Who Are The Top Five Players Of The Last Five Years?

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Post by messixaviesta Tue Jul 26, 2011 5:21 am

Today morning I was thinking that the post WC 2006 period was one of major change. A lot of the stalwarts of the previous years were kind of past it and it was time for a new world order. Italy won the world cup with aging stars and France their opponents in the final were even older. Zidane retired. Ronaldo had lost his physicality too much to reach his best levels again. Ronaldinho was never going to be the same again. Pirlo and Totti were also close to moving past their best. Deco's level started to fall. Lampard and Gerrard had kind of seen their best days. Ballack would never be the same after joining Chelsea. Shevchenko's career was destroyed after moving to Chelsea. Even Henry was past his very best. Figo and Nedved were moving towards retirement. We can think of more names of course.

So after considering that it makes sense to use the post WC 2006 period as our starting point, if we are trying to make a list of the best players of the last few years. My list is given below followed by some explanations. I am interested in knowing the lists of each of you. There is no set criteria. As an individual you can decide what criteria you consider more important than the others. Also I must mention that for the players under consideration you can consider their years before 2006 as well to get a better overall picture.

1. Lionel Messi
2. Cristiano Ronaldo
3. Xavi
4. Andres Iniesta
5. Kaka / Samuel Eto'o

If I try to combine every criteria then perhaps the player who should be at the top of my list is Xavi. He's been virtually flawless in both club and international football. However this is where I get into a dilemma. Since I think Messi is the only contemporary player who can potentially be an all time top ten player he should be on top. If I put him on top, what are the arguments against that. Perhaps only one - international football.

If I choose to offset that with his extraordinary brilliance in every other way then can I find any reason not to give the second spot to C.Ronaldo? Internationally he too suffers to some extent from the same problems that Messi suffers - poor coaches, systems and team mates. Messi is more of a big match player but it can be argued that he gets to play in a better team. Also Messi has more natural football ability but C.Ronaldo to some extent offsets that with his immense athleticism. Both have crazy levels of consistency that other forwards who shone brightly for a short time just couldn't match. So I will just go by common consensus and respect the voting patterns for the awards of the last few years.

Xavi can be no less than third. I mean he should have been much higher but individual kind of players and goal scorers are generally rated higher. Anyway we can say he is by far the best midfielder of this era.

For the fourth position I think it's close between three players. It's debatable but in my list Iniesta edges out the others, the biggest factor being international football.

Finally for the fifth position I can hardly choose between the two remaining names and am thus tying them.

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Post by Albiceleste Tue Jul 26, 2011 5:36 am

Eto'o has won and participated in 3 Champions League Finals in the past 5 years, 2 if you don't count the one before the 2006 WC, incredible really. I think he beats Kaka to #5.

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Post by messixaviesta Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:13 am

Lionel Messi wrote:Eto'o has won and participated in 3 Champions League Finals in the past 5 years, 2 if you don't count the one before the 2006 WC, incredible really. I think he beats Kaka to #5.

No let us count the one before 2006 as well. You make a very valid point. The reasons I couldn't decide for sure are two. One is that Kaka was his team's best player while Eto'o was hardly ever his team's best player. The other reason is that Eto'o has been a sort of an under-performer internationally. I mean I don't expect him to match up to what Spain does with a Cameroon team but at his level he should definitely be doing better in African Nations Cup which is basically the ire some people of Cameroon also feel against him. Not even being able to qualify from the group stage of WC 2010 and not being able to even reach WC 2006 further goes against him. Kaka couldn't do too much at WC 2006 and WC 2010 but he's been a steady performer for Brazil, their most key player in the post-Ronaldinho era and won the Confed Cup 2009 as the tournament's best player.

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Post by billy_gr Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:17 am

Messi
Ronaldo
Eto’o
Sneijder
Xavi
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Post by ChollaVille Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:23 am

Messi, Cristiano, Eto'o, Xavi, Puyol
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Post by messixaviesta Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:10 am

@billy_gr wrote:Messi
Ronaldo
Eto’o
Sneijder
Xavi

You mean Sneijder is ahead of Xavi in your list?

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Post by The Franchise Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:22 am

I wont do an order, but for me, the top 4 pick themselves. Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and Cristiano.

The final pick you can go with a few players.

I am surprised to read anyone would choose Snijeder, one season of good work surely isnt enough.

For me, its Ibra. Its been him and Eto'o for me.

Surprised you would name Kaka and not Ibra JD, mostly because the last time Kaka has been better then Ibra would probably be more then 5 years ago. For 2 seasons previous to moving to La Liga, Ibra outplayed Kaka pretty clearly and every year since then he has been better.

Eto'o and Ibra is a tough one to me. I am sure for most here it isnt, but I cant ignore the fact Ibra has head and shoulders the best player on multiple title winning Inter teams, whereas Eto'o has not. Eto'o surely is better when you need someone most, he is surely better in terms of fitting into teams, but as in individual player I dont know if he has been better then Ibra for these years.
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Post by Khaled Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:58 am

@billy_gr wrote:Messi
Ronaldo
Eto’o
Sneijder
Xavi

Sneijder ahead of Xavi & Iniesta No wayy!!!!!!!!!!
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Post by Khaled Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:59 am

1- Messi
.
.
2- Cristiano
3- Xavi
4- Iniesta
5- Eto'o
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Post by billy_gr Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:31 pm

My list was not in order.
And I have trouble picking Sneijder over Iniesta but I do so cause I think he achieved great things in a team weaker than the one Iniesta operates in
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Post by ChollaVille Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:47 pm

@billy_gr wrote:My list was not in order.
And I have trouble picking Sneijder over Iniesta but I do so cause I think he achieved great things in a team weaker than the one Iniesta operates in

you mean... Sneijder is Dutch xD thatswhy xD LOL Very Happy
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Post by billy_gr Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:00 pm

Heh, I see the knack I have for Dutch players is known by now…
What can I say… guilty as charged Smile
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Post by messixaviesta Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:32 pm

@The Franchise wrote:I wont do an order, but for me, the top 4 pick themselves. Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and Cristiano.

The final pick you can go with a few players.

I am surprised to read anyone would choose Snijeder, one season of good work surely isnt enough.

For me, its Ibra. Its been him and Eto'o for me.

Surprised you would name Kaka and not Ibra JD, mostly because the last time Kaka has been better then Ibra would probably be more then 5 years ago. For 2 seasons previous to moving to La Liga, Ibra outplayed Kaka pretty clearly and every year since then he has been better.

Eto'o and Ibra is a tough one to me. I am sure for most here it isnt, but I cant ignore the fact Ibra has head and shoulders the best player on multiple title winning Inter teams, whereas Eto'o has not. Eto'o surely is better when you need someone most, he is surely better in terms of fitting into teams, but as in individual player I dont know if he has been better then Ibra for these years.

Excellent post dani. I loved reading it and am really glad to see we agree so well on the top four picks.

I agree about Sneijder. He was great that one season but for me one season is not enough to be picked in such lists or even any decade wide lists for that matter.

Now about Kaka, Eto'o and Ibra. Going by your arguments and also what others have said perhaps Eto'o is the best pick. Ibra is the best Serie A player but that's where the problem lies - he is only a Serie A player. What is he in UCL? Largely called a flop. What is he internationally? Not even above average and for every odd moment of brilliance there are long periods of ineffectiveness. What about him in La Liga? One could argue he did well in the first half but in the second half of the season he was put on the bench by his coach in favor of academy youngsters. All these make too many negatives against him. As for Kaka, he had that one great season in 2006-07. Since then he wasn't able to match those heights but he was still quite steady for the next two seasons especially in international football. What goes in favor of him for me is that he has been the difference maker everywhere. In Serie A he couldn't win any more titles after 2003-04 but he was always steady with his performances. In UCL he had that extraordinary 2006-07 and also a very good 2004-05. In international football he won Confed 2009 as the tournament's best player and was also Brazil's most important player in world cup qualifying. All things considered it's very close. I guess maybe it should be Eto'o at #5 then. He is also there in almost everyone's list making him a nice consensus choice.

One question here though. If we include Kaka's years from 2003 to 2006 then will he make it to your list?



Last edited by messixaviesta on Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:55 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Post by billy_gr Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:07 pm


I wouldn’t pick Ibra.
I don’t know if he could make it in my top 10.

Let me explain myself. The guy was (probably is) one of the most gifted forwards around. Big deal.
Football is not only about talent. When I think about Ibra I cannot think about passion, heart, soul etc.
The guy left his NT at 28 ffs because he was too lazy to play there. One might say he wouldn’t have won any silverware anyway because of Sweden’s overall lack of quality but that’s not enough for me.

Seeing him playing for Barca I was frustrated. He is the exact opposite from a mentality point of view from the team that represents everything I like in football.

No Ibra is not for the man for me.

Snejider on the other hand was consistently good wherever he played. Even in that lousy Madrid 3 years ago he was one of the best players to watch.
Inter’s CL title is by great amount Wesley’s work and even more Netherland’s presence in the WC finals.
Let’s not forget that if it weren’t for Robben’s misplaced shot Snejider could be the man of the final.

In all the above situations note that Sneijder played in a team overall inferior in quality than Iniesta
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Post by messixaviesta Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:58 pm

Khaledbarca wrote:1- Messi
.
.
2- Cristiano
3- Xavi
4- Iniesta
5- Eto'o

I guess if we have to get some kind of consensus so far then this is probably it though the order may still vary.

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Post by messixaviesta Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:00 pm

@billy_gr wrote:My list was not in order.
And I have trouble picking Sneijder over Iniesta but I do so cause I think he achieved great things in a team weaker than the one Iniesta operates in

Ok. Thanks for the reply. As I said before there is no point forcing one's opinion on another. Everyone can define their own criteria.

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Post by The Franchise Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:32 pm

@messixaviesta wrote:
@The Franchise wrote:I wont do an order, but for me, the top 4 pick themselves. Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and Cristiano.

The final pick you can go with a few players.

I am surprised to read anyone would choose Snijeder, one season of good work surely isnt enough.

For me, its Ibra. Its been him and Eto'o for me.

Surprised you would name Kaka and not Ibra JD, mostly because the last time Kaka has been better then Ibra would probably be more then 5 years ago. For 2 seasons previous to moving to La Liga, Ibra outplayed Kaka pretty clearly and every year since then he has been better.

Eto'o and Ibra is a tough one to me. I am sure for most here it isnt, but I cant ignore the fact Ibra has head and shoulders the best player on multiple title winning Inter teams, whereas Eto'o has not. Eto'o surely is better when you need someone most, he is surely better in terms of fitting into teams, but as in individual player I dont know if he has been better then Ibra for these years.

Excellent post dani. I loved reading it and am really glad to see we agree so well on the top four picks.

I agree about Sneijder. He was great that one season but for me one season is not enough to be picked in such lists or even any decade wide lists for that matter.

Now about Kaka, Eto'o and Ibra. Going by your arguments and also what others have said perhaps Eto'o is the best pick. Ibra is the best Serie A player but that's where the problem lies - he is only a Serie A player. What is he in UCL? Largely called a flop. What is he internationally? Not even above average and for every odd moment of brilliance there are long periods of ineffectiveness. What about him in La Liga? One could argue he did well in the first half but in the second half of the season he was put on the bench by his coach in favor of academy youngsters. All these make too many negatives against him. As for Kaka, he had that one great season in 2006-07. Since then he wasn't able to match those heights but he was still quite steady for the next two seasons especially in international football. What goes in favor of him for me is that he has been the difference maker everywhere. In Serie A he couldn't win any more titles after 2003-04 but he was always steady with his performances. In UCL he had that extraordinary 2006-07 and also a very good 2004-05. In international football he won Confed 2009 as the tournament's best player and was also Brazil's most important player in world cup qualifying. All things considered it's very close. I guess maybe it should be Eto'o at #5 then. He is also there in almost everyone's list making him a nice consensus choice.

One question here though. If we include Kaka's years from 2003 to 2006 then will he make it to your list?


Well you can make a fair argument for Eto'o, I wouldnt deny anyone that. As I said though, Ibra has won league titles every single season he has played, all of which (apart from at Barca with Messi) was he the very best player on the team by a fair distance.

Eto'o cannot claim that.

Yes, Ibra hasnt done anything for Sweden...but what people shouldnt gloss over is they arent good anyway. Also, Eto'o hasnt won anything for Cameroon, not his fault at all, but if you have balance it both ways.

NT football as a whole shouldnt be that big a factor, this point is directed most as Sneijder over Ibra as an arguement. In these 5 years how many NT games has Sneijder played? 40? Ibra and Snijeder play that many games in just ONE club season....maybe not Snijeder because he is somewhat injury prone..but thats another story.

CL? Sneijder and Eto'o have clearly outperformed Ibra, at least past the group stages. There is no argument here.

However again, thats how many total games? 50 games? 60?

Kaka 03-06? Yeah, sure. He was dominate then.

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Post by messixaviesta Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:11 pm

@The Franchise wrote:
Well you can make a fair argument for Eto'o, I wouldnt deny anyone that. As I said though, Ibra has won league titles every single season he has played, all of which (apart from at Barca with Messi) was he the very best player on the team by a fair distance.

Eto'o cannot claim that.

Yes, Ibra hasnt done anything for Sweden...but what people shouldnt gloss over is they arent good anyway. Also, Eto'o hasnt won anything for Cameroon, not his fault at all, but if you have balance it both ways.

NT football as a whole shouldnt be that big a factor, this point is directed most as Sneijder over Ibra as an arguement. In these 5 years how many NT games has Sneijder played? 40? Ibra and Snijeder play that many games in just ONE club season....maybe not Snijeder because he is somewhat injury prone..but thats another story.

CL? Sneijder and Eto'o have clearly outperformed Ibra, at least past the group stages. There is no argument here.

However again, thats how many total games? 50 games? 60?

Kaka 03-06? Yeah, sure. He was dominate then.


By and large I agree with everything dani.

I understand that internationally Eto'o and Ibra can be called equal. As you explained in terms of the number of matches yes Ibra does get some points on being consistently his team's best player but the other point that I always include is that of crucial matches and big moments whether it's a league title decider against closest competitor, a UCL knock out match or a knock out match in a major international competition. So considering all that Eto'o would be higher on my list than Ibra.

Now there is one point about this list I tried to hint at but it's a little difficult to explain. I don't want this to be strictly about the last five years. That starting point has only been mentioned to leave out the earlier greats who didn't play much of a part in the last five years. However for players under consideration I would prefer that we look at their entire careers including what they did before 2006. That's why I put Kaka in my list.

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