My Perfect Player #15
The 15th Perfect Player comes to you courtesy of Jake Harrison, who blogs on his self-titled site. This piece is, like all of the ‘My Perfect Player’ contributions, extremely well-written and well thought out. Over to you, Jake.
Head – Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo may not be the most likeable of footballers, and his heading ability maybe isn’t his best asset, but his quality in the air can be staggering at times. He’s not only got an impressive leap; the power that the Real Madrid forward can put into his headers is astounding. Ronaldo can run into the box from either wing and slam home a header or ingeniously flick a header past a flapping goalkeeper – one of the best header-ers of a football you will ever see.
Brain – Filippo Inzaghi
287 goals in 614 club appearances over a career spanning twenty years, and still going – Pippo Inzaghi should be showcased as one of the greats of the modern era. His killer instinct is second-to-none; it is said that that somewhat-frustrating (for the opposition) ability to be in the right place at the right time cannot be taught, it is natural. He may have been born offside, but Inzaghi could read a football match – at least in an attacking sense – like a book. And a relatively simple book at that.
Eyes – Xavi
This man gets a lot of plaudits, and rightly so. His passing is supreme and, with that, his vision to make that pass is, at times, quite unbelievable. Clearly the Spanish midfielder needs the movement of others around him to allow him to pick the pass, but it’s the way in which he is always looking, eyes darting everywhere to try and find a player in space or, if not, space for him to run into that always amazes me. He does most football-y things better than most – and using his eyes is certainly one of them.
Lungs – Ji Sung Park
Pretty simple this one (and quite a popular choice, I would imagine) – he’s not called ‘three lungs’ for nothing ya’know. Park just runs and runs and runs and runs and.. well you get the picture. The South Korean’s stamina is just incredible and, while his quality was doubted in his early Manchester United days, he is now seen as a valuable asset to the squad. And his lungs will be a valuable asset to my perfect player.
Mouth – David Beckham
I was unsure for who to pick for this body part, so here’s my thinking: what do you want from a footballer’s mouth, or rather how would you prefer the player to use his mouth? Loud, abusive and ‘passionate’ to strike fear into the hearts of the opposition? Or perhaps a quiet player who reserves judgement unless it is needed, showing respect for his fellow professionals and generally getting on with his job without mouthing off? To be honest, I wish that footballers would shut up most of the time, both on and off the pitch. So I’ve gone with someone who always seems to say the right things and, although it’s probably all PR-peddled rubbish, at least he’s not a loudmouth. David Beckham – not a loudmouth.
Left foot – Alvaro Recoba
I used to love this man growing up and I can still sit and watch him on YouTube for hours. A deadball specialist but much more than that, the attacking midfielder has an absolute wand of a left foot. In fact, that doesn’t do it justice. What’s better than a wand? A lightsaber? Alvaro Recoba has a lightsaber of a left foot. This video sums the man up better than I can ever wish to.
Right foot – Juninho Pernambucano
You can have your delicately curled free-kicks into the top corner from a certain former-England captain who isn’t a loudmouth – I’ll take 30-yard-plus rockets into the top corner every time. Juninho can hit freekicks from anywhere and indeed everywhere. There are so many highlight reels of the Brazilians’ freekicks you’d think it would have become tiresome by now – but it hasn’t, and it never will. Here’s the best one. Smack!
So, my perfect player would consist of the head of Ronaldo, the brain of Inzaghi, the eyes of Xavi, the lungs of Park, the mouth of Beckham, the left foot of Recoba and the right foot of Juninho.