onsdag den 14. april 2010

The 200 best players in the world: 121 - 117

Another day another update.

Introduction to the list

The list:

Introduction to the list

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
162: Lorik Cana - Sunderland - Albania
161: Carlton Cole - West Ham - England
160: Lukas Podolski - FC Köln - Germany
159: Felipe Melo - Juventus - Brazil
158: Craig Bellamy - Manchester City - Wales
157: Simon Kjaer and Daniel Agger - Palermo and Liverpool - Denmark
156: Alessandro Nesta -Milan-Italy
155: Aly Cissokho - Lyon -France
154: Walter Samuel - Inter - Argentina
153: Diego Lugano - Fenerbahce - Uruguay
152: Mauro Zarate - Lazio - Argentina
151: Sebastian Giovinco - Juventus and Luca Cigarini - Napoli - Italy
150: Taye Taiwo - Marseille - Nigeria, Rod Fanni - Rennes and Benoit Tremoulinas - Bordeaux - France
149: Domenico Criscito - Genoa - Italy
148: Fernando Llorente - Atletic Bilbao - Spain
147: Juan Roman Riquelme, Juan Sebastian Veron, Lucho Gonzalez, Pablo Aimar and Javier Pastore - Boca Juniors, Estudiantes, Marseille, Benfica and Palermo - Argentina
146: Alexis Sanchez - Udinese - Chile
145: Tom Huddlestone - Tottenham - England
144: Gerard Pique - Barcelona - Spain
143: Raul Meireles, Porto - Joao Moutinho - Miguel Veloso, Sporting Lissabon - Portugal
142: Bacary Sagna - Arsenal - France
141: Eljero Elia - Hamburger SV - Netherlands
140: Marko Marin - Werder Bremen - Germany
139: Giuseppe Rossi - Villarreal - Italy
138: Raul - Real Madrid-Spain and Ruud Van Nistelrooy - Hamburger SV-Netherlands
137: Konstantin Zyryanov - Zenit Saint Petersburg - Russia
136: Simon Rolfes - Bayern Leverkusen - Germany
135: Ze Roberto - Hamburger SV - Brazil
134 - 129
134: Mauro Camoranesi - Juventus - Italy
133: Simone Perrotta - Roma - Italy
132: Marcelo - Real Madrid - Brazil
131: Christian Chivu - Inter - Romania
130: Simäo - Atletico Madrid - Portugal
129: Marcell Jansen - Hamburger SV - Germany
128 - 122
128: Hatem Ben Arfa - Marseille - France and Goran Pandev - Inter - Macedonia
127: Rafael Marquez - Barcelona - Mexico
126: Nigel De Jong - Manchester City - Netherlands
125: Grafite - Wolfsburg - Brazil
124: Pablo Hernandez - Valencia - Spain
123: Daniel Guiza - Fenerbahce - Spain
122: Ramires - Benfica - Brazil


Mohamed Sissoko


Central midfielder - Mali

Sissoko might just be the most physical imposing midfielder in the world and on top of that was Juventus best player in the 2008/2009 season.

I really did want to rank him higher and more than most he has taken a nosedive down the rankings.

Partly due to continued bad luck with injuries that has seen him miss a lot of time and naturally partly as well due to spending too much time for me to ignore (albeit like everyone else) looking really bad on a team that's mighty struggling.

Mischaracterized and often misused when he is playing primarily as a defensive midfielder where it's really important to also have a sound passing game, which even with signs of improvement he just hasn't yet, Sissoko is much better as a two-way player going forward also part of his role, where his powerful running can benefit the team greatly.

Last season as part of Ranieri's solid mainly four man midfields there was a lot of that dynamic play taking place. This season however when not injured and part of mostly 3 man experiments gone wrong, sometimes even spending (wasting) time more wide where it isn't power that's integral but pace, it just hasn't been happening for Sissoko.

If playing him mainly as a holding midfielder limiting that running tactically and giving him the ball in costly places if you don't do decent things with it, just isn't getting the best out of him. Have Sissoko cover as much ground as possible so he can really put those incredible physical talents to use as many places as possible. That's what I would love to see.

In Serie A at times Sissoko is almost too strong a tackler for his own good and I'm guessing more than anyone else finds himself booked for perfect challenges where even all ball impact is just too great for a weak referee to control that irresistible urge to caution.


Dejan Stankovic


Midfielder - Serbia

Deki for the last 10 years has been one of the better two-way players in the world.

From his early days as a skillful dynamic attacking midfielder, sometimes left-wing, transforming into a hard working aggressive allround midfielder ready to do anything to win, including of course putting the needed effort in defensively.

Up until recently when at his best I would say he spent quite a few years where he was kind of both at the same time making him extremely valuable, but for most of this season, hurting his ranking, I would say Stankovic has only been a little of both and sometimes not even enough to do the sufficient job, neither when going forward or when defending.

In both ends it has looked liked like the work rate hasn't quite been there resulting in less dynamic runs forward where his great shot is always a threat and when defending at times his pressure hasn't been good enough and other periods he's been caught out of position looking tired meaning less balance for the team.

Whether it's age catching up to him or rather what's recently been discussed in Italy, where Inter at the time of writing sensationally has been overtaken by Roma at the top of the standings, Mourinho failing to rotate the squad well enough, is a good question. Could of course easily be a combination of both.

Not the fastest, strongest or even most technical Stankovic strength have been good ability in all areas + the great work rate making him able to contribute game in and game out, box to box.

He can't afford to continue losing ability in any of those areas or he'll soon turn into a much lesser player. Perhaps starting less games can delay that and he'll continue to be a valuable, but not absolute key, player for quite a few years still.


Stefan Kiessling

Bayer Leverkusen

Striker - Germany

Patrick Helmes, Leverkusen's top scorer last season has missed most of the season recovering from knee surgery and instead it's been Kiessling who has managed to step into that role, make it his own and become the team's main goal scoring threat. So much so that he is a good candidate to finish as the Bundesliga top scorer.

He is a tall striker who is good in the box and air but also very lanky with good pace.

Most impressive is his Dirk Kuyt like work-rate, he kind of looks like him too, and he offers his teammates constant movement throughout a game anywhere really in the final third.

There is a danger he's being ranked a little too high too early. This is the first season where he has been a consistent goal scoring threat anyway and it's possible he'll revert back to more of a second striker/forward role if Helmes ever finds his form again (very impressive/promising looking Derdiyok will be another obstacle for Helmes) , but still a tall striker with that kind of work-rate and generally impressive team work coupled with decent pace and technical skills I just can't see, in whatever role, not being a very valuable player for years to come.

He only has 3 caps for Germany but been in the squad recently and should make it to the World Cup I think.


Frederic Kanoute


Striker - Mali

Very impressive looking and highly gifted striker who with his athleticism, size and considerable skill has tormented La Liga defenses for years.

He is likely on the decline though and at 32 years of age has started just 15 league games this season struggling to find his top fitness thereby hurting his ranking.

But when at his best he remains a graceful player who not only has size but the agility, pace and ball control to go along with it enabling him to be effective anywhere in the final third. From making runs from outside the box to inside it being a strong skillful presence.

Kanoute finally found his consistency in Spain and over this period really has been a striker close to having it all and that he hasn't been able to contribute nearly as much this season for the first time in years has to be one of the main reasons for Sevilla's very unexpected bad season.

With various Sevilla attacking players still to come on the list you'd think they had enough depth to withstand that decline but the Kanoute partnership with Luis Fabiano (and Fabiano has started even less La Liga games this season) and what they brought together specifically seems like it has been a very big part of what Sevilla did so well in recent years and even with many other good players, including another excellent striker in Negredo, it suggests that they just haven't been able to find their way when without that duo up front.

In fact they've rarely started together this year (if at all actually) and in none of Sevilla's 12 defeats this season (counting both La Liga and Champions League) the starters have been Fabiano and Kanoute.


Jermain Defoe


Striker - England

Old school sniper who is one of the most reliable goal scorers in the game.

Defoe has great quickness and finishing skills in and around the box. His shooting especially has always been impressive.

While his technical skills such as ball-control and passing definitely are strengths rather than weaknesses he really isn't someone who offers much more than goalscoring to his team meaning this is probably as far up the list he can go.
Actually that he is even up this relatively high is a testament of just how impressive I think that goalscoring ability of his is.

Defoe probably couldn't function all that well without a strike partner who he can work together with to create space central to take advantage of in the final third, so tactically he is rather limited (and not least limit his teams) and that way he is a dying breed of strikers and not really the type (die poachers die) that you'll see on most top teams these days.

Which is probably why he has never received the chance on one of the top teams and also why I wouldn't be surprised if Tottenham as they continue to develop into that will look for someone who will bring more to the team than Defoe does.

Then again Defoe is a Harry Redknapp favorite and I would also guess Redknapp in his managerial career has mostly played with two strikers typically in some kind of 4-4-2 variant.

Now ordinarily I would just have to think that there was a clear limit to how far that can go when the competition will be more flexible systems featuring strikers (Rooney,Drogba,Tevez, Van Persie and yeah Torres too) who do so much more than just score goals and who make people around them much better.

It should be said though that Tottenham has at least one and maybe even two players who much of this season has made up for that, lets say "stationary weakness" with extraordinary attacking play while at least holding their own defensively. First and foremost Luka Modric but to my great surprise Aaron Lennon as well before his injury. And if his play was a real improvement and the level he showed is here to stay, then perhaps mainly those two can lift a 4-4-2 with a couple of outright strikers in the lineup to heights that I didn't really think was possible in the current football environment.

We shall see.

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