Looking at the world of football through the eyes of the press can give you a perverted and totally false view of what’s actually happening and on a broader scale what the world actually thinks.
So we turned to the world of football shirts – specifically, online retailers, and more specifically, a single online retailer who bribed us with a couple of free shirts (which reminds me – Simon, where are they? 🙂 )
Here’s the top 7:
1. Cristiano Ronaldo – Portugal
Most-hated footballer in the Premier League? You wouldn’t believe it. Cristiano Ronaldo has recently elected to wear the number 7 shirt during Euro 2008 even though he historically played in the number 17 shirt for the national side.
All eyes will be on Ronaldo to see if he can do justice to the hype and perform on the big stage – which for some people translates into dragging an average team to victory single-handedly with godlike performances. As if we needed to feed that ego any further…
2. Alessandro Del Piero – Italy
After the player has recently been called back into the squad for the Euro 2008 campaign, there has been massive demand for his shirt.
The man is hardly someone to frighten young defenders with he’s as effective a striker as he was two years ago in Germany and as a player he’s somewhat of a role model for the younger generation. A player the fans can idolise and respect for more than just his football.
3. Cesc Fabregas – Spain
More than Ronaldo, Fabregas needs to stamp his authority on international football and justify his potential. With Spain having one of the strongest squads this summer Fab will have a real chance to win the Euro – and raise his profile to a global level.
Fabregas also has a new TV show…
4. Fabio Cannavaro – Italy
Much-maligned after his move to Real Madrid but my clearest memory of Canna remains his performances for Italy in Germany 06, where he was the biggest reason Italy got to the final and eventually won the World Cup. The Italian captain is as professional as they come, and if he can, for one last time, do another ‘Germany’, Italy will have a good shot at escaping the Group of Death and progressing to the final.
5. Ruud van Nistelrooy – Netherlands
Van the Man may have left the Premier League but has retained his goalscoring habits. Despite the 2006 World Cup snub he’s still one of the most effective strikers in world football today and can always be counted upon to make space for himself and grab a goal or two.
Let’s hope the goal celebrations return this summer…
6. Michael Ballack – Germany
One of the most effective, determined, talented and underrated midfielders of his generation. He is that rare breed – an all-round central midfielder who has triumped in an age of ‘specialist midfielders’. The 31 year old Germany captain will be hoping to improve on Germany’s performance from Germany 06 and go a step further this time around.
Plus the Chelsea man can dive with the best of them…
7. David Trezeguet – France
Wait, what? Didn’t it say ‘going to Euro 2008’? Yes, it does, and Trezeguet’s inclusion in these numbers is all the more shocking since he’s been OUT of the France team ever since he slept with Domenech’s wife and refused to share his own missus with the coach. People have been killed for less than that, but Trez still holds a grudge against the gaffer for some reason (of course I’m making this up – how naive do you think Domenech is?).
Show of support from fans? Probably. But keeping Henry / Benzema / Ribery out of the top 7? Methinks Trez is up to something…
Who do you think are the most popular players for each national team going to Euro 2008?