Tag Archives: Franck Ribery

My Perfect Footballer #5 – Kendall Rowan

Being a 90’s baby means I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing some of the G.O.A.T footballers, from Zidane to Ronaldinho and more recently Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

All of them have different abilities and excellence in different areas – so without using a single player for more than one attribute, I’m going to build my perfect footballer.


Brain
Andrea Pirlo

Pirlo had the ability as a player to almost stop the game in real time and scan the length of the pitch in the middle of an attack. If he was a yard behind in pace, he made up two anticipating the ball and was fascinating to watch. He even himself famously said, “football is played with the head, and your feet are just the tools.”

Heading Ability
Didier Drogba

A man mountain on the pitch and a character off it, Drogba ranked very highly for me in terms of players who had an eye, or rather a head, for goal. Scoring some of the greatest goals of his career with his head, Drogba had as much skill up top as he did down at his feet. With heading being almost a dying part of the modern game, an aerial threat like the Ivorian’s is hard to come by. Huge mention to Alan Shearer in this category as well.

Physique
Zlatan Ibrahimovic

I have to go with Zlatan for this one. It’s hard to ignore the slender, ripped physique of the man that has allowed him to play at the very highest levels of the game worldwide for over two decades. Not many players have the longevity and the strength to compete like Zlatan has.

Hands
Gianluigi Buffon

One of the greatest goalkeepers of all time who has consistently performed at top level for over 20 years, you cannot deny the shot-stopping ability of this Italian beast. Buffon made incredible saves with ease in his pomp and that makes him my top candidate for this category, alongside being the most capped player in Italian history. A testament to his greatness.

Tackling
Carles Puyol

This Spanish international had a defensive career matched by very few, and in terms of trophies is as decorated as any. Puyol was a master tackler and timed challenges with precision we could only dream of seeing today, meaning he only received one red card in his whole career.

Agility
Neymar

Known for the silky way he dribbles past defenders and his showboating, Neymar for me just simply floats across the pitch with or without a football at his feet. He can zip effortlessly all ways around a defender, has a wicked change of direction and on his day is a sublime watch.

Passing
Xavi

The man who is known for completing the vast majority of his passes in every game and controlled the tempo when the ball was at his feet, Xavi was another easy pick for me here. Any type of pass – short, crossing, through balls; he could do it with ease and accuracy and was a joy to watch for me.

First Touch
Andres Iniesta

Iniesta for me is one of the best to ever do it when receiving a ball. It didn’t matter if it was a long or short pass, the ease with which he could bring it under his spell on the first touch was a thing of beauty to see.

Speed
Kylian Mbappe

This category was one of the hardest to choose because the fastest players change year on year, but I went with this man due to the heights he has reached at such a young age, and consistently for the past 3 years has ranked as one of the fastest players in the world.

Dribbling
Franck Ribery

In the 2000’s, this Frenchman was massively underrated in certain areas of the game, but was amazing to watch when taking on defenders one on one. Stats also don’t lie – for dribbling attempts in a single year, Ribery attempted an enormous 1084 dribbles (2013), compared to Messi’s 331 and Ronaldo’s 252.


Skills
Ronaldinho

If you know and watch football even the tiniest bit, you still know how great this man was. One of my favourite footballers of all time, he had the ability to get you off your seat with the way he moved a football, gracefully but with purpose anywhere on the pitch. He is a master of the art of football.

Crossing
Kevin De Bruyne

A lot of people would’ve opted for Beckham here, so to be different I opted for one of the best attacking midfielders in the world right now, Kevin De Bruyne. He has lit up the Premier League with his accurate passing, eye for goal and electric crosses and has statistically ranked in the best crossers amongst Europe’s top leagues for a few seasons now.

Right Foot
Cristiano Ronaldo

I don’t think this list would even be complete without including the two greatest players of this era. The albeit contested greatest goalscorer of all time, the weapon that is CR7’s right foot has allowed us to see some amazing goals for club and country, and has cemented him in history.

Left Foot
Lionel Messi

As above, these two categories practically picked themselves for me. You cannot deny the prowess these two possess in front of goal, and it’s hard to even ever imagine a player with the ability in both feet of the two greats.

FC Barcelona v Juventus: Group G - UEFA Champions League : News Photo

My Perfect Footballer #2 – Micah Fanimo

WORDS BY MICAH FANIMO

The beautiful game has enabled us to see so many different footballers, who have and still are taking us through so many different emotions.

Football is a game where we have seen tears of joy, heartbreak and sorrow, all which can happen within 90 minutes.

In my almost three decades of watching the sport, I have had a lot of favourite players and have taken a liking to their attributes. All of this has assisted me in creating in what I believe to be, the perfect footballer.


Football Brain
Fernando Redondo

A cerebral footballer player, it was like watching a symphony. He controlled not only his team but that of the opposition. A brilliant, intelligent, tactical mind. A truly superior player.

Heading Ability
Cristiano Ronaldo

You didn’t think I was going to create my perfect footballer and leave out Cristiano Ronaldo, did you? His heading ability is second to none. The spring, the hang, the power? Unmatched. His header against Roma in the Champions League for Manchester United, or the one against United for Real Madrid where he jumped twice the height of Patrice Evra? Ridiculous.

Physique
Paul Pogba

We have seen many different physiques and body types dominate world football – I mean look at the difference between Messi and Ronaldo. There is no one truly dominant one. However, the physique I most admire is that of Paul Pogba. Standing at 6ft 2′, his frame is perfect for my ideal footballer. Strong core, long legs and perfect body symmetry.

Hands
Rory Delap

Only one answer for me regarding this and that is the great Rory Delap. Not the most authentic footballer but ask any Premier League Team between 2009 and 2012 who the player they feared the most with the ball in their hands was. He is renowned for having one of the most feared throw-ins in football, an absolute cannon which could cause trouble if the ball went out anywhere in the opposition half.

Tackling
Ivan Cordoba

What a player this man was. His man marking ability and timing in the tackle was second to none. What made his efficiency even more effective was the fact he was only 5ft 8′. You don’t normally see defenders that small this day and age. His tackling stood out in the early 00’s when Inter Milan were on the rise and eventually won five Serie A titles in a row.

Agility
Franck Ribery

With a frightening change of direction and speed, my choice for agility will be Frank Ribery. Even now in Serie A at 37 years of age, his burst of acceleration and movement still has younger players confused. During his prime for Marseille and Bayern Ribery was one of, if not the, most agile wingers in world football.

Passing
Guti

One of the best and most underrated creative players and playmakers of his generation. His vision and weight of pass is amongst the all-time greats with both execution and aesthetics. Passing range and ability to provide assists for teammates – we all remember the back heeled assists for Benzema and Zidane, right?

First Touch
Lionel Messi

Out of his many glorious attributes, this is the one that I believe is the most important to his success as a player. Lionel Messi is often and widely regarded by many as the best dribbler of all time and is still going strong at the age of 33. This is all made by his first touch. It usually takes players out the game before he even starts dribbling. A glorious deft touch which constantly leaves defenders in his wake.

Speed
Kylian Mbappe

This was a very tricky area. It’s not just having the speed, it’s how the uses it. Mbappe has freakish speed which he has displayed at every level. Whether it’s running past a player or galloping down the pitch on the counter attack. Not many players have that top level speed and intelligence to go along with it.

Dribbling
Eden Hazard

This was close between him, Andres Iniesta and the late, great Diego Maradona for me. However, If Messi takes the throne for first touch, then Hazard takes the throne for dribbling. An absolute wizard with the ball at his feet with the ability to glide past four or five players at will on a weekly basis. With his low centre of gravity and stocky frame, it is almost impossible to get the ball off Eden Hazard when he is in full flow.

Skills
Ronaldinho

Without question. There has been no player, past or present, that has displayed the array of skills this man has on a football pitch. It is impossible to even compare. He stands alone.

Crossing
Kevin De Bruyne

Sorry Becks. Ideally this is would be you, but I found a player who can do this with both feet. A lovely delivery with either the left or right foot and with just as much variation. Aesthetically it might not be easy on the eye to most, but I love it.

Right Foot
Thierry Henry

The finesse king. The best player to ever play in the Premier League and the best striker of my generation by an absolute mile. Thierry Henry’s right foot needs to be immortalised. Nothing it couldn’t do – well apart from score in a final, but I’ll give him a pass.

Left Foot
Adriano

“I played with great champions. I played with players that were already…wow. I played with players that I saw were a talent and became…wow, but the one I felt could do it longer, and he didn’t do it, was Adriano when I was at Inter. He could shoot from every angle, nobody could tackle him, nobody could take the ball, he was a pure animal.” — Zlatan Ibrahimović.

I have seen many left foots in my life. So many devastating goals, passes, tricks and flicks. However, I have never seen one quite as revered as Adriano’s. The Emperor.


You can follow Micah on Twitter:
@MixahFanimo