My Perfect Player #6
Another superb entry to the series, this time by Dan Leydon of the excellent Hot Footy News is the guest bringing you his perfect player. Check out his blog for some quite awesome football posters, mostly available to buy. Over to you, Dan…
Brain – Eddie Gray
This was between Gray and George Best. I opted for Gray because he did use his brain, not just brilliantly on the pitch but off it. He lasted, whereas Best did not. Anyone who needs to see Eddie in full swing just check out his goal versus Burnley, which was voted the best goal ever scored by a Leeds player. The man just knew how to wedge space for himself by stopping and performing simple drag backs. Simplicity is the most effective weapon a player has and Gray knew how to move across the pitch like it was his private chess board. He looks so calm on the ball he could have had a wee snooze and still come out with the ball. Nonchalance. Can’t teach it.
Head – Alan Shearer
I’ll admit I tried to find an odd choice here that people would appreciate more. My efforts were in vain. As reliable for headed goals as a North Eastern mine is for coal, Alan Shearer rockets his way to the top of this list. His attitude as much as anything make him a great footballer. Oddly enough, it’s his bust up with Roy Keane that made me realise how good he was. I loved the way he went straight at him. Aggressive psychology is such a massive part of sport and he was bull thick and scored for fun. Centre halves need pummeling and he was well capable of this.
Eyes – Xabi Alonso
Vision is such a colossal bonus for any player to have. It may be one of things that cannot be improved with training as some people are born with better peripheral vision than others. Alonso is the only player to have scored from his own half with two consecutive goals. Add to that the fact they were scored with different feet and you have a great example of how aware of his surroundings this player is. His head never drops when looking for passes or chasing a game.
Mouth – Roy Keane
To have a functioning team you need a niggly, angry, hard bastard somewhere in the squad. The guy who screams at people when he’s just up ended them. The guy who unsettles the opposition ship. Arrigo Sacchi said the most important player a team can have is one who gets you the ball back. Roy Keane does all of the above and he scored goals. He can inspire, he can terrify. He cares not for the most pointless of things, reputations. He is a straight character and a model professional. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail was a famous quote he set great store by. It says a lot about him. One of the best players ever to grace the game.
Lungs – Tim Cahill
He keeps going and going and scoring and scoring. Whenever I hear Everton have scored a late goal I know in my bones who has put it past the keeper. Tim just has a knack. I don’t care how he does it, but he does it. He gets late goals by the bagful. When everybody else is thinking of the showers he’s rising to meet a dodgey cross and power it into the back of the net. Couple his fitness with his attitude and you have a winning combination. And that celebration of his is great fun. Beating up the corner flag. What a strange thing to do.
Upper body strength – Ronaldo
In the early nineties a man in parachute pants had a famous line in a famous song. Can’t. Touch. This. That should have been Ronaldos motto. He had such a strange turn of pace for a man as stocky as he was. Wenger said Messi was like a Playstation player but Ronaldo was doing the crazy acceleration and direction changes first. And the ability that let him do this was his strength. He kept people at bay with ease. Almost as much ease as when he scored goals.
Lower body strength – Ronaldinho
Bootylicious. Junk in the Trunk. My Humps, my humps, my lovely lady lumps. Ronaldinho has a big bum. It’s all muscle and it’s the secret to his skill. His lower body is so muscly he can easily brush people aside as he does nineteen step overs and four around the worlds as he updates his facebook through his iphone and then plays a through ball no-one else comprehended. He’s developed his legs and arse so much that he can nearly ignore opposition defenders as he flip flaps his way down the touchline. In his pomp at Barcelona he was the best player I have ever seen and he retains that place in my mind. I still remember him knocking John Terry for six with one nudge of his arse and then scoring in the Champions League a few years ago. Obviously John Terry wasn’t ready for Ronaldinho’s jelly.
Left foot – Lionel Messi
What’s not been said about Messi. I’ll tell ya what; I’m so sick of Messi cutting inside on his left foot and scoring belters of goals. It’s ridiculous at this stage. He has obliterated the trophy count of Maradona at the same age. 15 to 4 I think it stands at. He’s already the best player ever to grace the game. His left foot is not just from another planet, it’s from a planet that breeds great and cultured left feet for football. Just check out his chip against Mexico in the 2007 Copa. I fell over the first time I saw it.
Right foot – David Beckham
Once, while I was enjoying a sunset off the Western most tip of the island of Bali, a pink beauty queen dove soaked in Hugo Boss fluttered by me holding a photo of Noomi Rapace and Beyonce hugging an orphan. It was a beautiful experience. However it is topped anytime David Beckhams right foot comes into contact with a football. He made it a dynamic motion of poetry and awe. The curve of his strikes went on forever, sometimes causing the trajectory of the ball to leave the stadium for days on end. They say anything done well enough is an art form, good old David brought ball striking to a previously unseen level of exaltation. And he has his own brand of nuts in Japan.
So my perfect footballer has the brain of Eddie Gray, the head of Alan Shearer, the eyes of Xabi Alonso, the mouth of Roy Keane, the lungs of Tim Cahill, the rump of Ronaldinho, the strength of Ronaldo, the left foot of Messi and the right foot of David Beckham. This will be one seriously conflicted person. I’ll get going on my perfect psychologist. The brain of Freud with the communication skills of Jung….