First of all, I would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas! After a short break, the Top 100 list will be continued the upcoming week and the Top 100 Players countdown today will be from 50th-41st place on our chart. There is one thing that almost every normal football fan has in common; that common thing is the hatred of Sepp Blatter and FIFA on the whole. After winning this year’s presidential elections to remain in charge of FIFA, this came by default after his only challenger Mohammed Bin Hammam withdrew from the race after claims of bribery. Blatter decided to go through with these scrutinized dictatorial elections, despite calls from the English FA amongst others for him to postpone them. Commonly known for not thinking before he speaks, Blatter’s reputation went lower than ever before by saying the following quote about racism ‘The one who is affected… he should say that this is a game, we are in a game, and at the end of the game, we shake hands.’ After everyone’s hard work to remove racism from the game, he comes out with a quote like this with could undo all the campaigning done so far. If racism can be ‘sorted out’ by a handshake, Blatter could ‘sort out’ FIFA by resigning with a handshake. Now let’s get cracking on with the countdown from 50-41.
Givanildo Vieira de Souza or more commonly known as ‘Hulk’ due to his resemblance to actor Lou Ferrigno and his stocky build. His strength, acceleration, powerful shot and unselfish play has seen him been linked to a number of clubs but Porto have managed to hold on to him by tying him down to a contract until 2016. With 36 goals and 21 assists in 53 games in all competitions last season and 12 goals and 9 assists in 21 games this season in all tournaments, it shows how important he is to the Europa League champions as he leads the attack by both scoring and creating lots of goals.
It was in no doubt that Palermo would lose their Argentine playmaker Javier Pastore come the end of the season, but no-one expected him to go to French side PSG in a £33 million pound move. In 44 games for the Sicily club last season, Pastore grabbed 14 goals and assisted 7 goals in all matches and he has impressed at PSG with 7 goals and 4 assists in 22 games in all competitions so far. He has won admiration from many coaches, including Arsene Wenger, who said ’I like Javier Pastore because he has a lot of talent, but also because he has a kind of natural and mental elegance.’
48-Neven Subotic—Borussia Dortmund—Serbia—Defender
Subotic was instrumental to Dortmund’s title win last season after being a key part of a solid defence which only conceded 22 goals in 34 games. His form saw Chelsea unsuccessfully try to sign him as they aimed to fix their faulty defence. He had the choice to play international football for Bosnia, USA, Germany and Serbia and Subotic decided to play for the latter but has yet to convince the Serbian public of his ability. He also has a good scoring record for a defender as he averages a goal every fourteen games due to his good heading ability.
47-Gareth Bale—Tottenham Hotspur—Wales—Midfielder
Many will be surprised that Bale isn’t higher in the Top 100 but he is in this position because even though he is a quality player, his ability is often overrated by many. Like Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, Bale is one of many wingers to have come through the Southampton academy. He is now exceeding the promise he showed at Southampton and is an integral part of the Tottenham side. After 16 matches, Bale has got 6 goals and 6 assists in all competitions this season and this form shows why the likes of Barcelona want to sign the Welshman.
It is hard to believe that only four years ago that Rami was was playing in the 4th division of French football. Now he is a regular starter for both his club Valencia and his country of France after helping Lille to win the Ligue 1 title last season as he formed a strong centre back partnership with Aurelien Chedjou. Valencia then snapped up Rami for an undisclosed fee believed to be between £6-10 million pounds and he has adjusted with ease to life in La Liga. He rejected the chance to play for his parent’s homeland of Morocco as he was desperate to play international football for France.
45-Karim Benzema—Real Madrid—France—Striker
It wasn’t long ago when Jose Mourinho was criticizing the France international Karim Benzema for not scoring enough and his initial struggles at the club saw Mourinho ask the club many times for a new striker to be signed. However, the former Lyon man has come of age as he got 26 goals and 9 assists in 48 matches last season and 12 goals and 6 assists in 19 matches in all competitions this season. The striker of Algerian descent has also become a key part of the France national team and he will probably be the Les Bleus main attacking threat at the upcoming Euro 2012.
44-Arjen Robben—Bayern Munich—Holland—Midfielder
Robben has struggled with injuries over the last few years which have seen his starts for Bayern Munich limited to 29 appearances, in which he has scored 19 goals for the Bavarian side. He is now showing the type of form which h showed during his early days at Chelsea and providing he stays injury free, he will be a key player for Bayern in the years to come. He was also at the centre of an argument between Bayern Munich and Holland after the winger picked up a serious hamstring injury on international duty.
43-Sergio Ramos—Real Madrid—Spain—Defender
It is hard to believe that Sergio Ramos is only 25 years old as he has been a pinnacle of the Real Madrid defence for the last 6 years, in which he has played 285 times for the capital club. Ramos is seen as one of the World’s most complete defenders due to his versatility as he can play at either right back or centre back. He is also good a threat going forward with the defender getting 2 goals and 4 assists in 23 games so far in all competitions. He is bound to get 100 caps for Spain in the near future and he is currently on 82 caps, scoring 6 goals in the process.
42-Nemanja Vidic—Manchester United—Serbia—Defender
The latter part of 2011 wasn’t great for the centre back as he retired from international football for Serbia after they failed to qualify for Euro 2012 and an injury against Basel saw him ruled out for the rest of the 2011-2012 season. His achievements the previous season cannot be overlooked as his form saw Manchester United win the Premier League title and finish runners up in the Champions League final. He also has a reputation as a goal scorer as he got 5 goals last season, including a memorable diving header which was the equalizer in stoppage time against Aston Villa.
Joao Moutinho’s move from Sporting Lisbon to Porto at the start of the 2010-2011 season was much criticized but he proved all his doubters wrong with a mesmerising season at Porto. He was the playmaker in Porto’s Liga Sagres and Europa League victories and he was linked to moves at both Chelsea and Manchester United. His Portugal teammate Pepe said of Moutinho that “He is a great player as well and he has a lot to give to Porto and Portuguese football.” He got 2 goals and 7 assists in 53 matches last season and he has got 2 goals and 6 assists in 21 matches so far this season.
Thanks for reading the Top 100 so far from the players ranked 50th-41st on the list. We are halfway through on the rankings and we go into the top 50. Please comment on what you think so far and if you think some players are being underrated or perhaps the opposite, tell me what you think. The next instalment of players ranked from 50th-41st will be uploaded on Wednesday.
Also, can you sign this petition to help Barnet FC stay at Underhill for the foreseeable future as they have been told by the Football League they can’t stay there next season due to Barnet Council’s pathetic stipulations and hypocrisy. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/keeping-barnet-fc-at-underhill/