Written by Andy
Not long until the football season now folks and today we’ll have a little fun with this blog and I’ll name who I believe to be the top 3 players in each position in world football right now.
I’m sure we’ll all have our views on this but as ever contact us in the comment box below or on any of our social networking platforms (links top right of page) if you want to get involved!
Speaking of getting involved The Sports Lab UK will be running its very own Premier League Fantasy Football League this year so to enter your team go to this link – http://fantasy.premierleague.com/my-leagues/40906/invite/ and enter the code 108587-40906 to join us!
So onto the best 3 players in each position lets get started
1) Manuel Neuer (Bayern & Germany)
2) Gianlugi Buffon (Juventus & Italy)
3) Salvatore Sirigu (PSG & Italy)
There has been some quality keepers coming through such as Bernd Leno of Leverkusen, Federico Marchetti of Lazio, Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea, Willy Caballero of Malaga and Marc-Antoine ter Stegen of Borussia Monchengladbach who didn’t get in my top ten goalkeepers last year but would certainly be there now. My top 3 though are the very elite in goalkeeping today with Italian Salvatore Sirigu having an amazing season for PSG really showing his qualities and surely the man to replace Buffon as Italy number one when he retires, Speaking of which Gigi Buffon seems to get better every season and Juventus & Italy will miss this guy when he hangs up his gloves such is his great consistency. Then we have Manuel Neuer who is comfortably the best in the business for me right now and I think Bayern & Germany won’t need to bother looking for a keeper for at least ten years if Neuer keeps up his amazing progress.
1) Jordi Alba (Barcelona & Spain)
2) Ashley Cole (Chelsea & England)
3 David Alaba (Bayern & Austria)
Much has changed in recent years for the role of the fullback and its a much more disciplined task now as fullbacks are expected to bomb up and down the flank for 90 minutes but not just throw all the eggs into the attacking basket they must have a solid defensive discipline and keep the shape of the back line. David Alaba has been an exceptional find for Bayern Munich when they plucked him from the Austria Vienna youth team in 2008, a player who is outstanding defensive and attacking wise Alaba will easily be the best left back in the world sooner rather than later. At 21 I can’t think of a better young fullback in the game of football today. My second place is Ashley Cole who for many years would have been the best left back in the world and his form is always very reliable but despite this I sometimes feel he is so underrated at what he does. Jordi Alba used to be a winger with Valencia and nobody never really knew much about him until he was given the role of left back. His amazing pace and skill along with chipping in with a lot of assists and goals make him a constant threat but its not all attack attack attack as Alba showed last season how much he has improved as a defender with several excellent showings and was arguably Barca’s best defender by a distance last season.
1) Philipp Lahm (Bayern & Germany)
2) Darijo Srna (Shaktar & Croatia)
3) Lukasz Piszczek (Dortmund & Poland)
These three I have picked for me are the very elite in right fullback in football today, At number 3 you have Dortmund man Piszczek who for me will go onto be one of the best right backs ever in the game as he has it all in regards to defence, offence, pace, stamina the lot he is a quality right back. Srna you’d think has been around for 20 years, he seems to have played for Shaktar and Croatia for that length of time given his quality performances. At 31 it looks like he’ll end his career in Ukraine but I’d have loved to have seen Srna have a crack at Bundesliga, La Liga or the English Premier League as he would have enhanced an already stunning career in my opinion by testing himself at a higher level. Number one wasn’t even a competition as Lahm has been the king of the right backs for many years. He might be small in height like Jordi Alba my other full back on the left but he has everything a fullback requires and his lack of height is the only weakness he has, but luckily Bayern & Germany have plenty big lads to defend and attack corners so Lahm’s height is rarely needed. Probably the most consistent footballer I’ve witnessed.
1) Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus & Italy)
2) Dante (Bayern & Brazil)
3) Thiago Silva (PSG & Brazil)
This was a tough one as we have seen a lot of excellent central defenders in the past season such as Andrea Barzagli of Juventus, Marquinhos former Roma recently signed for PSG, Aurelien Chedjou of Lille and Raphael Varane of Real Madrid. There is also two names which I’m sure some reading will be thinking and those names are Vincent Kompany and Nemanja Vidic who are both exceptional centre backs but the 3 players I’ve went for are all bang in top form whereas injury hampered both aforementioned players game time last season. Thiago Silva was immense at PSG after his big money move from Milan and his likely partner for Brazil at the World Cup in 2014 Dante had an even better season. I first saw Dante at Borussia Monchengladbach and his quality was very easy to spot, big commanding defender but also very quick and could play a bit as well. These two amazing talents were pipped to number one by my favourite centre back of the past few years Giorgio Chiellini who I can’t remember the last time he had a bad match. Superb all round defender and there isn’t a weakness to his game.
1) Andrea Pirlo (Juventus & Italy)
2) Javi Martinez (Bayern & Spain)
3) Nemanja Matic (Benfica & Serbia)
Ok this isn’t the most glamorous job on the football pitch and I know this position comes in many forms such as deep lying playmaker, out and out defensive midfielder and holding role but I believe my selections gives us a good variety of the skills required to do this job well. Nemanja Matic of Benfica has been an absolute revelation with Benfica since they signed him from Chelsea who had loaned him out to Vitesse instead of giving him a chance. He will earn a big move soon with this current form and it would be no surprise if it was one of the elite clubs. There is a big reason Bayern’s defence conceded so few goals…Dante & Javi Martinez who were the missing links. Martinez might have cost over 40 million Euros but his debut season has already paid that transfer fee off with some stunning displays in front of the Bayern back four. Pirlo is easily one of the best deep lying playmakers football has ever seen, he keeps the game simple but his range of passing and accuracy to boot is very special indeed. His style of course works a treat in Italy with the style of play over there but you could put Pirlo in any side and the outcome would be the same. Honourable mentions in this position go out to Arturo Vidal, Michael Carrick, Xabi Alonso and Blaise Matuidi who all had fantastic seasons along with a few other prospects in the position such as Paul Pogba of Juventus and Roman Neustadter of Schalke.
1) Marco Reus (Dortmund & Germany)
2) Mario Goetze (Bayern & Germany)
3) Isco (Real Madrid & Spain)
Yeah so picking 3 players in this position was a lot of fun…not! I could easily have included Christian Erikssen, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Iniesta and about 50 more but I wanted my top 3 to represent 3 players who are not only the very best attacking midfielders on current form but players who deserve the praise they might not get compared to some illustrious names we hear about all the time. Isco has been immense at Malaga and capped off an amazing season with Malaga to perform so very highly at the U’21 Championships in the summer to seal a big move to Real Madrid. Mario Goetze was similar, he had another excellent season at Dortmund to seal a move to rivals Bayern where he could be the main man for 10 years or more for club and country. His teammate last season Marco Reus was even better though, another player whom I first saw play at Gladbach, Reus as expected was a revelation at Dortmund and just seemed to fit into the system with ease scoring 19 goals in his debut season.
1) Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid & Portugal)
2) Gareth Bale (Tottenham & Wales)
3 Arjen Robben (Bayern & Holland)
This was a tricky one as players can be played all along the front line these days whether its on the left, right behind the striker or in a free role drifting about the forward area. The game has changed so much you don’t have an out and out winger anymore like you did back in the day with Luis Figo, Ryan Giggs or Brian Laudrup whose sole job was to get the ball, run with it, skin a few players and cross it in the box. So I’ve went for Robben in 3rd as he had his finest season I can ever remember last season and capped it off with a stunning performance in the Champions League Final. Gareth Bale played a few games up front and behind the striker but there is no doubt the main fundamentals of his game are that of a winger, great pace and a wonderfully gifted left foot Bale is on the brink of a move to Manchester United or Real Madrid seemingly and it would be amazing to see him at either of those clubs. Again Ronaldo my number one pick plays games up front and in the attacking free role at Madrid but the majority of his starts are on the left wing. The number of goals this man has scored in the past few seasons is nothing short of tremendous and I don’t think there is a player in world football that can do all the things to the quality Ronaldo can.
1) Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)
2) Radamel Falcao (Monaco & Columbia)
3) Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG & Sweden)
Another fun set of picks these were, so straight off the bat I’ll say sorry to Robin van Persie, Edinson Cavani, Stefan Kiessling, Mario Mandukic, Luis Suarez, Antonio Di Natale & Stefan Jovetic for missing out on my top 3 but the guys I picked were just that bit better in my view. What can you say about big Zlatan that hasn’t been said already? The man is the most complete forward on the planet he has absolutely everything a centre forward needs and I for one cannot wait to see Ibrahimovic & Cavani tear it up next season! Radamel Falcao is possibly the best pure finisher in the game and his goals in La Liga have made him one of the most feared strikers on the planet. Golden Boot in Ligue 1 next season who will get it? Cavani, Ibrahimovic or Falcao! Exciting stuff awaits. Number one is a fairly obvious one, Leo Messi breaks records year after year and if he doesn’t either score or assist 3 or 4 goals in a game people start asking if there is a loss of form! Truly magical player and one of the most gifted to ever play the game who will easily break every Barcelona scoring record if he keeps this up and become their leading scorer by a very long distance to boot.
Well thats my top 3 players in each position some were easy and some were pretty difficult to choose but you have to go with your instincts and how you like players playing the game!
My side based on my top ranked picks would look like this…
Not too shabby at all!
Hope you enjoyed it football fans and we look forward to seeing you take part in our Premier League Fantasy Football if you choose to participate, many thanks!