The end of the decade brings with it a lot of really annoying end-of-the-decade lists. Everyone from the Guardian to Soccernet to the guy from your indoor team is compiling their world football team of the decade. While these carefully selected lists include some of the greatest players ever to lace up boots, they don’t exactly reflect the spirit of the assignment. It’s the team of the decade, not the best players from the first half of the decade or the best from the second half, but the whole decade (I know I’ve used up my italicized-point-of-emphasis technique for the decade). Considering I rejected those other lists using this qualification, I had to hold myself to the same standard. Here is my team of the decade:
CF: van Nistelrooy
Subs: Nesta, Ferdinand, Figo, del Piero, Gattuso, Casillas
Obligatory Preemptive Defense: Before you firebomb my inbox with electronic, vitriolic abuse; let me explain some of my glaring omissions: Zidane did not play professional football from mid-July 2006 to December 2009. Brazlian Ronaldo was more interested in papas fritas than football post ’06. Portuguese Ronaldo was more interested in popping zits than football pre ’06. Little Lionel was just too little in the first half of the decade. Ronaldinho and his toothy grin didn’t impress enough in his last year at Barca or his subsequent years at the San Siro. The XI I’ve selected, with the exception of three (Cafu, Maldini, and Nedved) are all still plying their trade. Maldini and Nedved just retired last summer. Cafu the summer before.
There were other shouts…Sheva (the invisible man post ’07); Pirlo (too busy blowdrying his hair to notice Xavi’s domination in Europe the past 10 years); Cashley Cole (ok, he’s probably a better defender than RC but just type “Roberto Carlos” into YouTube and then ask yourself if Cashley can even do that in FIFA 10); Keano (probably the most versatile midfielder of the modern era but Claude Makelele actually has a position named after him); Titi (not a classic #9 like Horsey Face); Javier Zanetti (ok, you might have me here…that dude is just pure class); Viera (see under Keano rebuttal); Eto’o (Sammy was not nearly as prolific as RVN for the first half of the OOs); Ollie Kahn (could make the bench instead of Saint Iker but he’ll definitely make an appearance in my next post ALL UGLY WORLD XI!!!)…
So there you have it. Bring on the hate mail. Tell me I’m on crack for omitting Rivaldo. Go ahead, you know you want to.