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Old 11-02-2009, 04:07 PM   #46
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Re: A list with plenty of thoughts on the 200 best soccer players in the world

bjorn, my only issue so far is the god damn pic you chose for mikel. salt in wound
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Old 11-02-2009, 04:09 PM   #47
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Re: A list with plenty of thoughts on the 200 best soccer players in the world

I did a list of my top 100 players today when I was bored in class. I'm pretty sure I'll get flamed pretty heavily, but I will post it anyways.
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Old 11-02-2009, 04:09 PM   #48
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Re: A list with plenty of thoughts on the 200 best soccer players in the world

Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Viggity View Post
Wait, I'm confused, who wrote the top 50 list?

And where is the top 200 list going? In this thread?
Yeah I'll post it in this thread as well.

The top 50 list I brought up was terrible and just an excuse to post the forewords, somewhat more to the point than mine, by Gabriel Marcotti.

Quote:
But football journalist Gabriel Marcotti wrote this when compiling HIS terrible and much shorter list a few years ago:
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Old 11-02-2009, 04:11 PM   #49
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Re: A list with plenty of thoughts on the 200 best soccer players in the world

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Originally Posted by EmpireMaker2 View Post
I did a list of my top 100 players today when I was bored in class. I'm pretty sure I'll get flamed pretty heavily, but I will post it anyways.
Cool. I'm pretty sure people will disagree with a lot of my positions too.

Last edited by Bjørn; 11-02-2009 at 04:17 PM. Reason: and the more lists the better. I will definitely have provided a giant short list
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Old 11-02-2009, 04:13 PM   #50
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Re: A list with plenty of thoughts on the 200 best soccer players in the world

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Originally Posted by KDawg View Post
bjorn, my only issue so far is the god damn pic you chose for mikel. salt in wound
Couldn't resist. I did remember the whole mess somewhat but had forgotten he was actually there with the shirt on.

Interestingly though what at the time looked like a miss and may still end up that way, he is hugely talented after all, he HAS since, I think, and the list will reflect this, been surpassed by United midfielders.
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Old 11-02-2009, 04:15 PM   #51
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Re: A list with plenty of thoughts on the 200 best soccer players in the world

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Originally Posted by Bjørn View Post
Cool. I'm pretty sure people will disagree with a lot of my positions too.
Yes I'm sure that will happen
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Old 11-02-2009, 04:18 PM   #52
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Re: A list with plenty of thoughts on the 200 best soccer players in the world

I don't know if I agree with Mikel so far he's kinda fringe I guess. The others yes, but I don't think I have ever seen Genoa play so I don't know Zapster well.
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Old 11-02-2009, 04:22 PM   #53
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Re: A list with plenty of thoughts on the 200 best "soccer" players in the world

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Originally Posted by ThaSaltCracka View Post
Btw, Bjorn is there a single American in your top 200? I am guessing no.
Correct guess. There were some players who really did impress me during the Confederations Cup but realistically with all the talent they're up against (like you said, just look at that bubble) probably the only one who would have had a chance, who really appears to have some great upside, would be Jozy Altidore, if he, like some other young great talent has this season, still to come on the list, exploded and had been really impressive for his club team. Unfortunately he hasn't really been getting the chance even, to do that.
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Old 11-02-2009, 07:00 PM   #54
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Re: A list with plenty of thoughts on the 200 best soccer players in the world

200-195 (for writeups)

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


More coming up but just a couple of quick ones since it's been a while now!

194-193 (blog)

and thread:

194:

Philippe Mexes - Roma - France

Defender




For many years now Mexes has been one of the most talented central defenders in the world.

When it comes to natural ability he pretty much has it all.
He is very athletic and good technically with nice ball control and a vision still intact from his earlier days playing as a sweeper.

I will say that some years ago he wasn't overly strong, if you compare him to some of his rivals at this position, but he has improved on that and these days has become quite muscular!

He also has very good tackling ability and is pretty strong in the air as well.

I also think that he has some of the best defensive instincts of defenders outside people like the three Cs (Cannavaro, Carvalho and Cordoba) and when you combine that with his great agility you have someone who can look more impressive than almost any other central defender when he is on his game.

Yet here he is ranked just inside the top 200 with many (despite my reservations about the position) central defenders ranked ahead of him?

Well as questionable as I find that he hasn't ever been getting a better run for the French national team and as strange it looks when new Roma coach Claudio Ranieri at times has picked (non ranked) Nicholas Burdisso over him, Mexes does have some serious question marks and they're exactly the kind that coaches (forever scared to lose their jobs and with good reason I might add) hate to deal with the most.

Mexes will gamble sometimes. He will lose focus sometimes, and overall I think he is one of those players (warning: rambling trying to make sense of the mystery that is Mexes, coming right up), who when he is good he is very good and when he is bad he is very bad...

That's somewhat of a cliche and it's not quite that black and white or he wouldn't even have a job. As a defender with the simple description of "a job to defend" you just can't afford to be very bad whenever you're not good, but I think it's definitely something that works against him in the minds of coaches when goals against often is a situation where there at least is an explainable reason why the goal wasn't prevented, but in cases that happens to involve Mexes sometimes, with all his god given ability, there really can't be found any good reason why the goal wasn't prevented, and I think that can leave some coaches puzzled, a bit scared maybe, and instead they go for players less enigmatic, more easy to figure out, what in fact they can and not least, WILL do. With Mexes sometimes you just can't be sure.

Now for a whole bunch of attacking players that's a normal thing and with all the variables involved part of the job risk almost, but for a defender with their rather simple task, it's really more rare and not a great thing either.
And that's why for all his great ability that he is ranked where he is.

193:

Anatoliy Tymoshchuk - Bayern München - Ukraine

Central midfielder




Tymoshchuk is someone who would have been quite a bit higher not too long ago but it might have been under false pretenses. Here was a player when you saw him in Europe for Zenit or for Ukraine who looked really impressive with exactly the kind of controlling presence, physical and technical, that you'd want to see from a holding midfielder. Including what looked like some strong leadership too.

Now enter his big switch to Bayern this season and with all eyes on Tymo it's been a lot less smooth sailing.
For starters the passing hasn't quite been on a high enough level.
Like with Mikel at Chelsea, here just not quick enough, or correct enough if you will, to really make Van Gaal's system GO.

In other areas he doesn't look comfortable either and when I've seen Bayern he's been caught out of position defensively too.
Maybe too much is asked of him. Or maybe he just isn't good enough in another role than the very well defined one, that he must have known inside out, playing years in Russia and Ukraine.
He has of course played under another Dutch coach before, Dirk Advocaat, at Zenit, but the players and their characteristics, surrounding him now is certainly completely different than what he saw there and for Shaktar.

At first glance now, much more than before he has to complement excellent wings, their attacking as well as their (lack of) defending, while previously he has been one of several strong players running the show, both ways, more down the middle.

I don't want to make his individual struggles worse than they are but it's without a doubt disappointing that his performances with very good players around him has actually been worse than what we've previously seen from him, and in a worst case scenario it could be the first signs of a player maybe more limited and one dimensional than Bayern thought they were getting.

Still his success and impressive displays at an important position for many years now still suggest otherwise and earns him a spot on the list.

Last edited by Bjørn; 11-02-2009 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 11-02-2009, 11:54 PM   #55
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Re: A list with plenty of thoughts on the 200 best soccer players in the world

200-195 (for writeups)
194-193 (for writeups)

A few more, including AT LEAST ONE facemelter.

Read blog here

Or just scroll down:

192:

Theo Walcott - Arsenal - England

Wing - Forward




Like Ramos, Walcott is another player who had a rollercoaster ride up and down the positions of this list.

At 20 he is a player who definitely can still improve in a lot of areas.

Actually in a lot of those areas he might be one of the worst players on the list! However as everyone knows he has that great gift of speed and in the end I just didn't feel comfortable leaving someone so elite in that important differencemaking area off the list.

I think it's clear that when he has space available to him he is right up there in effectiveness with players ranked much higher.

With injury problems lately (and that counts against him too), a very good indication of exactly how good he is just now, will be to what extent he gets a run in Arsenal's new 4-3-3 this season and how well he performs in it. Will be interesting to watch!

191:

Aaron Ramsey - Arsenal - Wales

Midfielder




UPSET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No I haven't seen a lot of him but I'm confident that what I've seen is good enough.

Actually having seen him so little is probably what stops me from putting him even higher!
I'm being a little (too) careful. This is after all a player who is yet to play a whole lot on the highest level.
Sure, I suppose there is a chance that I'm overrating him. That it's ALL TOO SOON.
But what I seriously think I've seen would fully justify including him. Just because it's so rare and so few players got it. Ramsey he's got it!

He has that superb vision and playmaking ability that you only see from very few players and there is great technique too.

Ability, and this is where almost every talent of this type fails/develops into something else in the current game, on a high enough level to survive, to thrive in a climate of tight opposition team defense.

In fact on this whole list you only see it from a very small handful of players so what I think we have with Ramsey is a truly unique talent and possibly the most interesting talent to come out of the UK since Joe Cole (someone like Rooney was a bigger talent but of a nature that at least at the time was less interesting).
AND I do think Ramsey's playmaking ability is a level above what Joe Cole's was and the sick thing is, his technique is at least comparable too!

Even if somehow everything else about him is way below average I'd say that it's okay to include him here.

But let's take a lot of some of the other things. Something like how good his movement is I'm not sure of yet and then there is his whole physical ability where there easily could be some way to go.
At least when he is on a team like Arsenal where coincidentally exactly the things Ramsey could bring, that some teams would die for him to bring, on his team IS one of those small handful of unique players who also just happens to be one of the best in the world, AT bringing those things.

I really have a feeling that Ramsey would start on most teams right now and it's really only a team who has someone like Fabregas already who can afford to hold such a gifted player back a little and instead fill the midfield around the big star with more primarely physically talented players.

Players who I might add arguably to some extent has been underachieving quite a bit, and I think Wenger's recent comments about how it's getting more and more difficult not to play Ramsey, is an indication that physically he is getting there too. And I hope so! Cause he will really need to.

With both him and Fabregas playing, even with such a team likely dominating possession, his workrate would have to be very high and he would have to be able to defend his midfield position reasonable well. Whether that would be putting on high pressure on the ball holder Barca style or tracking back transforming the 4-3-3 to more defensive formations when not in possession.

And last but not least here is an interesting articleon him that I found.

190:

Pepe - Real Madrid - Portugal

Defender




Even more so than Mexes earlier Pepe is incredibly naturally gifted.

Whatever the sum may be of his great athleticism and excellent technical ability, it's probably higher than for any other central defender on the list, or out there anywhere, I think quite similar to the young Lucio, so despite all the well known flaws, some seen on the picture above, leaving him off the list entirely I just didn't think was the correct choice.

Yeah he is a total nutcase and in the midst of any run of good form, sometimes looking dominant, he is capable of both defensive and epic mental breakdowns.

Hopefully he'll get his act together eventually. Based on talent alone he really should be up there with the very best central defenders.

189:

Sergei Semak - Rubin Kazan - Russia

Central midfielder




Captain of the excellent Russian national team as well as the champions Rubin Kazan, this inclusion is somewhat of a tribute to the almost impossible win that Kazan secured over Barcelona.

There was definitely luck involved and Barcelona mostly dominated but Kazan still managed to do what teams astonishingly seldom have succeeded in doing against this historically great Barcelona team, and actually executed their defensive game plan close to perfection.

Under, what of course is, which is why so many teams fail, the most difficult of conditions.

I think sometimes it's a more than a little neglecting of the work that goes into good defense when people talk about a team "just" "parking the bus".
Certainly against Barcelona facing that incredible attack it would never be enough or as simple as to just have the whole team back and kick the ball away, or whatever it is "parking the bus" implies you do exactly.

Some teams are perhaps reduced to that when playing Barcelona but as we see all those teams end up suffering heavy defeats too.
If it was in any way simple or easy to get a result against a team like Barcelona that way then everyone would do it (and maybe not lose all the time!).

No what everyone are trying to do is to play a good defensive game with all that comes with it. Work very hard defending space. Close down at exactly the right times and back off exactly at the right times. This has to go on all over the pitch from almost every player and against a team as good as Barcelona it requires not just very hard work but really wise tactical sense. A lot of that can be prepared by the coach of course, and absolutely have to, but the execution of course is still up to the players.
Chelsea last season in the Champions League was the team, maybe the only team all season who was able to do it. They had a great coach in Hiddink to organize things to perfection and they had the right players to execute (not just by parking the bus) but with team defense at a high enough level to give themselves a great chance to win.

Now I wouldn't say Rubin Kazan was on that level defensively, that Chelsea showed in that game. Not even close. Barcelona created a lot of chances, but still they did do a good job and their players executed very well under great pressure.

And not just out of the blue either. Apparently Kazan has only lost once away from home in over a year.
That's pretty remarkable in itself and that (finally) brings me to their captain, the currently ranked 189 player in the world, Sergei Semak who quite simply embodies these things. All these things talked about above!

He is a veteran leader for club and country who quite simply does all the right things in his defensive midfield position. Both with and without the ball.
Obviously he is far from the most talented so far on this list, he is in fact the least talented, but he could very well be the smartest (his teachers wanted him to become a mathematician!) And if you combine that with what is still a very impressive workrate for a 33 year old then you have one very effective football player. One I think worthy of a spot on this 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

Last edited by Bjørn; 11-03-2009 at 12:15 AM.
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Old 11-02-2009, 11:59 PM   #56
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Re: A list with plenty of thoughts on the 200 best soccer players in the world

this thread is a nice change of pace, its cool learning about players i didnt know much about previsouly. keep it bjorn
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Old 11-03-2009, 12:07 AM   #57
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Re: A list with plenty of thoughts on the 200 best soccer players in the world

This thread is awesome. Thanks a lot, Bjorn. For some reason, the picture of Sergio Ramos was really amusing.
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Old 11-03-2009, 12:11 AM   #58
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Re: The 200 best soccer players in the world

Thanks. I will try to quicken the pace (life and writing much more about Semak than I thought I would, kind of got in the way today..) but we'll see, I also want to try and maintain that at least most of the writeups will contain something interesting, and that usually means not being very short.
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Old 11-03-2009, 12:14 AM   #59
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Re: The 200 best soccer players in the world

Pepe is way too high is my first thought. I agree on the natural talent but he definitely has lapses where he is asleep at the wheel. The immediate example that comes to mind is getting caught ball watching and giving Jesus Navas a free shot at a header for the first Sevilla goal. The same Real Madrid caveat applies to him though. He would be better and maybe considered world class on a team like Inter.

I won't claim to be neutral but there are two Sevilla center backs I'd have ahead of Pepe. The main thing I wonder about is how important his strengths really are to the position. IMO they aren't important enough to overcome his shortcomings and have him as one of the best at the position.
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Old 11-03-2009, 12:23 AM   #60
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Re: The 200 best soccer players in the world

To answer the obvious question: yes I plan on arguing that every single Real Madrid player is too high
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