11 Julai 2010

The 11 best players at this World Cup

The 11 best players at this World Cup

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1. Muslera (Uruguay) - The Lazio keeper is a find for me having only just recently made his international debut a few months ago. Uruguay didn't concede any goals in the group stage, and his two penalty saves against Ghana show that he has the temperament for the big stage.

2. Ramos (Spain) - Having played with Sergio at Madrid, I can say he's one of the most determined and committed defenders I've come across. He enjoys linking up with the attack and loves to shoot when he gets the chance. He has had a great World Cup.

3. A. Cole (England) - I also enjoyed watching Fábio Coentrão for Portugal, but Ashley for me is the best left back in the world and probably England's standout performer in this World Cup. Ashley never stops running, and although a very good defender, he loves to attack opposing fullbacks.

4. Puyol (Spain) - The semifinal showed how important he is for Spain. Not only was he strong defensively he got the crucial goal that took Spain into the final. I've played against him before, and not only does he have natural talent he has enormous presence and a strong work ethic - a lead-by-example type. His partnership with Pique has been crucial to Spain.

5. Mensah (Ghana) - The Ghana captain was very solid as they progressed through the tournament and were unlucky in their quarterfinal with Uruguay. Like Puyol, Mensah also leads by example and is a rugged defender who is not afraid to put his body on the line for his team.

6. Schweinsteiger (Germany) - Had a very good World Cup and was particularly impressive against England. He has all the attributes of a modern midfield player. You would want him alongside you on any team.

7. Sneijder (Holland) - A talented playmaker who has had a great season for club and country. He has an eye for a pass and impressive dead-ball ability. He's got many goals so far in the World Cup from an advanced midfield role. He will definitely be one to watch at the final on Sunday.

8. Xavi (Spain) - You could pick Alonso or Iniesta, but I love to watch Xavi play. Every team needs a Xavi. He runs the engine room for both Spain and Barcelona, and he is such an intelligent player. He has amazing vision and passing ability. He will take on the ball in the tightest of situations, and for me, he is Spain's main man. He deserves the highest accolades in the game and could be the player of the tournament, along with Sneijder.

9. Mueller (Germany) - Not a name many had heard of before the tournament, but four goals and three assists in five games is an amazing return from the 20-year-old attacking player. It was a shame he missed the semi, and you could tell Germany missed his pace and finishing ability.

10. Forlan (Uruguay) - A striker who has gotten better and better over the years, I was fortunate to play with Diego at United, and we could all see what a talented player he was. Now he has supreme confidence. He's twice been the leading scorer in La Liga, and with four goals and several assists to his name in South Africa, he's had a great tournament.

11. Villa (Spain) - Top scorer at the tournament so far, he is one of the world's best finishers. He can play off either foot and is devastating in front of the goal. It's frightening that he is going to what is already a great team at Barcelona.

And three subs:
• Bradley (United States) - The U.S. team looked good and were unlucky to go out. My teammate Landon was very good, but I was particularly impressed by Michael Bradley. If the States can produce players like him for the future, soccer will be in good health there.
• Maicon (Brazil) - Brazil produces great wing backs and I was lucky to play with one, Roberto Carlos at Real Madrid. Maicon is another one off the production line. I thought he played well for Brazil and had a great season for Inter. His goal in their first match was incredible.
• Messi (Argentina) - How can you not even have the best player in the world on your squad? He did everything but score a goal in the tournament, which was unlucky. He's amazing to watch.

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