mandag den 5. april 2010

The 200 best players in the world: 134 - 129

Introduction to the list

The list:

New order

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


Mauro Camoranesi


Right midfielder - Italy

Uh oh this was probably a mistake.

Back when I started this list Camoranesi was playing his best football in years and for a while at least was the best player on a very up and down Juventus team. The up part would soon disappear by the way.
The injury bug however soon caught Camoranesi again and as time went by I did move him down some, but here he is months later still not really having done anything since that good period of form and he should have been moved down more. Especially if you consider that his last few seasons haven't exactly been all that great either.

When healthy he is a feisty hard working player who is disciplined defensively but who is also really good technically and can even be creative going forward whether it's with a pass or most often a clever dribble. He also crosses the ball well.

That's enough talent for an even higher ranking but as his health has gotten worse with age his temperament and focus haven't really and he'll still make really bad decisions sometimes.

Kind of like me keeping his ranking this relative high!

Oh well hopefully he'll enjoy a good healthy spell from now on and while it's downright impossible to impress at Juve at the moment, hit some good form when the World Cup arrives.


Simone Perrotta


Midfielder - Italy

One of the most underrated players for much of the previous decade and a vital member of Italy's World Cup winning side four years ago starting every game.

Despite that though he wasn't even close to the list at first. Post World Cup 2006 Perrotta has not only aged but been plagued by injuries and with that is actually one the few 06 veterans that hasn't been in the national team picture recently.

This season however, to the great benefit of his club team Roma pushing for the title, is his strongest in years, and perhaps for one final time he is back being the Simone Perrotta of old.

A player not with great technical skills like any kind of passing out of the ordinary but someone who through a great work rate and strong tactical play (not least his outstanding movement offensively and defensively - that's where he is really special) is capable of performing strong two-way play in every midfield position. Be it attacking or defending, central or wide.

For teams emphasizing attacking without compromising the defensive side of things he is something of an ideal player. He'll work hard defensively and make all the right runs in transition. Then not miss a beat defensively.
Even in established attack if it's direct play his runs seeking passes in between defenders is a thing of beauty making him a decent goal scoring threat (yes between 5 and 9 goals for a midfielder every year is actually very good in Serie A!).

With those skills Perrotta was an important part of Spalletti's innovative Roma systems (like the 4-6-0) where the closest thing to a striker was Francesco Totti often dropping deep still reliving his younger playmaker days. Him and the team then needed people to make runs, not least forward, around him and no one did that better than Perrotta.

Curiously enough born in England, even though he hasn't been in the national team picture for a while, don't rule out a surprise World Cup comeback for Perrotta if can maintain his fitness.

For Italy that is...



Real Madrid

Left-back/Left midfield


Despite what a disappointing Champions League exit to Lyon in a closely contested tie might lead you to believe, Real Madrid this season is an excellent team.

After all they're neck and neck with the just about undisputed best team in the world Barcelona at 77 points and a goal difference of 57 after 30 games.
One better than Barca and an 8 point and 19 goal improvement if you compare to the same stage last season, where it should be said that in the league at least they were actually considered to be rolling to such an extent that towards later stages of what was Barcelona's historic improvement of a season, there were actually some Barca nervousness (paranoia) if Madrid like they had done before could sneak up on them and steal another title.

What happened instead of course was Barcelona in early May, at the Bernebau no less, completely putting any doubt to rest and destroying Real Madrid 6-2 in what was yet another magnificent performance.

At the time of writing they're facing each other in just three days and it of course can't be ruled out that history will repeat itself, but this time it's only early April+closer in the standings and if you consider Barcelona currently through lots of injuries really are seeing their depth put to the test, then even if Barca sets things straight and win, this more than ever clash of giants, a much strengthened Real Madrid could still end up stealing the title later focusing their vast resources on the league entirely while Barca once again will be busy playing and preparing for massive Champions League games.

I won't say Barcelona absolutely must beat Madrid again to retain the title but getting even the smallest of margins, with both teams so dominant, would certainly be very useful.

Of the various expensive Real Madrid additions to their squad some have been as good as advertised, some worse and others about what you would expect.
Of the players already in place, some have struggled and are seeing less playing time but then there are those who seemingly have lifted their game and fitted in very well with their new excellent teammates.

The most spectacular example of that (and he was already very good) is of course Gonzalo Higuain who has exploded with 24 goals in 20 games, but also Marcelo though more under the radar is enjoying his career best season and has shown, perhaps for the first time in 4 seasons at Madrid, where people are extremely hard to please, good enough play to be viewed as an actual strength to the team rather than a weakness.

A big part of that has been getting moved away from a position where he spent a good part of the time doing what he did worst. At left-back defending often one on one which is his clear weakness.

This season he has been moved up to midfield playing left-central in Pelligrini's flexible system often referred to as a 4-2-2-2.

There it's much less one on one defending, especially when he often has two excellent defensive midfielders (Alonso and Diarra) behind or around him and he is just another part of the team defending and staying disciplined occupying his left midfield position.
Again something easier than time and time again after an offensive raid playing as fullback having to track even further back only there to be caught up in difficult one on one matchups against whatever La Liga winger on the given day.

Instead in the 27 league games Marcelo has started (more than any other Real Madrid player) it's been his excellent technical skills and the quickness/flashiness he can use them with that's been on the forefront and with them (he leads the team in assists), perhaps surprisingly, he has become an important part of a very strong team, after being a weak link on a much weaker one.

Funny how football works sometimes.


Christian Chivu


Defender/Midfielder - Romania

Not much funny about Christian Chivu's various injuries though and in a long career of many minor and some major his latest injury was his worst when he early this year fractured his skull.

Thankfully though he now has made it back and is just starting playing games again for Inter.

Back when Chivu first caught people's attention as a young player at Ajax, as I remember it, the sky was seen as the limit for Chivu and he was very highly regarded.

Here was a young player, a leader even, who looked very complete already and who could do a great job playing a number of positions. That's great value.

But Christian Chivu while a very good player for many years now I don't know if he ever became the major star that people thought he would become or improved even from when he first broke through.

Maybe at one of his positions with more experience he is better than ever, as a central defender, over time the preferred position (at least until Mourinho started liking him as his left-back), possibly cause injuries took away some of his pace and when playing midfielder or fullback these days he isn't very dynamic and in some ways is restricted to primarily defensive duties.
Duties that he fulfills well and even if he isn't dynamic he'll always have his great left foot and can contribute good things through that. On set pieces as well as a nice range of passing.

Still mainly what's edging him ahead of a lot players is that he will do a good (especially defensive) job as a left-back, central defender and defensive midfielder. Value.



Atletico Madrid

Winger - Portugal

Simao has been one of the better wingers in the world for a good part of the last 10 years but whenever a player much reliant on pace has hit 30 years of age and is having his worst season in a while you do wonder if he is starting to slip.

He still looks fast to me though and it could just be another one of those inconsistent spells that has plagued him for most of his career and I guess prevented him from reaching the very elite. We'll know soon enough anyway and obviously no matter what he will have far from 10 more years left as one of the better wingers around.

When at his best he is still fast, skillful and able to create for himself and others (passing and shooting), not just on either wing but in most of the attacking midfield area and he was an important part of Atletico's very exciting attack last season, that if it wasn't for Barca's even more spectacular exploits, probably would have received more attention.

He is another small somewhat fragile player that doesn't add much weight defensively. His work rate is good at times (perhaps especially for the national team) but even in the typical 4-2-3-1 systems where he has usually roamed protection from "only" two defensive midfielders haven't always been enough protection to keep things balanced.


Marcell Jansen

Hamburger SV

Left-back/Left wing - Germany

So many Hamburg players and I'm starting to feel uneasy about the lack of especially Schalke and Dortmund players (and no there won't be any) who are both having stronger seasons than Hamburg, but I just couldn't find any great candidates on either of those teams, though I'm sure there are some who'll have a good case for a spot on the lower part of the list.

Marcell Jansen unfortunately suffered an ankle injury late March and it's unclear what his level of participation, if any, will be for the rest of the season.

Hopefully it's not something that will endanger his place in the Germany World Cup squad.

Jansen is unusually tall and strong for someone who has played both left-back and now mostly left wing but still has good pace and is a very dynamic player. An excellent combination!

For Hamburg he plays mostly as a left-winger where he can really make use of his great crossing ability. He is also a capable dribbler meaning that crossing ability definitely isn't going to waste.

While I would say his work rate is good I'm not sure he is as good defensively as someone with his non fragile physical ability perhaps ought to be at a position involving lots of two-way play.

Finally like a whole host of German midfielders at the moment he possesses a powerful shot.

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