This is the seventh instalment of the Top 100 Players countdown from 70th-61st place on our chart, which will be completed on New Year’s Eve. To start the blog, I thought I would give my view on the best managers in 2011. It is in no doubt that the World’s best manager is Barcelona’s Pep Guardiola as he continues to improve what is thought to be the best club side ever. Jose Mourinho is unlucky that his Real Madrid side has to contend with Barcelona in both La Liga and the Champions League. Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp, AC Milan’s Massimiliano Allegri and Lille’s Rudi Garcia managed their sides to respective and somewhat unexpected league victories in their countries. Andre Villas Boas deserves credit for an almost faultless first full season in management at Porto before leaving for Chelsea. Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson continues to do what he does best while his team’s rivals Manchester City have gone to the top of the Premier League under the leadership of Roberto Mancini. Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has turned the London side from contenders for Champions League qualification to title contenders. Holland’s Bert Van Maarwijk, Germany’s Joachim Loew and Spain’s Vicente Del Bosque have continued to improve their national teams, while France’s Laurent Blanc and Italy’s Cesare Prandelli have helped to sort out their national teams. Finally Uruguay’s Oscar Tabarez gets a well deserved mention after helping his country to win their 15th Copa America title. Now let’s get cracking with the countdown from 40th-31st.
Despite many people thinking that Valdes is the weak link in the Barcelona side but I disagree with this opinion. The 2010-2011 season saw Valdes play 32 games in La Liga and he only conceded 16 goals in the process, which shows he conceded a measly average of 0.5 goals a game and he has the same average for this season in La Liga in 16 matches so far. Valdes is unlucky that Spain produces such an array of quality goalkeepers, such as Iker Casillas and Pepe Reina because Valdes would be the undisputed first choice for almost every other nation in the World. He has made 430 appearances for Barcelona in nine seasons at the club, keeping 202 clean sheets in the process.
Marchisio is often called the ‘De Rossi of Turin’ due to his similar style of play to Roma’s Daniele De Rossi and the fact he is playing for his home town club. This nickname however could be forgotten because under the new management of Antonio Conte at Juventus, he has become a playmaker which has seen the player win plaudits for his performances this season. So far this season, Marchisio has got 7 goals and an assist in 16 games and last season in a more defensive position, he got 4 goals and 4 assists in 41 games. Other than a change of management and position, Marchisio said another reason for his good form is that “The truth is that Juve always believed in me.”
38-Franck Ribery—Bayern Munich—Germany—Midfielder
Ribery claims to be back to his ‘career best form’ under new Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes and the stats back that claim up. This is because this season the Frenchman has got 10 goals and 10 assists in 21 matches in all competitions so far. The season before Ribery got an impressive 11 goals and 21 assists in 31 matches in all competitions. He is described by UEFA as “a crowd-pleaser – one of those rare breed of footballer capable of enjoying his talents while expressing them.” The only negative aspect of Franck Ribery is that he is quite injury prone as he picks up injuries on either a serious or a minor scale frequently throughout his time at Bayern.
Marek Hamsik is an idol to the fans of both his club Napoli and his country of Slovakia, of which he is captain of the national team at the age of 24. He has also won the 2009 and 2010 Slovakian player of the year award. For Napoli he is seen as the creator in a side full of attacking talent and he has formed a brilliant partnership with Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani. This season, Hamsik has scored 7 goals in 22 matches in all competitions and last season he got 13 goals in 49 games in all competitions. He has been linked to many teams due to his form for Napoli but he is unlikely to leave the club due to him being settled at the Serie A ‘cult club’.
36-Edin Dzeko—Manchester City—Bosnia and Herzegovina—Striker
How an opinion of a player can change quickly. After a £27 million pound move from Wolfsburg, Dzeko struggled initially and got 6 goals in his first 21 matches for the club, of which only 2 of those where in the Premier League. This season has seen a change in Dzeko as his fitness improved and he became more used to the Premier League style, he has became one of the Premier League’s most feared strikers. This season he has got 10 goals in 14 matches so far and this includes 4 goals away to Tottenham and doubles away to both Manchester United and Wolves. He is a major player in the Bosnia national team which narrowly missed out on qualification for Euro 2012.
35-Klaas Jan Huntelaar—Schalke—Holland—Striker
After lacklustre spells at Real Madrid and AC Milan, some doubted whether Dutch striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar could play in a major European league. After an average debut season with Schalke, in which he got 13 goals in 35 games in all competitions, this season has seen the striker show what he is really capable of. 26 goals in 26 matches so far in all competitions is a record that any striker would be proud of. He was linked to Manchester United, of which Huntelaar said “I know nothing of the alleged interest. I will not even speculate and I am concentrating fully on Schalke.” He was also top scorer of the Euro 2012 qualification campaign with Huntelaar getting 12 goals in 10 matches.
34-Radamel Falcao—Atletico Madrid—Colombia—Striker
Falcao gained a £36 million pound move to Atletico Madrid after a brilliant season at Porto. He formed an impressive partnership upfront with Hulk as he scored 16 goals in 22 league matches for the club. He was at his best in the Europa League though as he scored a stunning 18 goals in 16 matches as Porto won the tournament. He struggles to produce his best form for his country of Colombia as he got 2 goals in 4 Copa America matches; both of those goals came in the win against Bolivia but he missed a crucial penalty in their quarter final exit against Peru. He has proved to be money well spent for Atletico so far with 12 goals in 18 matches in all competitions.
33-Rafael Van Der Vaart—Tottenham Hotspur—Holland—Midfielder
The Dutch attacking midfielder Rafael Van Der Vaart is a major part of the Tottenham side who are trying to compete for the Premier League title this season. He has got 7 goals in 17 matches this season and he got 15 goals in 36 matches this season. He plays an integral role in the side due to his brilliant passing and shooting skills and he has an air of Dennis Bergkamp in him due to his skill. Despite being deemed a failure at Real Madrid, he is showing Tottenham fans the form he showed during his Hamburg days. He is possibly the best player that transfer genius Harry Redknapp has signed as they managed to get him for bargain price of £8 million pounds.
Some people consider Neymar to be on par, if not better than Lionel Messi. This theory cannot be tested until the youngster moves to a major club in the next few years, with Real Madrid, Chelsea and Barcelona amongst others keen on the wacky Brazilian. With 24 goals and 9 assists in 47 matches in all competitions this year for Santos, it is easy to tell that Neymar might just be too good for the ever improving Brazilian Campaenato Serie A. Neymar was sent off this season after a celebration which saw him put a mask with a face of himself on. He has also got 8 goals in 15 matches for Brazil and his seen by many as a figurehead of the side in the years to come.
Daniel Alves record at Barcelona can often be misinterpreted for one of a winger’s. This is because of his impressive assists record as he links up brilliantly on the right hand side with the Argentine magician Lionel Messi. This season Alves has got 1 goal and 11 assists in 23 matches so far and last season he got 4 goals and 20 assists in 54 matches in all competitions. Alves was criticized for his part in getting Pepe sent off in the Champions League semi final after he seemingly went over too easily after a tackle by the Portuguese centre back. He only made 2 appearances at the Copa America for Brazil in the draws against Venezuela and Paraguay.
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/
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