Wednesday, September 01, 2010

On my ten favourite soccer players

10. Andrea Ranocchia-Genoa

The new great Italian hope at the back, this six foot five monster formed a mean partnership with Leonardo Bonucci at Bari last season before a knee injury knocked him out for the rest of the season. Great on the ball, beastly in the air and a good looking bastard to boot, he’s essential to the Griffone’s European ambitions this season.

9. Sebastian Frey-Fiorentina

I mostly like him because he’s fat. Pretty good goalie, too.

8. Daniele De Rossi-Roma

He’s been struggling since the end of last season, which is painful to watch because no one tries harder than the Giallorossi and Azzurri’s future capitano. One of the few box-to-box men left in the game, he’s equally adept at long range shooting and tackling. The beard he’s been sporting of late, meanwhile, is on par in terms of awesomeness with Paul McCartney’s Let It Be era facial hair, and he seems to have sparked a trend, as evidenced by the vast number of Serie A players who didn’t shave for week one.

7. Lucio-Inter Milan

Tremendous in the air, a fine last ditch tackler and sly on the foul, he’s still kind of overrated (you rarely see a mistake-free game from him). Nevertheless, the Brazilian remains one of my faves. Love the over-the-top tackle celebrations and trademark-but-somewhat-nonsensical forages forward with the ball. Where are you going Lucio?! IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE HE’S GOING.

6. Gennaro Gattuso-AC Milan

Ugly, short, dirty, bearded, passionate, moderately skilled, ridiculous, hilarious, crazy. Also, a World Cup, Scudetto and Champions League winner. If Don Cherry liked soccer, Gattuso would be his favourite player.

5. Antonio Cassano-Sampdoria

The boy wonder from Bari Vecchia isn’t really a boy anymore; a good thing, too, since his newfound maturity has allowed his undeniable talent to shine through, though the lovably animated persona and occasional pantslessness haven’t completely disappeared. Along with Gianpaolo Pazzini, carried Samp to an unexpected fourth position last season.

4. Diego Milito-Inter Milan

The Argentinean striker is the reason I’m a Genoa fan today, as his performances in 2008/2009 for the oldest team in Italy lifted the team into a fifth placed finish. I actually haven’t found a player currently on the team I like nearly as much as him. He’s a complete forward in the truest sense: Back to the goal? Run onto the ball? Divine creation? Composed finishing? The man can do it all and he makes it look easy. Also stronger than most horses.

3. Andrea Pirlo-AC Milan

Never temperamental and oh so composed on the ball, the deep lying playmaker’s long forward passes and pinpoint through balls were essential to Italy’s 2006 World Cup and Milan’s 2007 Champions League victories. Works hard, never loses his cool, and takes a pretty mean long free kick. On the decline, but still one of the peninsula’s classiest talents.

2. Kaka-Real Madrid

Man do I miss this guy! I know this list is overpopulated with Rossoneri players past and present (I am not a Milanista!) but anyone who dislikes Kaka should just stop watching this sport. Everything about his playing is just so gorgeous. I mean, most of the time I don’t really believe in the “beautiful game”, but, in those fleeting moments when he’s running with ball from the half way line, laying off a no-look pass, or launching the ball into the back of the net, Kaka gives me faith.

1. Gianluigi Buffon-Juventus

I played goalie in both soccer and hockey, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that my all-time favourite player is a keeper. In his prime, Gigi stopped shots better than any other netminder in calcio history while his defense management remains unparalleled. A wonderful presence on the pitch, I particularly enjoy the stylish neck scarves he dons during the cold winter months. God-like.



Blogger alf said...

Good list, it might inspire me to do one. My current fav is Javier Hernandez from Mexico. Also, my classic fav is dee Kaiser, Sir Beckenbauer.

11:27 AM  
Anonymous carley said...

Don't say "balls."

4:47 PM  

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