Daily Archives: July 1, 2009

Doin Work’s Top Five Football Players in the World

          With the European football season on hiatus for another month, and the rumor mill of transfers still churning hard, I thought it would be fun to revisit the always fun question: Who are the Top Five Footballers in the World? And to be honest the list is pretty easy to come up with. In what order will always be subjective, who you root for and what style of football you enjoy watching will impact your own personal rankings it should be noted. Rankings are always fun, if you have other players you would rate in your top five by all means leave them in the comments section, we’d love to hear them.

 #1 Cristiano Ronaldo: I’m not sure how winning the Champions League title instantly vaults Messi to the title of “Best Football Player in the World” which was discussed at length after the final. Granted his form was excellent this year, and his impact on the outcome of the CL final was far greater then his counterpart Ronaldo. Having said that, if we were to take a step back and look at the body of work of both players over the last three years, as well as technical side of each player I think Ronaldo clearly has the edge as the top player in the world. His goal scoring rate is second to none, can play any attacking position on the field including up top, is one of the top free kick takers in the world, and is devastating with both feet (not to mention his Arial ability is pretty wicked to boot). When motivated there is no one better.

 #2 Lionel Messi: His emergence at Barcelona has been amazing to watch, and it’s no coincidence that it has coincided with the revival of Barca’s domination both domestically and in Europe this year. His on ball ability, searing pace, and rare vision in the open field is unrivaled in the world.  Although his goal scoring wasn’t a prominent aspect of his game in the two preceding years, that changed drastically this campaign with a haul of 42 goals in all competitions. Messi’s encore (and continued growth next year) will be interesting to watch. 

 #3 Steven Gerrard: Things get tricky here separating Gerrard and Kaka; in fact you could swap them with little argument either way.   I’ll take Gerrard over Kaka in my midfield based on the stronger offensive side of his game, and his ability to score in the seemingly clutchest of moments. Gerrard’s work rate and pure power in midfield is priceless as well, the engine he provides in the middle of the park with his passing can’t be understated. Fans of Kaka could point to Gerrard’s lack of a domestic league title or larger individual awards on his resume, which is a fair critique. I’ll argue Gerrard is more of a game changer on any given night and give him the nod here.

 # 4 Kaka: There is no doubt Kaka is one of the best players of his generation. His pace, dribbling, technique, vision, and natural flair are mesmerizing to watch. The highlight of his individual career coming in 2007 when he was named FIFA’s World Player of the Year. With his recent transfer to Real Madrid, one can only imagine what performances he will be capable of producing on such a star studded squad. Kaka’s place as one of the world’s greats isn’t changing anytime soon, and the glitzy stage of Madrid is a fitting place for one of the world’s best.

 #5 Fernando Torres: I would argue he is the currently the best striker in the world, and thus slides in at five. There are several other players who could easily take Torres’s place here, but his ability to score in a variety of ways and the attention he demands at all times from defenses puts him in a class all his own. His devastating pace, coupled with his unique touch and aerial prowess creates a total package. His style of play and strength on the ball is also perfectly suited for the Premier League, his impact for Liverpool was immediate, and he is also a central figure for the Spanish national team. Fresh off Barca’s recent success many will push for Xavi or Iniesta here, but for my money Fernando Torres nips them both.

Honorable Mentions: Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, David Villa, Frank Ribery, Xavi Hernandez, Wayne Rooney, Zalatan Ibrahimovic, Daniele De Rossi, Samuel Eto’o

The Sad State of the NBA

With the draft wrapped up and the free agency about to kick into full swing (Highlighted by Ben Gordon and Hedo Turkoglu), it seems like the NBA is in a different state than it has been for most seasons with the vicious economic decline. Instead of hearing about the best players being traded, we hear more about hedo_300_080204the rumors on how so many NBA teams are losing money, and are definitely going to have even more troubles with their payrolls next season. Money is the most valuable part of every organization and it seems that more teams are interested in shedding cap space, than making their teams better to compete for a title. Trade offers aren’t even about talent as much as who is getting the player with the big contract that expires next year. 12 teams accepted the leagues offer to borrow between $13 and $20 million. I won’t completely blame it on players and situations like the highly chronicled Darius Miles who is still sucking cap space away from Portland and just violated the leagues drug policy again. large_DariusBut, he is definitely one of the reasons the league needs to review the collective bargaining agreement before the seemingly imminent lockout in 2011.

My biggest concern for the NBA is the shrinking cap space each season. If the economy continues to go the way it has, the cap will keep falling. In turn, this will make it impossible for teams to stay under the cap especially with the current contract constructions weighted at the end, and put some teams over the cap before the next season even starts. This year will only be the second time in league history that the cap has been lowered from the previous season. Teams know this, and it is making them thriftier than ever. Why do they want to risk hitting the luxury tax for making it one round deeper in the playoffs? They really don’t, and this is going to be the NBA’s biggest problem during the recession! The objective for mediocrity in the league is not going to keep fans around, and without the fans the league will obviously struggle. The seats are already empty in the smaller market areas and terrible franchises. I watched many Clippers games (more than I’d like to admit) this year and most of the time you could hear the other teams fans that happen to live in L.A. at the games cheering over the Clippers’ fans (if there actually were any).

So with Amare on the block, and few interesting free agents out there, what will happen this offseason you ask? I think it’s going to be a lot of low-balling, and there will definitely be a lot of teams giving away superior talent just to relieve their books. With all of the talks surrounding my Warriors, and Amare Stoudemire possibly going to them, I took a step back to see what could possibly be behind it. Sure Amare is a great player when he’s healthy, but even he felt that the Warriors are giving up too much talent for him to want to go to there. It makes me wonder if the Warriors original objective was to have Stoudemire for a one year rental and have a lot of money come off the books instead of having: Biendris (5 years), Wright (3 years), and  Bellinelli (3 years). brad-millerWere the Warriors making a money dump like the Kings did when they gave away Brad Miller to save themselves millions off the cap in the long run? I feel like I can’t trust any move my team is making this offseason without wondering, was this done just for the pocketbook or did they really try to improve the team to make them a contender…