FIFPro’s shortlist for the midfielders to make up 2012’s World XI was always going to be something I took an interest in. The other day they got the defenders pretty much correct with the one exception of Gareth Bale (when was the last time Bale played at left back people seriously). The first 13 names on the shortlist of 15 midfielders seem fine to me.
Xabi Alonso (Spain, Real Madrid)
Sergio Busquets (Spain, Barcelona)
Cesc Fabregas (Spain, Barcelona)
Eden Hazard (Belgium, Chelsea)
Andrés Iniesta (Spain, Barcelona)
Luka Modric (Croatia, Real Madrid)
Mesut Özil (Germany, Real Madrid)
Andrea Pirlo (Italy, Juventus)
Franck Ribéry (France, Bayern Munich)
David Silva (Spain, Manchester City)
Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany, Bayern Munich)
Yaya Touré (Ivory Coast, Manchester City)
Xavi (Spain, Barcelona)
Pirlo had a great Euro 2012 while the Barcelona trio of Xavi, Busquets and Iniesta needed little back-up. While the inclusion of Cesc Fabregas may raise some eyebrows the next two names on the shortlist were really quite a surprise…
Frank Lampard (England, Chelsea)
Steven Gerrard (England, Liverpool)
Lampard I can get my head around. He was a vital member of the Chelsea team that won the Champions League so ok maybe I can just about let that one slide. He played a fair amount of games (40) and grabbed eight goals in that time. In fact the more I look at the stats I realise I am being unfair singling him out.
Gerrard on the other hand has not had the best of 2012’s. He was (arguably) England’s best player at Euro 2012 but apart from that his form for Liverpool has been sketchy at best. He played 52 games in 2012 scoring eight goals as Liverpool suffered in the League but did win the League Cup.
It is voted for by professional players and maybe they showed to much respect for the Liverpool talisman; respect that he has of course earned but to say he was one of the 15 best midfielders in Europe this year is false.
Who else could lay claim to the throne then? Well a few names spring to mind such as…
Toni Kroos, Ramires, Arda Turan, Sami Khedira, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Claudio Marchisio, Arturo Vidal, Kevin Prince Boateng and Sebastian Kehl are players who could argue they have performed better over the course of 2012 and even the likes of Michu or Javi Martinez could claim similar.
But what do you think? Was Steven Gerrard one of the 15 best midfielders in Europe in 2012?
image: © wonker