up at Sunderland and not a better team like for an example Arsenal who over the summer were reported to be interested in his services?

I don't know why that move didn't materialize exactly. There could be many reasons not necessarily to do with Cana's strengths and weaknesses but generally I think it could be argued that his lack of technical skills just aren't a good match for many elite clubs and especially not a team like Arsenal where complementing teammates not just through defensive work but even more so through technique is essential.

Can a team that match in and match out have to break down opponent defenses afford to have a midfielder like Cana who compared to other top players offers far more on the defensive front than anywhere else.
I definitely think that Cana would instantly become the best defensive midfielder for Arsenal and even though they're all improving to various extents I'd say outside of Fabregas (ldo) he'd become the best midfielder too, BUT, and that's the problem, still the worst technical player of the bunch by some distance which even if he is the best "overall", would end up making that team worse!
It's better then for Arsenal to count on someone who is ever improving like Alex Song who is becoming good defensively plus on top of that has a lot of natural ability making him a good fit in the gunners possession game. Technically and physically.
My one complaint about him is that he is slow but Cana isn't the exactly the quickest either, so there...

For Sunderland however, who play very differently than Arsenal and at a lower level obviously, there isn't any real danger of him looking out of place and here he is actually a nice combination of decent skills (cause I hope I haven't made him sound worse technically than he is. He is also good at keeping it simple) good tactical play and of course that trademark fierce physical play of his.


Carlton Cole - West Ham



Before getting injured Carlton Cole was enjoying an excellent start to the season playing on an, at least to me, unforeseen very high level.

Through great athleticism and forward skills to go along with it he was creating goals not just for himself but with some superior displays up front resembling the guy who probably does it better than anyone Didier Drogba, for the players around him as well.

Needless to say West Ham who are currently struggling at the bottom of the table desperately needs him back and personally I'd love to see how he would complement someone like Italian energy bunny Alessandro Diamanti, still adjusting to England in many ways, who would not only love all the space Cole seems to create but also be provided with a great target he could aim his very good left foot at.

I think getting something special going there is what could get West Ham to safety in the table.

That Cole arguably hasn't proven that he exists at a high level over a longer period of time counts a little against him too (maybe it should have counted more) but like other relatively unproven players making the list I don't see (other than in his case some worrying injury concerns) why the good play shouldn't continue for years to come.


Lukas Podolski - FC Köln



After some seasons spent mostly failing to shine at Bayern München, Podolski is now back at FC Köln the club where he first broke through, but to my great surprise things STILL aren't going well and at the time of writing only has 1 goal in 15 games and predictably have to endure seeing his name on much less flattering lists (compared to this one!) such as "biggest Bundesliga flops of the season".

Fortunately for Podolski, Alexandr Hleb like already touched upon in the Pogrebnyak writeup (who is on as well btw), was there to wipe competition away and take first.

Of course a lot to do with Podolski's placement on my list is connected to what I've seen from him on the national team where I've almost always have found myself very impressed by his performances.
Comfortable both as a forward and wing he's again and again shown great explosiveness in the final third where his work especially with Miroslav Klose have resulted in one goal after another.
Quite frankly the quality shown for the national team indicates a player who could be ranked much higher, but consistency is the major worry.

Podolski is still only 24 and I expect his play to pick up sooner rather than later.
If it doesn't and he is once again relegated with Köln then perhaps he shouldn't just have been lower but maybe not included at all.

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