World Football: All-Star XI, The Best Players By Position, So Far This Year
The NFL and NHL, just had their respective All-Star games on Sunday. The NBA's All star weekend is rapidly approaching in Los Angeles in just a few weeks time. It got me thinking of what a first team eleven would look like if the best footballers in Europe were awarded a spot on a UEFA All-Star roster.
Why does UEFA not have highly publicized games and awards like this until after the season? There's no doubt the game would be fascinating and the entire world would be glued to their TVs, (if they make it happen). So with the January transfer window closing yesterday, and the season more than half way over, this would be a great time for UEFA to take a page from major American sports and have an All-Star line-up at or around mid-season. Here's who would make up the "first team, or all star squad" in a 4-4-2 formation, based on the best players at their position so far this year, including the manager and substitutes.
G: Iker Casillas
No debate for this position. "Saint Iker" is the best keeper on the planet, and has been for years. He's the youngest keeper to play in, (and win) the Champions League final. He won Euro in 2008, and he received a pair of FIFA golden gloves after he helped his beloved "la furia roja" to their first World Cup trophy last year. His quickness and anticipation put him in a class by himself.
RB: Douglas Sisenando (Maicon)
Maicon is the best right back in the world. He is a dynamic defender with blistering pace. He has the unique ability to influence games because he is such a threat on counter attacks; especially down the flanks whilst being a hard-nosed defender, who is never caught out of position. He has had a good year so far at San Siro after winning the historic treble with "the Special One'' last season. He is a clutch performer that has a tendency to show up in the biggest games, not just for his club, but also for Brazil.
CB: Giorgio Chiellini
The 26 year old is next in a long line of illustrious Italian central defenders. He has the size and skill to dictate games from the back line for Juventus and his country. He's not on the score sheet often, but he has won Serie A "Defender of the Year" for three straight years.
CB: Lucimar Ferreira Da Silva (Lucio)
Lucio is a seasoned veteran. He has ninety-six caps for Brazil and has already started thirty five games this season for Inter.He only has one goal this year in Serie A, but his leadership and experience make him indispensable. Lucio may be the most consistent and reliable defender in the world.
LB: Philipp Lahm
Patrice Evra is always consistent, in addition to Ashley Cole always being in the discussion, but Philipp Lahm is the best Left back in the world. He has the unbelievable talent to play either full back position flawlessly. Lahm is the captain of Germany, and always elevates his game in big competitions. He has started in twenty games in the Bundesliga so far this season and has three goals for a Bayern Munich team poised to make another run at the Champions League, after losing last year in the Final to Inter in Madrid. The twenty-seven year old is one of the most underrated players in the world.
RW/ F: Cristiano Ronaldo De Santos Aveiro
CR7. Love him or hate him, he's arguably the best player in the world, and has the hardware to prove it. It remains to be seen if "Los Blancos" can catch Barca at the summit of the La Liga table but you can't blame Ronnie...He has scored twenty-two goals in just twenty-one La Liga starts this year, and is on pace to win the prestigious Pachichi award.
CM'S: Andres Iniesta Lujan & Xavi Hernandez
Some things just go together: peanut butter and jelly, milk and cookies, Xavi and Iniesta.The two best play-making midfielders in the world, no question. They have literally have won everything together and have grown tremendously from the Barca youth system. They have flourished under the tutelage of Pep. No statistics necessary to justify their place in this team.
LW/ F : Lionel Andres Messi
Twenty-one goals in eighteen games in La Liga this season, thirty-five goals in all competitions.The twenty-three year old Argentine just won his second consecutive Balon D' Or. Placing him in very exclusive historical company. Arguably the best player in the world, enough said.
F: Dimitar Ivanov Berbatov
The silky smooth Man United striker has had a phenomenal season. So far Berbatov already has nineteen goals in twenty EPL games. His presence up front has been pivotal to United's title bid after Wayne Rooney's on and off the field struggles earlier in the year. The Bulgarian's unbelievable technical ability and touch passing is remarkable, but can he keep this form up for the remainder of the season?
F: Edinson Roberto Cavani Gomez
Edinson Cavani is quietly having the surprise breakout season in all of European football. The twenty-three year old Uruguayan has already amassed seventeen goals in twenty-two Serie A games, leading the league. He is single-handedly keeping Napoli in second place; nipping at AC Milan's heels, just five points back with a game in hand. Cavani played well in the World Cup in 2010, but was overshadowed by his teammate Diego Forlan, who won the Golden Ball. If Edinson can keep this form this is no doubt he will be more of a house hold name and the subject of transfer speculation for many years to come.
Manager: Sir Alexander Chapman Ferguson
Another extraordinary effort from Sir Alex this season. United is undefeated in league play, and leading the EPL by five points with a plus thirty-two goal differential. Love him or hate him, you have to respect what he's done this year without splashing any cash and having Danny Walback at Sunderland on loan. The youngsters have responded, and Fergie has United in prime position to win their twelfth Premiership title while he's been at the helm.
Bench : Substitutes For The 1st Team
M: Gareth Bale
M: Rafael Van Der Vaart
Collectively they have Spurs in fifth place in the EPL, with eighteen goals combined. The Welshman has shown there's nothing he can't do this season, and Rafa has adjusted well in London. Harry Redknapp has to be pleased.
M: Samir Nasri - Nine goals and an assist in twenty EPL games this year. Invaluable during Cesc and RVP absence. Has helped the Gunners become just five points back of United and looking to bring the Premiership title for the first time since 2004-2005 season.
F: Carlos Tevez - fourteen goals, five assists in twenty one games this season.Huge impact on City being in third place fighting to remain in a critical Champions League spot.
F: Zlatan Ibrahimovic - Back at the San Siro, (this time in red and black) flawless transition. Thirteen goals, eight assists in twenty appearances in Serie A this season. AC Milan is in first place by five points.
CD: Carlos Puyol - captain of Spain and Barca, terrific leader and ferocious competitor, another solid year.
G: Julio Cesar - The Brazilian is absolutely outstanding. Buffon has passed the proverbial torch in Serie A goalkeeping standards.