The Ballon d’Or awards ceremony was conducted t’other day and threw up a few bones of contention with its world XI. They seemed to have made a best XI out of teams from either Barcelona or Madrid.
Well what if these players weren’t allowed…what if there was a ban on players from Barca and Real – who would make it then?
Let’s have a look at the real one and then break it down:
GK: Iker Casillas
DEF: Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo
MID: Xabi Alonso, Xavi, Iniesta
ATT: Messi, Falcao, Ronaldo
I’m sure you have your own stupid opinion with it all, but few can argue about Casillas in goal; a captain who won La Liga and the Euros. Unless you must have an argument about it, then you pick Gianluigi Buffon or Petr Cech, both of whom had successful seasons. Cech made a bit of hash with the Czech Rep at the Euros so it goes to the ancient god of Italian goalkeeping.
As for the back four, I think the beauty of Spanish football may have blinded the judges because three of those are up for debate. Ramos should be in due to a strong year domestically and internationally like Casillas, but his afro-ed team-mate Marcelo is more debatable.
What about Ashley Cole, who’s versatile and committed defensive performance helped Chelsea lift the Champions League? Or Jordi Alba for a fantastic breakthrough season with Barcelona and some scintillating games for Spain.
The running man that is Alves is always impressive to watch but hasn’t had his most successful season, so for me Ramos would take his place at right-back, but that’s not allowed so narrowly beating Darijo Srna would have to be German stalwart Philip Lahm.
This just leaves Pique, who spent more of the season bonking Shakira than on the field, and only picked up the Copa del Rey on top of the Euros. (Just a Euros? What a loser.)
Two better candidates would be Vincent Kompany – probably the best defender in the Prem and winner of the title, and Mats Hummels; ditto Kompany but in Germany, with the bonus of Dortmund’s great performance in the CL so far.
Midfield is a bit of bugger. I think Xavi generally deserves to always be in the every World XI until he retires but could be persuaded to put in center-mid Adonis Andrea Pirlo. Iniesta certainly deserves a Ballon d’Or in his career but I didn’t feel he warranted the nomination this year, so I don’t feel bad swapping the bald ferret of passing for the steam-powered locomotive that is Yaya Toure.
David Silva would be there had the little fella not run out of juice near the end. Mata accomplished much in his year too, but he didn’t fit into Chelsea’s ‘stand on the goal line’ tactic of CL victory and can’t take as much credit as someone like Cole. My regular go-to mids – Gerrard and Scholes – didn’t have great years so I will give it to the new look Wayne Rooney. Is he a midfielder? Fifa 13 said he was once so there.
The current forwards are not up for debate, I mean, who else?
Sergio Aguero for making a commentator have a scoregasm and winning the title for some Arabs? No. Luis Suarez for wriggling round like an earthworm on heroin, carrying an entire team around? Shut up. Zlatan Ibrahimovic for pulling Joe Harts pants down with his Kung-fu? A little bit, but no. Didier Drogba for being a successful ‘1’ in Chelsea’s 9-0-1 while getting ousted by young Spanish girl? No. Round of applause, but no. Or maybe you think it is the aforementioned freckle-faced harbinger of scuffed shots, Fernando Torres. Get out.
Only Robin van Persie held a torch to the ‘holy trinity’ last year. The magic left foot terrorized the Premier League for Arsenal and United. But then he went to the Euros and decided that it would be the perfect centerpiece to showcase his David N’Gog impression.
You don’t need me dribbling superlatives in your eyes about Messi and Ronaldo to know they have to be there…but they can’t. So I’ll have to pick from the leftovers above to play with the only ‘legal’ player from the real list – Falcao. The greasy haired Colombian has been incredible; pace, power, accuracy, aerial dominance, and physicality make him the best out-and-out striker in the world.
This leaves me with this crew:
GK: Gianluigi Buffon
DEF: Philip Lahm, Mats Hummels, Vincent Kompany, Ashley Cole
MID: Andrea Pirlo, Yaya Toure, Wayne Rooney (from fifa 13)
ATT: Robin van Persie, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Falcao
Actually Fifa’s is better, Barcelona and Real Madrid win again.