2011 World Soccer Team of the Year
As 2011 winds down, let's make a world football team of the year.
Rather than have a team stacked with Barcelona and Real Madrid players, we'll have a quota of one representative from one club.
So if you choose Javier Mascherano (godspeed), you won't be able to choose another Barcelona player.
With regards to formation, try to ensure it's somewhat realistic, so aim for a minimum of three defenders.
Don't feel pressured to include as many big name players—instead, go for the players who have impressed you.
Make sure you comment below with your selections.
Goalkeeper: Michel Vorm
Stu Forster/Getty Images
Club: Swansea City
Blessed with catlike reflexes, Michel Vorm is not only a penalty specialist, but he pulls off some extraordinary saves.
To think Manchester United could have bought him for just £1.5 million.
Centre-Back: Thiago Silva
Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images
Club: A.C. Milan
Thiago Silva's road to success wasn't always guaranteed.
This was the same footballer who failed to make it at Dynamo Moscow and Porto.
To gauge his impact at Milan, here is what Filippo Inzaghi (who is still playing for the Rossoneri) said about the Brazilian:
Thiago belongs to the elite group of players who are born maybe once in a century.
Centre-Back: Mats Hummels
Club: Borussia Dortmund
Mats Hummels is essentially David Luiz minus the reckless tackling.
Luiz's tackling is instinctive whereas Hummels' positioning sense is so elite that he doesn't find himself exposed to the extent he has to lunge out and get a pointless yellow card.
Bayern Munich must feel like a dummkopf for letting go of Hummels.
Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach
One of the biggest issues when you play three at the back is the side centre-backs getting dragged out of position and exposed by opposing wide players.
Well, Dante played as a left-back at Standard Liège, so he should be well versed to defend competently if he is drawn into the left-back position.
Dante has been an immense physical presence for Borussia Mönchengladbach, and along with Marc-André ter Stegen, has been the reason why Mönchengladbach's defence has been so resolute.
Defensive Midfielder: Bastian Schweinsteiger
Paolo Bruno/Getty Images
Club: Bayern Munich
A broken collarbone has cut short what would have been an excellent finish to the year for Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Hopefully, it doesn't impact his performances for the rest of the season.
A large reason why Toni Kroos has excelled has been the performances of Schweinsteiger behind him.
Right Winger: Nani
Clive Rose/Getty Images
Club: Manchester United
Nani's ability to play on both wings—plus his productivity and propensity to track back (when he feels like it)—makes him an easy selection.
It seems he's a better player when he cuts in from the left, as he's scored three goals and provided three assists in his last two games as a left winger.
Centre Midfielder: David Silva
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Club: Manchester City
What many people don't give David Silva credit for is his endeavour to win the ball back.
He's the best in the Premier League when it comes to holding the ball, distributing it efficiently and threading through balls for the likes of Sergio Agüero.
What's remarkable is that even with the amount of through balls Silva attempts, he completes 88.1 percent of his passes.
Silva is to Manchester City what Xavi is to Barcelona.
Left Winger: Gareth Bale
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Club: Tottenham Hotspur
Fit as a fiddle, runs like a gazelle, has an incisive cross and a hunger to humiliate full-backs.
The only problem with Gareth Bale is he is prone to breaking down, which is kind of ironic when I say he is as fit as a fiddle.
If only he was like Javier Zanetti, who seemingly has a knack of getting injured.
Right Forward: Robin Van Persie
Clive Mason/Getty Images
Arsenal are thinking about signing Thierry Henry, and his club record of 34 goals in a calendar year has been equaled by Robin van Persie.
Van Persie needs three goals to overhaul Alan Shearer's record 36 goals in a calendar year.
Like Gareth Bale, the fear of van Persie breaking down with injury will continue to be a sizable barrier to success.
Deep Lying Forward: Lionel Messi
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
To think, if River Plate would have approved paying the medical fees of some 11-year-old with a growth deficiency, they could have held the richest footballing clubs to a king's ransom, like Santos shopping Neymar around.
Lionel Messi is unquestionably the best player in the world—because the second best player in the world chokes like there's no tomorrow.
Left Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
Club: Real Madrid
Aerial threat, long range threat, set piece specialist, goal poaching prowess, pace, strength and incisive dribbling.
Cristiano Ronaldo is as complete as an attacking player as you want.
The only two things missing is his inability to forward press, and he could be an excellent defender considering his remarkable physique.
The other thing is a mental weakness, which sees him shrink in the big games.
Three goals and zero assists in 13 career games against Barcelona.
Manager: Marcelo Bielsa
Clive Rose/Getty Images
Club: Athletic Bilbao
For me, the most exciting team during the 2010 FIFA World Cup was Marcelo Bielsa's Chile, not Spain.
After the Switzerland game, Spain controlled possession so conservatively because they were wary of the counterattack.
Whereas the Chileans were gung-ho in their approach.
It's only fitting that my attacking 3-1-3-3 formation is managed by Bielsa.
Seemingly he's calmed down a bit, as his Athletic Bilbao can be described as moderate compared to the way he managed Argentina and Chile.
Can I apply for assistant manager?
Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Here's the full team if you were wondering:
Starting XI (3-1-3-3): Michel Vorm (Swansea City); Thiago Silva (A.C. Milan), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Dante (Borussia Mönchengladbach); Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich); Nani (Manchester United), David Silva (Manchester City), Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur); Robin van Persie (Arsenal), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid).
Substitutes: Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen); Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea); Santi Cazorla (Málaga), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille); Falcao (Atlético Madrid), Hulk (Porto), Neymar (Santos).
Manager: Marcelo Bielsa (Athletic Bilbao)
Comment below with your opinion of this team.
Also please post comment below with your world football team of the year.
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