It’s the end of the year. A popular time for various press publications to make “Best Of 2007″-type rankings.
The Times (UK) did the Best 100 movies of 2007, the New York Times the 10 Best Books of 2007, mCalcio.com the Reuters (RNPS) Best Sports Pictures of 2007 (oh what a shameless plug from my part), and Time Magazine the Top 50 Websites of 2007 (no, unfortunately mCalcio isn’t in the list :) ).
Meanwhile newspapers like The Sun, or magazines like FourFourTwo, have been making Top 10 rankings all year long really (see Top 10 English Soccer Entertainers, Top 100 Footballers, or Richest Players/Club Owners of Premiership Soccer, among others).
So, it’s time for French sports newspaper L’Equipe to join the others, and name its All-Star XI Football Players for 2007. Premiership fans will be pleased, because the team is dominated by English-based lads.
Quoting the Goal.com review article:
In total 7 players from the ‘Top 4′ in England make the list, with only 2 from Spain and 2 from Italy respectively.
Juventus number one Gianluigi Buffon is chosen between the sticks, while the defence is made up of Sevilla’s Daniel Alves, Manchester Utd duo Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra, and somewhat surprisingly William Gallas of Arsenal, a player who missed much of last season through injury.
In midfield the English dominance continues with Cesc Fàbregas, Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool symbol Steven Gerrard. There is also a place for European and World Footballer of the Year Kaká.
Up-front Chelsea’s Didier Drogba is paired with Real Madrid’s Ruud Van Nistelrooy.
As always, a word of wisdom with such lists should inevitably be that they are highly subjective. In fact, I defy anyone here to agree on all 11 of these choices, but there are certainly a few players cited by L’Équipe which raise some eyebrows. I’ll get you started with some very pertinent issues raised by our friend RomaChris, over @ TheOffside.com:
- Drogba? Really? He’s had 12 goals in the Premiership in the last 12 months, with a smattering in the various Prem competitions and 5 in the Champions League (whoopdedo). You could certainly do better than a goal a month in the league striker for one of the two best players at the position over a year.
- So where’s Francesco Totti? Last time I checked he won the European Golden Boot. 9 goals in 10 league games this year and 24 in 28 over the 12 months. Yes, I’m biased [Chris is an ardent Roma supporter], but it goes far beyond rooting interests when you omit the guy who led Europe in scoring and his league in assists. No one in the world can match the productivity of Totti. Pretty asinine.
- Rumor has it Lionel Messi and Andrea Pirlo have been doing alright as well. Pirlo, despite my love for him, has a more difficult argument just because it’s nearly impossible to dismiss Cesc and/or Stevie G, who has been making en fuego look like a frosty night in the Arctic over the past two months. As far as Messi goes, they couldn’t have used a 3-4-3 just to get him into the equation? It’s not as though this team would ever see the pitch. Who deserves to be on an all-world team more, Patrice Evra or The Messiah?
- Buffon is a tough inclusion because half of this year was spent in Serie B doing penance, but he is clearly the best keeper in the world so…who knows. And that back line? Plenty of options to make an argument for. (Philip Lahm, Sergio Ramos, Ricardo Carvalho. Just a start.)
The comments section eagerly awaits your opinions. Fire away!