Top 10 Soccer Players to Watch in 2010
The 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off on June 11. To get in the soccer spirit, we’re counting down the Top 10 Players to Watch. From Lionel Messi to Wayne Rooney to Cristiano Ronaldo, let us know if we’ve missed anyone you think should have made the cut!
No. 10: Michael Essien (Ghana)
This Chelsea midfielder doesn’t shy away from attacking. One of Africa’s finest soccer players, Michael Eissen led Ghana’s team to near victory in Germany in 2006. As a two-time African Player of the Year, Michael is considered to be the world’s most dominant defensive midfielder. He can cover a huge amount of territory, has tons of energy and possesses a powerful long-range shot. His home country is Ghana.
No. 9: Steven Gerrard (England)
Though some people said he was too small to ever be a pro soccer player, Steven Gerrard of England grew up to become the second-best Liverpool player of all time. He’s an amazing attacking midfielder who also operates as a second striker or a winger. He can play pretty much anywhere on the field, and that’s one of the things that make him very valuable.
No. 8: Fernando Torres (Spain)
[kwlink 13911 ]Fernando Torres[/kwlink] was born to score goals. He started off in goal but was converted to a striker when he was 7 years old. At age 10 he scored 55 goals, catching the attention of Atletico Madrid – his favorite Spanish team – which signed him at 17. After a transfer to Liverpool, this player from Spain has 132 competitive league goals under his belt.
No. 7: Andres Iniesta (Spain)
There’s a reason Andre Iniesta’s nickname is “The Illusionist.” Like magic, this Barcelona player is able to create a steady flow of chances for whoever is lucky enough to be playing in front of him. Also like magic, he seems to be able to play through almost any injury. A small and technical playmaker with a low center of gravity and tons of ball control, it’s no wonder much of [kwlink 1442 ]Spain[/kwlink] thinks of Andre as the best player in the world.
No. 6: Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast)
This Chelsea forward was paid a reported $37 million to relocate from Africa to play for the English team in 2004. Six years later, Didier Drogba’s proven himself as one of the world’s best strikers, and probably the most athletic one. His super-human physical power makes him practically unbeatable when he puts his mind to it.
No. 5: Xavi (Spain)
Every soccer team needs a Xavi! He’s pretty much the glue that holds Barcelona’s team together today. He’s smart and fast, and makes precise passes, with an awesome ability to keep the ball.
No. 4: Kaka (Brazil)
Kaka happens to be a rare Brazilian star soccer player who comes from an upper-middle-class background. After winning pretty much every trophy there is to win for Milan, the team sold him to real Madrid for about $95 million. But for the World Cup, Kaka’s considered Brazil’s best player.
No. 3: Wayne Rooney (England)
Wayne Rooney is known as “the baby-faced assassin and the assissin-faced baby in his native England, where he plays for Manchester United. He’s a highly athletic world-class striker who swerves all over the attacking half of the field to drop back into midfield when needed or provide the final tap on a goal. Along with his fitness/fashion guru wife, Wayne makes up one-half of a modern British power couple.
No. 2: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Besides being linked to such celebs as Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, [kwlink 5235 ]Cristiano Ronaldo[/kwlink] of Portugal was famous for wearing the No. 7 Manchester United jersey also worn by soccer greats like Eric Cantona and David Beckham before being sold to Real Madrid. He’s explosive who specializes in long-range free kicks and shows the ability to shoot from pretty much anywhere on the field.
No. 1: Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Lionel Messi is the best pound-for-pound soccer player in the world – maybe of all time. At 22, he’s won just about everything there is to win, both individually and in club soccer (he currently plays for Barcelona), including an Olympic gold medal for his home country Argentina. Lionel’s game is based on its unpredictability and magnificent control of the ball, which always seems to do whatever he asks of it. At 5-foot-7, he may be short, but he’s a good header. In fact, he’s SO good, Maradona, one of the best of all time soccer players, has named Lionel his successor as Argentina's soccer savior (unfortunately, every other player who’s received this label from Maradona in the past has failed to live up to it).