Friday afternoon question: Who’s really the best player of 2007?

November 30, 2007

Kaka calls for the ballAwards season is coming up again with FIFA and France Football preparing to hand out their gongs for the best players of the year. Yet again the nominees appear to be a familiar bunch and some of them seem to be on the shortlists as much because of their reputations as their form over the last 12 months.

Unsurprisingly the FIFA short-list of 30 players, which the organisation says was “compiled by various groups of experts”,  is headed by Kaka, who steered AC Milan to the Champions League, although he also decided to sit out the leading international tournament of the year, the Copa America. Kaka also seems certain to win the Ballon d’Or.

It’s less easy to see how someone like Lilian Thuram gets on the list. Thuram was instrumental in France’s triumphs in the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, but no one who saw his shaky performances at Barcelona last season could argue that he should be on the shortlist.

Similarly Fabio Cannavaro may have been a deserved winner in 2006 after leading Italy to the World Cup, but why is he still on the list this year after such a poor season at Real Madrid?

On the other hand there is no place for Daniel Alves, Sevilla’s incombustible wing back, who was the outstanding Primera Liga defender last season. Alves helped steer his club to a second successive UEFA Cup triumph and also scored in the final of the Copa America.

Thierry Henry is there and yet he spent much of his final season at Arsenal on the treatment table and has made a distinctly underwhelming start to his career at Barcelona. Fernando Torres also features, but the stand-out Spanish player of the last 12 months, Andres Iniesta, is nowhere to be seen.

Then again, where are the Croatian players who steered their country through a brilliant qualification campaign to claim their place at Euro 2008?

The France Football nominees tend to be more wide-ranging and well informed, but I still get the feeling that some of the real form players of the year have been overlooked.

We’d like your opinions on who was really the best player of 2007. Which other players deserve to be on the list? And why do you seemingly have to play for a “big” club or country to win the award?

We have a poll running at the main soccer site so please follow the link to leave a vote and give us your views on the awards season in the comments below.

PHOTO: AC Milan’s Kaka gestures during their Champions League Group D soccer match against Benfica at the Luz stadium, Lisbon, November 28, 2007. REUTERS/Marcos Borga


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I know Man Utd didn’t quite win the Champions League but Cristiano Ronaldo still had a good case. I agree that it’d be good to see a few less familiar faces on the shortlists. I’ve been impressed this year by players like Diego at Werder Bremen and Mario Gomez of Stuttgart. I can’t believe Philipp Lahm is on there. It looks like a lsit form 2006.

Posted by kev | Report as abusive

This full list is:
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Fabio Cannavaro (Italy), Petr Cech (Czech Republic), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Deco (Portugal), Didier Drogba (Côte d’Ivoire), Michael Essien (Ghana), Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon), Gennaro Gattuso (Italy), Steven Gerrard (England), Thierry Henry (France), Juninho (Brazil), Kaká (Brazil), Miroslav Klose (Germany), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Frank Lampard (England), Rafael Márquez (Mexico), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Alessandro Nesta (Italy), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Franck Ribéry (France), Juan Román Riquelme (Argentina), Ronaldinho (Brazil), Wayne Rooney (England), John Terry (England), Carlos Tévez (Argentina), Lilian Thuram (France), Fernando Torres (Spain), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Netherlands) and Patrick Vieira (France).

Posted by kev | Report as abusive

Eto’o and Henry were injured all year. Cannavaro, Thuram and Vieira are all past their best. Buffon spent last season in Serie B…

These lists always baffle me. Why pick Rooney when Scholes and Giggs had were so key ot United’ success? Why is it always Gerrard and never Carragher? And with, I think, three players who played in the Copa America, it’s as if the one major international tournament of the year was never played.

Give it to the all conquering, record breaking David Healy, I say!

Posted by Padraic Halpin | Report as abusive

some of those player quite simply do not deserve to be on that list,henry was injured for most of last season,thuram wouldnt even have been shorlisted for barca’s best player of the year,players like Márquez, Riquelme, Lahm and viera just make this list look like it was compiled by complete idiots.

alot of players got included just because they are big name players. Kaka has to win it and players like diego and iniesta really should have been included.

Posted by mark | Report as abusive

I see FIFA have now reduced the 30 or so candidates to just three – Kaka, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. While no one would argue that they are all great players, the 30-strong list is full of anomalies.

I agree with Padraic, someone like Healy who set a new scoring record in Euro 2008 qualification playing for an unfancied team like Northern Ireland should get some recognition and be on the list for the FIFA award at least.

Posted by Simon | Report as abusive

I don’t know about complete idiots Mark. It looks like the list was compiled by executives from Nike and Adidas.

Posted by Iain | Report as abusive

It is a well known fact that Roy of the Rovers reads David Healy comics

Posted by Ulstrboy | Report as abusive

I agree the original FIFA list had some odds names but I think most would agree that the shortlist of Kaka, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo is correct.
Kaka has already won the FIFPro (world players’ union award), sources say he has definitely won the Ballon D’Or and he looks odds on for the Fifa award.
Wouldnt it be better to share them around like they sometimes do in England with the PFA and football writers awards going to different players?
Kaka after all missed the Copa America to rest, had Milan in a panic all summer that he was going to Real, and Milan are ninth in Serie A.
This maybe a bit fairytale but perhaps some of the Iraq squad should be considered after their stunning Asia Cup success..that would say something to the money-mad Europeans.

Posted by Mark Meadows | Report as abusive

OK, Mark, but why not Seedorf or Pirlo in the top three? Why not Iniesta (who rescued Spain)? And as Simon says, why not Dani Alves? And yes, the Iraq team definitely deserve some kind of award.

Posted by kev | Report as abusive

It does seem the case that the list has been drawn up by the boot manufacturers! This might be a slightly spurious comment but it does give the list of 30 some sort of meaning. Otherwise there are some glaring anomalies.

Diego from Werder Bremen would have got my vote while someone like Carragher deserves to be on the list.

For the pure adrenalin rush I get when he is on the ball then Cristiano Ronaldo is my choice from the final three.

Posted by online sports guy | Report as abusive

I feel that actually Cesc Fabregas has been great for Arsenal all last season and has continued it onto this season but of course he doesn’t make it but players like Lilian Thuram and Juan Román Riquelme, who I’m not saying isn’t a great player but his club team won’t even play him.

Posted by Jake | Report as abusive

I believe Ronaldo stands a good chance. Since the World Cup, he has been a transformed player and is still improving on his overall abilities.

Kaka will clinch it if the judges prefer a less controversial character.

SoccerNet Live

Posted by John | Report as abusive

Online sports guy – Diego is brilliant! Always buy him on Football Manager too, haha!

I’m not sure who was the best player really. As a West Ham fan I’d like to say Carlos Tevez, and I would had he shown the same form as he did in the final parts of the season all the way through.

Kaka probably did deserve it, but you’re right about the list. It does seem it is more just about the players who have won it before or who are popular amongst football fans.

Jake – I reckon Fabregas should get it next year (as long as he carries on as he is).

..saying that, the list will probably be exactly the same as it is this year. Pele is probably still on it..

Michael Owen won it a few years back if I’m not mistaken. Was he really that good?

Posted by Betting Blogger | Report as abusive

Again,..No Goalies in the top Three????,…FIFA likes to reward only the forwards & midfielders generally i guess & rarely defenders…It’s really harsh on the Goalies who are equally responsible for winning matches by keeping the opponents from scoring…Thats pathetic…The likes of Oliver Kahn,Gianluigi Buffon,Petr Cech,Iker Casillas deserve much better… :(

Posted by Prad | Report as abusive

Hi Prad. Yeah, I’d have thought Casillas, Kahn or even Dida or Reina would deserve a place, at least on the long list.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive