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