FIFA/FIFPro World XI: Andrea Pirlo and Others Who Should Have Been Included
The latest FIFA/FIFPro World XI of 2012 does not do adequate justice to the ones who worked tirelessly the last season. A majority of players simply did not warrant inclusion.
Although the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta were deserving candidates, the FIFA/FIFPro World XI snubbed too many brilliant players.
Here’s my personal World XI.
It seems that it was his reputation that helped him clinch the award more than anything; Iker Casillas was nowhere near his best last season, and, bar a handful of outstanding performances, was nothing more than ordinary.
Keepers like Manuel Neuer and even Michel Vorm were exceptional last season, but given that the likes of Vorm and Tim Krul are always overlooked for such awards, it was no glaring surprise.
However, two candidates should have been favoured instead—either Joe Hart or Petr Cech.
The former was excellent all year round, and the latter’s heroics ensured that the Champions League went to London in 2012. My personal pick would have been Petr Cech. Domestically, he struggled in the first half of the 2011/12 season, and it could have been pinned down to Andre Villas-Boas’ impact upon the team.
But in 2012, Cech was simply exceptional. He was solid in goal, especially in the Champions League, and determined who would be crowned the Champions of Europe.
Dani Alves should have been nowhere near the list. Instead, Philipp Lahm should have been the candidate. Exceptional for both Bayern Munich and Germany, whom he led to the finals of the Champions League and the semi-finals of the Euro 2012, Lahm should’ve been included.
Mats Hummels and Vincent Kompany both had a stellar campaign last season. Hummels and Kompany both won the league with their respective clubs and were stalwarts in defence.
Hummels also had a solid Euro 2012 campaign, and bar that one blip against Italy, was one of the best players in Poland/Ukraine.
I would have picked Ashley Cole on account of his performances both at the league level and inspiring Chelsea to go all the way in the Champions League last season.
Had it not been for Ashley Cole’s determined attitude, Chelsea would not have had the courage to rally up against Barcelona. He was the one man who remained resolute, and after Andres Iniesta’s second goal in the second leg, no Chelsea player seemed to have the desire to continue anymore except Cole.
However, such performances were not rare all season. Cole put in a consistent shift all season round and demonstrated why he was considered one of the best left-backs of all time.
Xabi Alonso and Andres Iniesta were both solid picks, although Arturo Vidal would also have been a notable candidate. Both Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger were also exceptional.
However, Xavi should not have been included. Not to take anything away from him, but other players were simply much better.
The most deserving candidate was Andrea Pirlo.
For Juventus, he orchestrated the entire play, putting in superb performances one after the other. And during the Euro 2012, he dragged an inferior Italy side all the way through to the finals. Splendid performances against England and Germany ensured that Italy would indeed proceed to the finals.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are obvious inclusions, and while Radamel Falcao was also worthy of the inclusion, my personal pick would have been Robin van Persie.
The Dutchman led a much-weakened Arsenal side to a third-place finish, and although his performances in the international level were a bit lacking, his domestic performances were nothing short of extraordinary. For a person who nearly beat Alan Shearer’s longstanding record of most goals in a year, a place in the World XI would be deserved.
Follow me on Twitter: @BrenGoetze
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