They adore adulation. They demand respect. They 'earn' more money in 1 year doing things that children do than 99% of adults make in a proper job in a lifetime. They've appeared in deodorant ads, pouted for magazine photo shoots, and given the big thumbs up as part of endorsement deals. Supermodel girlfriends, Lamborghini Diablos and 25 bedroom mansions are par for the course...But are they really that good?
This list is completely subjective. I'm sure people will vehemently disagree and nail a picture of me to their dartboard for target practice when all is said and done but I think its time someone stood up to these guys and told them what they really are - really overrated.
AKA.....'The Winker', 'A Complete Brat' (Eamonn Dunphy)
Personally I'm a big fan of Ronaldo. To take the flak of an entire nation after the 2006 World Cup (and his role in getting England's Wayne Rooney red carded) and then staying on at Man U, going on to score 42 goals in a single season takes a lot of self-belief...and talent.
He has lifted every single major piece of silverware it is possible to win as a player based in England by the age of 24 (ok, UEFA Cup aside, which I don't think he'd want to be involved in anyway given the choice). He has been nominated by his fellow professionals as 2 time PFA player and 1 time young payer of the year. All of which was probably deserved.
He is Figo's heir to the national side, and on course to have an even more legendary career.
But why is he on this list? Is it because he's a brat? Probably, his diving and free kicks from inside his own half, and all round meat-headedness becoming annoying after a while. But quite simply he is overrated simply because he won the Ballon D'or and FIFA World Player and Lionel Messi did not.
That's it really.
If Ronaldo is rated as the best player in the world over Messi, by definition he is overrated, but obviously by the highest standards available (to which I hold everyone on the list up against I should add).
AKA........'The best goalie this side of Buffon'
I've always suspected Cech of suffering from 'Edwin Van Der Sar' syndrome during his Chelsea career. That is, the outstanding clean sheet and defensive record (particularly under Jose Mourinho) could be attributed to a well organized and disciplined defense as opposed to any individual brilliance on his part.
Unlike, Van Der Sar however, Cech has been consistently hailed as the best keeper this side of Buffon. As 3 time winner of UEFA's best goalkeeper award I'd always assumed the guy playing in goal for the Czech Republic (and let's be honest a far poorer defense) was a less gifted twin brother.
Sadly not, in fact since his almost career ending injury Cech has begun to look a shadow of even his former self. He has unfortunately, through no fault of his own, lost the aggressive and psychological edge a world-class goalkeeper needs to command his area.
By all accounts Cech is unlike most people on this list, a humble and decent man, let's hope he can come back and regain the confidence that made him the most overrated goalkeeper in the world.
AKA......'Poldi', 'The Conqueror of Liechtenstein', 'The Scourge of the Faroe Islands'
Podolski is what some of the guys on AOE 3 (not that I'd know about something that nerdy, **cough**) would call a 'noob basher'. The guy is merciless when it comes to taking advantage of weaker opposing teams but will promptly take out the autograph notebook against strong to world class opponents mid game.
In fact even Bayern GM Uli Hoeness was moved to call him a noob basher, citing this as the reason the crown prince of German football was a failure in his 3 seasons there.
Looking at his international scoring record, just about the biggest team he has scored against is my own country, Ireland. At the time he scored that goal, my country was managed by a man probably who probably couldn't tell you his ass from his hand.
Poldi is the living proof that statistics can lie. His goal scoring record (Bayern aside) would make an uninformed observer believe he is world class. Unfortunately the Gilette Young Player of the year 2006 is not and probably never will be.
Maybe scoring hat tricks against Southern Yemen will count for something when he returns to Koln next season.
AKA........'The Fleet-footed Platypus', 'He who must party hard'
It is with sadness I add the once great and make no mistake, legend, to this list. His glittering career leading up to his horrible decline after the 2006 World Cup is well documented. What isn't well documented is why on earth Adriano Gailliani paid €21m for a clearly past it player.
Brazilians have a notorious self-destruction mode when it comes to careers nowadays and Ronaldinho is no exception. Some of the moments of 'class in a glass' as the great Ray Hudson would call it (which you can find a previously written article on by clicking on my name or picture) will never be forgotten (that sentence was typed with Ray's hilarious geordie accent in mind too).
But 'The Dinhio' is living on past memories as most top earning footballers seem to be nowadays and despite a Bronze Medal last year at the Olympics, few could be certain he will add significantly to his previous haul over the coming years.
I predict Milan not working out, a future at Manchester City, and when that doesn't work out either, the ol' Patrick Kluivert route to the bottom. How sad.
AKA...........'The Poster Boy of Everything good and bad and ugly about Serie A'
When Serie A and Italian football is on top of the world inevitably Pirlo gets a nod in the FIFA World Player or Ballon D'Or running. When Serie A is in the toilet, likewise Pirlo's reputation suffers. Why? Because the man impersonates alot of the charactistics of Serie A.
He is slow, languid, postioned defensively and while some parts of his game, like long passing and set pieces are top class, every other part of his game ranges from mediocore to rubbish. He even plays for a club that has a typical Italian attitude to match-fixing and politic-ing too.
From a technical standpoint he, like Carrick for Man U, and Xabi Alonso for Liverpool, is lacking in the close quarters technique that any complete midfielder should have in being able to navigate and create space in the middle of the park for his team. This means one must have a bulldog like Gattuso beside him or a magician like Kaka further up the pitch to make up for what should be provided in one player.
Thus he stoutly maintains himself 20 yards back from the battle in front of the back four, rarely busting a gut to get into the oppostion box. But even as a DM he lacks the work-rate (or more cyncially, the physique) to break up oppostition play either.
When Ancelotti pushed Pirlo further back on the pitch after Inter sold him, he did it because it was a recognition of his weaknesses, not his strengths.
Unlike Xabi Alonso, who gets the recognition he deserves (as a better version of Pirlo) and Carrick who gets hardly any recognition (which he deserves), Pirlo gets too much recognition.
I could really end up having my hands burned on this one but Real Madrid's €27m panic buy last transfer window is without doubt a a questionable decision to say the least, especially if previous Dutch scoring sensations track records since moving into stronger leagues suggest.
Dutch league top scorers are notoriously inept outside of Holland. Ask Mateja Kezman, Dirk Kuyt (yes, he used to score goals before becoming a right-wing hustler), and Middlesborough's Alfonso '45 goals in 39 games in the Eredivisie' Alves. Today they all more or less suck.
Why I think Huntelaar is particularly overrated is simply down to his general abilities in open play, he's very awkward and despite 8/14 in Spain so far I still think the jury is out until next season. Is he the new Van Basten? The technical ability seems lacking.
Apparently he is the only Dutchman Perez is willing to keep on at the club. But the omens don't look good, for one he was signed by Predrag Mijatovic, and more succintly he, like Podolski, looks a bit of a noob basher. As a Dutch international just about the biggest team he has scored against is Ireland - again with Steve 'I couldn't give a Scooby Doo' Staunton in charge at the time.
AKA...............................'The Emperor', 'The Booty Basher'
For a man that seems like he wouldn't have looked out of place on the set of the classic film 'City of God,' or been one of my sisters former boyfriends you'd think he would be happier being a multi-million euro earning professional footballer in a successful team under the world's best man to man coach.
Not so it seems.
Just 3-4 seasons ago Adriano was being hailed as the best thing since sliced bread. Like Ronaldinho, the World Cup was to prove ominous and like any other self respecting big shot Brazilian footballer, he took up his bags and went home to PAARTTT-AAAAYYYY.
The player is simply overrated. But unlike some of the others here on this list, not because he lacks the talent but because he doesn't show up to games. Therefore he is not worth the attention, money, time or effort. I'm sure many Inter fans will be agreeing with me when I say Adriano, for his sake and Inter's should probably go their seperate ways.
A reunion with Ronaldo, his former international teammate at Corinthians is beckoning. Oh how the sirens call to their prey!
AKA........................'The Bulgarian Hitman', 'Berby-Werby'
An enigma. His languid style has been praised and criticized in equal amounts and rarely does a player seem to divide supporters of his current club as Berba does. Even Ferguson must be having his doubts by now.
His club record for CSKA Sofia, Bayer Leverkusen, Tottenham have been top notch and his technical skill and class has been obvious throughout his career (believe it or not, as early as 2002 he played in the CL final - its not like he came out of the blue to make it big in England)
But even his own countrymen have a love/hate relationship with the guy: Voted 5 times Bulgarian player of the year (equaling the great Stoichkov) and boasting a wonderful 41/67 record for his national team he has recently been indefinitely exiled from the squad due to perceived 'lack of effort'.
And that's where the trouble begins....
Is Berbatov really fit to lead the Manchester United front line - It seems the answer is clearly 'only if he wants to'.
When one takes into the account an honest workhorse like Tevez, who rightly feels aggrieved at losing his place to Berba, its hard to fathom how Ferguson hasn't thrown a boot at him thus far.
The warning signs are there. Quite simply he looks thoroughly disinterested in the game in general nowadays, and that's even taking his notorious nature/posture/style into account. My own opinion having watched similar enormously talented bigshots piss away careers many a time now is that something off the pitch is bothering/distracting him.
Hopefully we won't have to wait until the inevitable career obituary or a News of the World expose to find out exactly what but two words should suffice for now: Adrian Mutu.
One thing's for sure as much as I personally rate Berbatov when he is on song he is at this stage one of the flops of the season and if he keeps up his behaviour it could become Dimi- 'tar and feather him' -ov before too long.
AKA...............................'Ibracadabra', 'The Best player in the World'
As one of top 2 best paid players in world football, Ibra has been constantly touted by those in Serie A as the 'complete forward' and even by his coach at Inter, Jose Mourinho as simply the best.
I'm not sold on this guy one bit. Once again we consult the international goalscoring charts to find a hogwash of countries he's scored against that are about the size of my back garden (or backyard as Americans say). Even taking goals against England, Spain and Italy into account his club record suggests serious noob basher material.
9/41 in the CL as part of teams that are supposedly better equipped than Ajax to supply the big man, Juventus and Inter, is clearly astonishing for such a player with a reputation like Ibra's. Although he has won Serie A's footballer of the year last season one really has to ask who he is up against nowadays over there in Italy.
This season he faces stiff competition from former Valencia and Monaco flop Marco Di Vaio for top scorer - surely an indication of decreasing standards in Serie A as opposed to individual brilliance - at least by the highest standards anyway.
At 27, time is running out for Ibra to prove he has something else in the locker. People like Jose Mourinho have apparently seen (or maybe want to see) in him things I haven't. His performances in the CL unfortunately have done nothing to dispel my theory that every brace or hat trick against the likes of Lecce or Atalanta is roughly the equivalent of 1/2 a goal in the champions league - even taking into account the slide in group stage standards over the past few years.
Right now he is somebody that gives noob bashers a bad name.
AKA.............................'Golden Balls', 'Becks', 'A Nice Guy'
Before people throw their hands up in disgust and decide to attach my picture to a dartboard I just want you to know that if you read my previous article on the guy (once again, just click on my picture or name) I genuinely think he's a great footballer, in fact very memorable, even just in terms of on the pitch reasons (who will forget his performance in my fave game of all time, the CL Qtr Final involving Man U and Real Madrid).
He's always struck me as a humble, decent and professional guy with a childlike fascination with representing his country. He's certainly not the worst guy you could meet on this list.
But everytime I think of Beckham I think of screaming Japanese teenage girls in airports...that awful Bend it Like Beckham movie....the Vogue etc magazine covers...the ridiculous €250m deal to sell t-shirts....rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous in LA....the list goes on and nothing on it has anything to do with the game that made him famous in the first place!
Beckham has become such a phenomenon off the pitch you would think he really was a movie or popstar. As I have argued before he is the most well known footballer arguably of all time, no player's face is as instantly recognizable anywhere in the free world (and especially unfree world).
But that has all nothing to do with his admittedly better than average footballing ability. It should come as no surprise that much of the demand for Beckham from clubs since he was sold by a despairing Alex Ferguson has been rooted in at least as much commercial reasons as footballing ones -and that's not being cynical to marketing and businessmenn Alexei Lalas, Silvio Berlusconi and Florentino Perez who went on to acquire his 'services'/or as argued, brand.
I guess I'm kind of dissappointed that the world's best sport will forever be associated with David Beckham for hundreds of millions of people that don't know much about it. If Beckham was the man to finally make soccer big in the US, I can only imagine most of the newly acquired fans there would surely have been getting into football for the wrong reasons.