25 Greediest Players in World Football

Samuel Marsden@@samuelmarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2013

25 Greediest Players in World Football

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    One of the more intriguing features of football is that there is no right or wrong way to play it.

    In recent years many have felt the blueprint of Spain and Barcelona is the only way to play, but recent results suggest other tactics can be just as effective.

    Some players display their brilliance by reading the game and defending bravely, others by scoring 30-plus goals a season and a select few by dazzling with their ability to beat a man. This list focuses on the latter.

    People often regard "greedy" as a negative, but if you're good enough to beat two men and get a shot off, why not?

    So don't be too offended if your favorite player features on this rundown—just because a player can be greedy it doesn't mean they are all the time, nor does it lessen their ability as a player.

    Quite the opposite, in fact. In the history of the game, all the best players have had an element of greediness that accelerated them to the top.

    As you'll see, most of these players play in the best leagues in the world. They play in them for a reason too...

25. Fredy Guarin (Inter)

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    The 26-year-old Colombian was a summer signing from Porto, and the attacking midfielder has settled in quite quickly in Italy.

    Although he does enjoy a dribble—72 in total this season—he's been dispossessed 47 times (via whoscored.com). 

24. Diego (Wolfsburg)

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    The Brazilian playmaker returned to Wolfsburg this season following a successful loan spell at Atletico Madrid last year.

    He's become the main man on the German's side.

    Nobody in the Bundesliga has attempted more dribbles—102 (via whoscored.com)—but he does have five assists to show for those winding runs.

23. Alessandro Diamanti (Bologna)

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    Like Leo Baptistao before, Alessandro Diamanti is one of Europe's most culpable when it comes to losing possession.

    The 29-year-old Italian embarks on 3.14 dribbles per game but finds himself dispossessed, on average, 2.82 times every game (via whoscored.com).

22. Nathan Dyer (Swansea)

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    Nathan Dyer squeezes onto this list because of his behavior in the League Cup final at the end of February.

    The Swansea winger was so desperate to take a penalty for his own glory that he started acting like a 12-year-old when he didn't get his own way. Check out the clip.

21. Gareth Bale (Tottenham)

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    Without doubt the most in form player in the Premier League at the moment is Tottenham's Welsh international Gareth Bale.

    Part of this has been down to his new found ability to take more shots.

    With 16 Premier League goals and just one assist, it's evident he's now shooting when in the past he may have passed.

20. Andre Schurrle (Bayer Leverkusen)

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    Bayer Leverkusen's Andre Schurrle is one of those players that managers would encourage to go out there a beat a man.

    The 22-year-old attempts nearly four dribbles a match and has eight goals and six assists to show for his efforts (via whoscored.com).

19. Lucas Moura (PSG)

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    PSG beat off some tough competition to secure the arrival of highly rated Brazilian Lucas Moura, who is only 20 years old.

    Being so young, he does have some flaws. Once at Sao Paulo his manager criticized his selfishness, so Moura spent the next game passing the ball as soon as he received it (via Unibet).

18. Erik Lamela (Roma)

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    Roma's 20-year-old Argentinian forward is enjoying a fine season in Serie A. He's already scored 11 goals so far.

    He's not afraid to run at defenders when there may be better options either, averaging over three dribbles every game (via whoscored.com).

17. Fernandinho (Shakhtar Donetsk)

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    Shakhtar Donetsk have been one of the best teams to watch in this season's edition of the Champions League.

    Fernandinho is one of the main reasons why.

    He's exciting to watch and never afraid to run at opponents, but his lack of assists suggest his decision making may need some adjusting.

16. Aliaksandr Hleb (BATE Borisov)

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    The former Arsenal, Barcelona and Inter wide man can now be found in his native Belarus displaying his ability to hold on to the ball. 

    At 31 years old, his game still seems largely the same.

    The fact he was dispossessed an average of four times in every Champions League game is testament to that (via whoscored.com).

15. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

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    In the recent meeting between Real Madrid and Barcelona the difference has absolutely been Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Approaching 200 shots this season (via whoscored.com), he's never afraid to shift on to his right foot and pull the trigger from pretty much anywhere inside the opposition's half.

14. Jermain Defoe (Tottenham)

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    When Jermain Defoe gets the ball there's one question in his mind—"Can I get a shot away?"

    And that's not a bad thing for a striker, as the 30-year-old's goal tally throughout his career will prove. 

13. Carlos Alberto (Vasco De Gama)

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    A Champions League winner with Porto in 2004, Carlos Alberto is now playing back in Brazil with Vasco de Gama.

    The 28-year-old remains volatile though, answering to no one and more likely to try and win a match on his own.

12. Isco (Malaga)

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    Isco has just signed a new deal at Malaga and is thought to be wanted by a host of Europe's top clubs (via TalkSport).

    To match the likes of David Silva and Juan Mata though, he'll have to stop running into trouble. He's averaging nearly three unsuccessful dribbles every game (via whoscored.com)

11. Robinho (AC Milan)

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    It's hard to believe that Robinho is 29 years old. He's also largely restricted to the fringes of the AC Milan starting lineup, too.

    That said, it's easy to remember his Real Madrid and Manchester City days when he was always keen to hold onto the ball and beat a man—often in the name of entertainment.

10. Jonathan Biabiany (Parma)

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    The 24-year-old French winger has drawn plaudits this season for his roaming runs down Parma's right side.

    He has averaged nearly four dribbles a game playing a central forward, right forward and also as a more defensive right midfielder (via whoscored.com).

9. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

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    Lionel Messi's game is nowhere near being just about greediness, but when it comes to beating a man, scoring a vital goal or lifting your team, the Argentinian is more than capable. Obviously.

    He's embarked on over 100 dribbles this season, is approaching 200 shots and has 48 goals and 11 assists (via whoscored.com).

8. Frank Ribery (Bayern Munich)

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    Frank Ribery is another example of a player channeling his ability to beat a man in way which is beneficial to his team.

    With 4.8 dribbles per game, no other player averages more in Europe. The end result of those runs are impressive too—the Frenchman has contributed five goals and nine assists this season. 

7. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)

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    Already boasting Manchester City and Chelsea on his relatively young CV, Daniel Sturridge moved to Liverpool in the January transfer window.

    Upon his arrival, a Liverpool blog expressed their concern over signing a player they described as "selfish, greedy and unaware." 

6. Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle United)

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    When Hatem Ben Arfa scores a goal like this, Alan Pardew must be tempted to tell him to never pass again.

    However, it doesn't always end in a goal.

    This season, Ben Arfa loses possession 8.54 times per game on average and is dispossessed 3.23 times (via whoscored.com).

5. Ryan Babel (Ajax)

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    Following spells with Liverpool and Hoffenheim, Ryan Babel has returned to Ajax in Holland.

    The overwhelming feeling was one of frustration from his spells in England and Germany, with neither club able to iron out the discrepancies that held back his talent—namely his decision-making when it came to passing.

4. Ricardo Quaresma (Al Ahli Dubai)

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    The Portguese winger is still only 29, but has found himself in Dubai after failing to make an impression at Inter or Chelsea.

    He did have two years recently at Besiktas which went OK, but the ball-hogging nature of his game has frustrated many a manager.

3. Adel Taarabt (QPR)

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    Moments of genius are often overshadowed by moments of frustration, and that is probably why Tottenham allowed him to leave.

    The 23-year-old Moroccan has four goals and the same number of assists so far this season, but you can't help feel that second number should be much higher. 

2. Luis Suarez (Liverpool)

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    Luis Suarez is not just Liverpool's best player, but he also has a strong claim to being the best player in the Premier League.

    Without his individuality and greediness—no player in Europe averages more unsuccessful dribbles or loses possession more (via whoscored.com)—Liverpool wouldn't even be in the top 10 in the league table.

1. Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)

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    Arjen Robben always has, and always will be, one of the most infuriatingly greedy players in World football.

    It adds to his charm and brilliance at times, but could a bit of selflessness won Bayern Munich the Champions League last season?