Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
50: Luka Modric
Everyone at Spurs loves Luka, despite him rocking the long hair/short order cook hairband combo which would be fine if he didn’t have the mug of Napoleon Dynamite. He’s like one of those kids in high school who wears too short jeans that show his dad’s old argyle socks, but who you know will slaughter every exam and when he gets to college, will probably hobnob over drinks with his professors.
Since he joined Tottenham in 2008, he’s never been one to rack up impressive or even passable goal/assist numbers, but his importance to the team cannot be understated. He is the quintessential deep-lying playmaker, always on the second/third assist, and forever making the pass that sets the wheels in motion.
49: Luis Suarez
I’m really excited for the future of the Suarez/Carroll partnership at Liverpool. The nimble Suarez has an air of unpredictability and improvisation about him that would, on paper at least, dovetail well with Carroll’s traditional target man approach. Or at least that’s what Liverpool fans keep telling us to convince themselves that they didn’t just waste an all time great piece of transfer business (the Torres deal) on a 22-year-old with 11 Premier League goals to his name. For now, Suarez was the only good deal for the buyer in the Torres transfer domino sequence this past January.
48: Giuseppe Rossi
Rossi deserves more recognition, given that he is the one player keeping Villarreal from slipping into mid-table obscurity. Until this season, the Italian has always played slightly within himself, but he has exploded, crossing the 30 goal barrier for the Yellow Submarines.
47: Dimitar Berbatov
Is there a player that better encapsulates this erratic Premier League season than Dimitar Berbatov? He has been brilliant at times, yet still gives you the occasional lemon of a performance and now can’t get into the Manchester United team. Incredibly, the league’s top scorer is facing an uncertain future. Regardless, his 21 EPL goals have largely filled the goals gap created by Wayne Rooney’s fluctuations in much the same way that Rooney did last season for the departed Ronaldo. He is one of the more intelligent players in the league, even though he looks for all the world like he can’t be bothered. In truth, this is probably the persona becoming of a man who taught himself English by watching the Godfather trilogy. Berbatov has become more consistent, but it still would not be out of place to call him inconsistent, as strange as that sounds. He started the race well, but the baton has been passed to number 37 on this list.
46: Victor Valdes
Valdes still divides opinion across Spanish football. His impressive concentration and reflexes are vital for a Barcelona keeper, since they will be spectators for the majority of any given match. Also, his "sweeper keeper" routine helps to clear up any loose ends that breach Barcelona’s high defensive line. But his positioning is still very suspect and has almost cost his team dear this season.