The Times best 50 players of contemporary times. Gabriele Marcotti has put together the list. The one player you would want on your team if you were granted a free transfer for the next season. The most glaring omissions- Juan Roman Riquelme and Ryan Giggs. Need we say more about this list.
But there is also no Shunsuke Nakamura who took Celtic to their title. Samir Nasri who steered OM to their first CL entry in more than a decade. Marcotti justifies Giggs exclusion because he is too old to be a 'ringer' for next season but includes Zanetti and Gary Neville. Ricardo Carvalho, Deco, Christian Chivu, Diego Forlan, Ricardo Quaresma, Miroslav Klose, Alessandro Del Piero, Franck Ribery, Nery Castillo, and Kanoute also don't make the list. But Gary Neville, Frank Lampard, Jamie Carragher, Michael Ballack, Andriy Shevchenko, Zlatan Ibrahamovic, Lucho Gonzalez, Sergio Ramos, Daniele De Rossi get listed.
Marcotti lists Lucho Gonzalez and laments that he does not get credit because of the league he plays in but the same criteria applies to Ricardo Quaresma and to Nery Castillo who find no mention. How about the Croatian striker that England most fears in their Euro 2008 qualifiers. Eduardo Da Silva? Last time I saw him he put one over Paul Robinson in a game that Steve McLaren would love to forget. He just broke the Croatian record for most goals scored in a season with 31.
Only Rodrigo Palacio made it from the South American leagues. But Riquelme is missing - he only gave Boca its Libertadores and Argentine title. Maybe he should have done Obafemi Martin like back flips to celebrate each goal or written a biography and Marcotti would have included him. Andres Guardado, the hottest El Tri prospect is missing too. He plays for CF Atlas which is a club that Marcotti has probably never heard of.
Headscratchers: Dider Drogba at 22. This man carried Chelsea on his back. Michael Essien at 5. No knocks on Essien, he is an outstanding player but Marcotti got these numbers switched around. Scholes at 38. Man Utd's great little playmaker should easily be 15. Nistelrooy at 15. He was the Liga's top scorer with his 25 goals. Totti at 10. Give me a break. The man gave Italy the World Cup and should get the Golden Boot with his 26 goals for Roma. He should be in the first 5.