Cristiano Ronaldo News

Friday, October 13, 2006

The best player in the world is...

The powers that be at FIFA have announced a 30-man shortlist for the World Player of the Year award, to be presented to one lucky man in Zurich on December 18.

And true to form, FIFA have gone with reputation and basically selected the 30 most famous men in world football with little real consideration for how well they have played this calendar year.

How else can we explain the inclusion of Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney, both of whom have been experiencing somewhat indifferent form to say the least, since the advent of the World Cup.

The likes of Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane have enjoyed glittering careers but they had disappointing club campaigns and only starred briefly in the showpiece in Germany.

So without further ado, we have narrowed down the shortlist to ten men we believe are worthy of this grand honour - not that Sepp Blatter and company will pay any attention whatsoever.


The man-mountain of a centre-half is our first choice based mainly on his amazing displays in Germany, where he single-handedly led the Azzurri to World Cup glory. The Italy skipper was robbed of the player of the tournament award by an errant FIFA who gave it to a certain headbutting and erratic Frenchman and he deserves this accolade instead for his superb show of defensive dominance.


Losing finalist in the Champions League and World Cup, it was a case of so near yet so far for the French superstar. And we believe the Arsenal skipper should again have to settle for second spot, after he finished top scorer in the Premiership, bagged a few goals in the World Cup and has shown just why he is the best forward in the game so far this season. Enough said.


Barring his dismissal in the Champions League final, the German number one has been the world's best goalkeeper this year, and by some distance too. The Arsenal man was in sublime form for much of last season, broke the record for the longest period without conceding a goal in the Champions League and saved many a penalty and sure goal with some sublime shotstopping.


Desite all the criticism levelled at the winking winger, there can be no doubting that he must be the most dangerous player on the ball in world football. Enjoyed a super second half to last season, should have scooped the young player award at the World Cup and has been absolutely outrageous to date this term. Scary to think he is only gonna get better.


Klose may not be the most skilful striker but he is certainly the most lethal in world football. The Werder Bremen man banged in 25 goals and registered 16 assists in just 26 games in the Bundesliga last season. And then he slotted home five times in the World Cup to pick up the Golden Boot award - just for good measure.


The midfield maestro produced a near faultless display in Germany, overshadowing the more celebrated Franscesco Totti as Italy's main creative influence. Pirlo won three man-of-the-match awards, more than any other player at the World Cup, and was awarded the Bronze Ball (yes, we hadn't heard of it before either!) for his sterling efforts.


Anderson Luis de Sousa - known to the football world as Deco - was instrumental in Barcelona's Champions League triumph, scooped the UEFA Best Midfielder Award and became the first player to conquer Europe twice, having done so at Porto previously. And the pint-sized playmaker also played a starring role as Portugal progressed to the semifinals of the World Cup.


The aptly-named Snarl or Ringhio (in Italian) has cemented his position as arguably the world's best holding midfielder this year. Dominant in the Serie A and in Europe with AC Milan, his ferocious tackling and tireless work ethic allows Pirlo and others to blossom around him. Covers every blade of grass on the field and won his midfield duel in the World Cup final against both Vieira and Makelele.


2006 was the year the Argentine ace finally began to fulfil his much-promised potential. Riquelme was the heartbeat of the Villarreal side that shocked all and sundry by progressing to the Champions League semifinals. He was also Argentina's inspiration in Germany and can count himself unlucky not to have progressed further after the shootout defeat to the hosts.


The only English player who harbours any hope of winning the award. Gerrard has been absolutely phenomenal for Liverpool this year - he scored 23 goals last term, was voted the PFA Player of the Year by his peers and singlehandedly led the Reds to FA Cup glory. Scored twice at the World Cup and was one of the few England players to enhance his reputation in Germany.

FIFA World Player of the Year shortlist: Adriano (Inter Milan, Brazil), Michael Ballack (Chelsea, Germany), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus, Italy), Fabio Cannavaro (Real Madrid, Italy), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, Portugal), Petr Cech (Chelsea, Czech Republic), Deco (Barcelona, Portugal), Didier Drogba (Chelsea, Ivory Coast), Michael Essien (Chelsea, Ghana), Samuel Eto'o (Barcelona, Cameroon), Luis Figo (Inter Milan, Portugal), Gennaro Gattuso (AC Milan, Italy), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool, England), Thierry Henry (Arsenal, France), Kaka (AC Milan, Brazil), Miroslav Klose (Werder Bremen, Germany), Philippe Lahm (Bayern Munich, Germany), Frank Lampard (Chelsea, England), Jens Lehmann (Arsenal, Germany), Alessandro Nesta (AC Milan, Italy), Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan, Italy), Franck Ribery (Marseille, France), Juan Roman Riquelme (Villarreal, Argentina), Ronaldinho (Barcelona, Brazil), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United, England), Tomas Rosicky (Arsenal, Czech Republic), Andriy Shevchenko (Chelsea, Ukraine), Lilian Thuram (Barcelona, France), Patrick Vieira (Inter Milan, France), Zinedine Zidane (retired, France).



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