Recognition in soccer has seemed to veer in the direction of popularity instead of the actual work displayed on the field. It’s astonishing how some players are undermined even with the attributes they possess, so here’s a list of the best 11 players in the world and why they deserve to be here.
Manuel Neuer: When you have anchored a team that’s won the league title for four straight seasons in Bayern Munich and have kept a clean sheet in the most important game of your life like Neuer did for Germany in the 2014 World Cup Final, there is no doubt that you have got to be the best in your field.
Sergio Ramos: You don’t think about defenders as goal scorers, but with Ramos there’s one thought that comes to mind in how far beyond he goes from what’s asked of him in the dying minutes. I can’t remember any other defender scoring goals in the clutch time and time again.
Thiago Silva: This is the type of player who can lead any defense by the talent he displays, which carries leadership in having worn the armband for Brazil and PSG. Silva can anticipate opposing plays and is one of the best at stopping players who posses the ball in front of him.
Marcelo Vieira: The best left back in soccer is a well-rounded player who has become widely respected for protecting his area superbly and attacking while drawing players to him. This opens space for his teammates to work the ball inside to the forwards.
Gerard Piqué: No team can go without a good tall defender, especially one whose ability in the air is much needed for headers. At 6 feet 3 inches, Pique is a great passer of the ball, which is why he has so much versatility as a player. He can go up and play as a defensive midfielder and still be the rock in the back line.
Andrés Iniesta: El Mago is a magician with the ball with an incredible playmaking skill that benefits everyone that centers around him. He is a shining example of being able to control the tempo of the game, and his ability to start attacks from deep makes him an essential part of the gameplan.
Luka Modric: The tenacity he has at this position is good to also orchestrate deep attacks as he knits the midfield. Besides control, Modric also has a great long range in his arsenal that can create danger for goalkeepers who see his shots coming from 10 or 20 yards out the box.
Mesut Özil: His style of play is sweet, as he is very techincal with his game, which works well on either side of the wing or center of the field. Ozil is the type of player that can find you and deliver the ball with great crossing accuracy, constantly providing his teammates with beautiful assists.
Antoine Griezmann: This man was snubbed from a spot in the actual Fifa FIFPro World XI. How is it that he was recognized as one of the three finalists for the best player in the world and yet didn’t place amongst the best 11? That doesn’t make any sense. His performances in carrying Atletico Madrid and France to last year’s Champions League and Eurocup Final speak for themselves.
Lionel Messi: He is a great distributor of the ball, giving him ridiculous vision for finding players with no look passes and keeping incredible balance in taking on three to four players. He is one of those unique players that can dribble the ball at full speed and yet keep it within a distance of a foot while squeezing by defenders and finding the back of the net with crazy shot angles.
Cristiano Ronaldo: The dominant goal-scoring machine is clearly the most obvious choice at this position. His power combined with speed on the pitch is unprecedented, making entire teams set gameplans focusing on just stopping him. Unlike Griezmann, Ronaldo was able to get to both finals and deliver Real Madrid an 11th Champions League crown and Portugal’s first major title.
Contact Oscar Oxlaj at [email protected]