Saturday, October 30, 2010

Analysis on who should win FIFA's Ballon d'Or 2009/10 award

The shortlist for FIFA's Ballon d'Or award for the best player in the world was issued yesterday.

La Liga stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo made the shortlist, of course, as did three Premier League players - Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas , Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and Sunderland forward Asamoah Gyan.

There are six players from FC Barcelona on the list, five from Bayern Munchen, four for Real Madrid , one from Atletico Madrid and four from Inter Milan .
Two goalkeepers, Real Madrid 's king between the posts Iker Casillas and Inter Milan 's Treble winning stopper Julio Cesar , were also nominated, as was Spain and Barcelona's colossus at the back, Carles Puyol .

Three full-backs were on the list, but the feeling is that Daniel Alves, Philipp Lahm and Maicon are there as much for their attacking qualities as their defensive virtues.
So who will be declared the winner of the prestigious award come January 10?

A defensive player could win the award, following in the footsteps of Fabio Cannavaro, and goalkeeper Casillas is a really good bet.

But in the first part of two reports, we at IMScouting have compiled an efficiency table illustrating the attacking qualities of the nominees.

And according to the report, which is based on the number of goals and assists per minutes in all competitions in 2010, a familiar face tops the list.

Here are the top six, with the entire list (minus the goalkeepers) at the bottom.

6) Diego Forlan 

Efficiency ratingGoal or assist every 113.4 minutes

Twenty-seven goals and six assists since January have capped a sensational year for the Uruguayan – surely the most memorable in his career.

After steering Atletico Madrid to a UEFA Cup triumph against Fulham, Forlan still had it in him to take unfancied Uruguay to the World Cup semi-final and be named man-of-the-tournament in the process.

Forlan is a complete forward. He's intelligent, can shoot with either foot and is good in air.
Forlan is very clever in his movement without the ball and has a good eye for the killer pass.

He is an extremely versatile attacker - for his club he plays as a classic target man, while for his national team he is the undisputed leader and playmaker.

5) Cesc Fabregas 

Efficiency ratingGoal or assist every 99.05 minutes

The midfield maestro just keeps getting better. 12 goals and eight assists since the turn of the year helped Arsenal to their standard Champions League berth, and he helped Spain to their historic World Cup triumph by setting up Andres Iniesta's goal in a dramatic end to the final.

He was sorely missed by Arsenal on more than one occasion with injury, and showed his power of recovery to come back to form relatively quickly after being sidelined.

Fabregas is capable of dominating a game from midfield. He can slice open defences with his vision and passing and has the ability to dictate the pace and tempo of a contest. He has a superb, accurate shot from distance and has developed into a clinical finisher.

4) Arjen Robben 

Efficiency ratingGoal or assist every 97.17 minutes

The man whose volley knocked Manchester United out of the Champions league had an outstanding year with 20 goals and three assists. He came back from injury to score two in the World Cup and was the only Dutch player to cause Spain problems at the back in the final - being a Casillas save away from snatching a win for the Oranje.

Robben is a terrific dribbler and a lightening quick attacking player. When on song he is one of the best wingers in the world and one of the most dangerous players around.
He is renowned for cutting in from the right with devastating effect.

3) Didier Drogba 

: Chelsea 
Age: 32
Nationality: Ivorian  
Estimated market value: €20M-30M

Efficiency rating: Goal or assist every 81.29 minutes

The most senior of the top six remains an absolute goal machine – as mechanical as the side he plays for.

His 25 goals and 10 assists since January were a huge contribution to Chelsea's Premier League title. He also helped his side to the African Nations Cup quarter final with a goal against Ghana and scored a consolation goal against Brazil in what ultimately proved to be a disappointing World Cup campaign.

Drogba is a strong target man who causes such grief for defenders, excellent both in the air and on the ground. He is one of the very best strikers in Europe, which ruthless finishing skills in the box and a superb shot from distance.

He is great at running onto passes and equally excellent with his back to goal, holding the ball up and bringing others into play.

2) Cristiano Ronaldo

: Real Madrid 
Age: 25
Nationality: Portuguese 
Estimated market value: €30M+

Efficiency rating: Goal or assist every 79.65 minutes

If Ronaldo carries on like he is at the moment, it will be hard to award the Ballon d'Or to anyone else. He has scored 11 goals in 11 games this term for Real, and has a tally of 22 goals and 10 assists in 2010.

And amazingly he was actually being criticised by sections of the Bernabeu at the start of this season.

He scored for Portugal in the 7-0 rout of North Korea at the World Cup, but didn't have the best of tournaments and bowed out with a frustrated spit in the proximity of a cameraman.
But all that is being forgotten with his current blistering form from the left of a three pronged forward line for Jose Mourinho's men.

Ronaldo is superb with the ball at the feet, bamboozling opponents with his spectacular skills, creating and scoring goals almost at will at present.

He has exceptional pace and dribbling ability, is great in the air and his deadly, swerving free-kick is one of his trademarks.

1) Lionel Messi

: FC Barcelona 
Age: 23
Nationality: Argentinean     
Estimated market value: €30M+

Efficiency rating: Goal or assist every 78.41 minutes

Messi quickly dispelled any fears of a disappointing World Cup affecting his form this term with a goal just three minutes into the new league season.

A staggering 41 goals and eight assists this year were key in Barcelona securing their second domestic championship in a row, and has recovered well from injury to help his side keep within one point of Real Madrid .

There aren’t many superlatives that haven't been used to describe the modern-day Maradona. He is a true superstar and one of the most exciting players the world has ever seen.

The man treated by Barcelona for a growth hormone deficiency when he was younger has incredible speed, balance and control, with the ball appearing to stick to his feet.
And the frightening thing is that Messi is still only 23.

Inter Milan are dreaming of signing the Argentine in 2013, but if Barcelona are foolish, or broke, enough to sell him, it will surely smash the transfer record to smitherines.

Bayern MunchenAge26
Estimated market value€30M+
Arsenal FCAge23
Estimated market value: €30M+

Atletico MadridAge31
Estimated market value€20M-30M

Cesc Fabregas and Ronaldo, most effective midfielders in England and Spain

The midfield playmaker is a must for all top sides in the modern game.

The man pulling the strings and weaving the magic for his side requires cunning, craft, and creativity. 

Good movement, vision and the ability to read the game are vital. Perhaps most crucially of all, though, the playmaker doesn't have to be a physical beast to take the game by the scruff of the neck. While energy is vital, the top playmakers run the match effectively using brains, not brawn.

IMScouting has compiled an efficiency report showing the impact of different types of midfield playmaker in La Liga and the Premier League, with Arsenal maestro Cesc Fabregas and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo topping the list.

The report calculates which midfielders in the English and Spanish top divisions are the most likely to score or create a goal. Weighing up the number of goals and assists contributed with the number of minutes played, Fabregas and Ronaldo are the most efficient midfielders this season in all club competitions.

Guile and style are essential attributes for the role, but nowadays the playmaker comes in different guises. And we have picked out six players, who all have something slightly different to offer in the role.

Each player highlighted possesses different strengths and skills which help to dominate the midfield.

The visionary playmaker: Cesc Fabregas 
: Arsenal
Age: 23
Nationality: Spanish
Efficiency rating: Goal or assist every 56.3 minutes
Cards 1 yellow

Think Cesc Fabregas and you think of one of the world's top players.  Amazingly, Fabregas has won the European Championship and the World Cup and is still only 23-years-old.  There is plenty more to come from the Spanish midfield maestro.

He is quite simply a superb passer of the ball and is one of those rare players able to dictate the pace and flow of the game.  Fabregas is able to do so without being the most physically imposing of players.  He has picked up a single yellow card this season and has shown that he can dominate the middle of the park without brute force. His ability to pick out a pass makes him a joy for strikers to play with and helps explain the four goals that he has already created this season.

In the last year, Fabregas has added a real eye for goal to his repertoire.  Many midfielders influence the game without necessarily getting among the goals – not Fabregas.  He has followed an exceptional 19 goals last term with 4 strikes already this season.

The free-scoring dynamo: Cristiano Ronaldo

Club: Real Madrid
Age: 25
Nationality: Portuguese
Efficiency rating: Goal or assist every 61.8 minutes
Cards: 3 yellow

If you are looking for a player to inject pace, dynamism and goals to the attacking third, Ronaldo is your man.  His talent has never been in question, but he has progressed over the last few years from a promising, skillful winger to the complete attacking midfielder.

Blessed with pace when he has the ball at his feet, Ronaldo is more than likely to glide past several defenders.  Even if his own close control and dribbling ability cannot find a route to goal, he has developed the awareness to pick out a team-mate.  Ronaldo is the type of player who possesses the flair and imagination to change things on the pitch and an incredible 11 goals and five assists this season are testament to that. 

Strong in the air, Ronaldo is a threat wherever he is.  None more so than from free-kicks, which have become his trademark.  His dynamic talent is symbolized by his very own unique free-kick style, combining exceptional power and bend with very little back-lift to leave goalkeepers with very little chance.

The technical wide man: Andrey Arshavin 

: Arsenal
Age: 29
Nationality: Russian
Efficiency rating: Goal or assist every 87.1 minutes
Cards None

There are few whose technique can compare to Russian star Arshavin.  When he receives the ball out wide, he is likely to make something happen.  His close control and pace ensure that he is able to leave defenders trailing, opening up space from which he can usually pick out a killer pass.  Arshavin already has six assists to his credit this season.

He also has an unerring eye for goal and is keen to display his powerful shooting ability.  Arshavin is strong on either foot, and his four goals so far this season show what an impact he can make.

There are plenty of midfielders who are able to threaten the opposition once they have the ball.  What Arshavin also does particularly well is to move off the ball in order to find the space in which he can be found.  He is a fantastic outlet for any side and his technical ability combined with goalscoring prowess ensures that he can truly influence a game. 

The in-the-hole playmaker: Rafael Van Der Vaart

Club: Tottenham Hotspur
Age: 27
Nationality: Dutch
Efficiency rating: Goal or assist every 105.5 minutes 
Cards: 2 yellow; 1 red

It's proving to be nothing short of a remarkably shrewd bit of business by Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp snapping up Van Der Vaart just as the curtain was being drawn on the summer transfer window. With five goals and an assist this season, the Dutchman has been superb for Spurs so far and is a key component of their attacking play.

Van Der Vaart is a creative hub, who revels in his role just behind the front man, from where he drifts right and left, making him nearly impossible to contain . He is a smart and technically skilled player, with a brilliant first touch, fantastic finishing ability, deadly free-kicks and great vision for the killer pass.

Despite his Champions League red card, Van Der Vaart is a generally a cool customer, who relies on his technique, mental strength and determination to outwit his opponents. He is a real match winner.

The deep-lying playmaker: Jack Wilshere

Club: Arsenal 
Age: 18
Nationality: English  
Efficiency rating: Goal or assist every 153.4 minutes 
Cards: 2 yellow, 1 red

A real gem for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and the player who could well make the Three Lions roar once more.

Wilshere is a clever, creative midfielder, who usually operates behind a midfielder trio. With maturity than belies his years, the two-footed teen can dictate the play from his deep position.

Although not an imposing presence physically, Wilshere stamps his authority on games using his superb technique, excellent vision and great footballing brain.

With a dribble, pass or late burst into the box, Wilshere can slice open the defence – skills exemplified by his Champions League goal against Shakhtar Donetsk and his four assists this season.

The free-flowing winger: Juan Mata 

Club: Valencia CF
Age: 22
Nationality: Spanish 
Efficiency rating: Goal or assist every 160 minutes 
Cards: 3 yellow

A versatile, clever player with tremendous potential.

Mata is a left winger by nature, but his playmaking abilities make him equally adept as a striker and in every other offensive position.

He is capable of scoring goals and putting chances on a plate for his teammates due to his amazing speed, technique and high game-intelligence.

Mata can run the match from his position by his pure skill, and has scored once and provided three assists so far this term.

The young Spaniard is a real handful for defenders, with speed and dribbling abilities of very highest calibre.

He also strikes the ball sweetly and has great composure in front of goal. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

CR7 with his new Nike garlish boots

If you long for the days when football boots came solely in black - look away now. Cristiano Ronaldo has taken the garish parade of fancy Dan footwear to a new level by revealing his latest pair of Nike footwear.

After wearing every colour imaginable during his time and Manchester United and Real Madrid, the 25-year-old has unveiled a safari-themed black-and-white-spotted design, complete with a massive red swoosh.

This is what Alan Ball let us in for when wearing white boots in the 1970s.

Ronaldo's new boots wouldn't look out of place in an Essex nightclub, instead you'll see him dancing around opponents in them at the Bernabeu.

He said: 'The CR Mercurial Vapor SuperFly II makes a statement on pitch and the Safari print expresses my style.

'Combined with incredibly light and responsive performance the boot gives me everything I need to elevate my game.'



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