Friday, 9 July 2010

Golden Balls: Lionel Messi - really?

The sinister FIFA Technical Study Group (sounds like something out of one of CS Lewis's alien paranoia novels) has come up with the Golden Ball nominees for this World Cup (we must therefore assume that the best player will not emerge because of the final).

All attacking players.

Let's see:

Diego Forlan - Got to be in with a shout if just for the steely blue eyed (thousand yard) stares. If he'd scored a few for Man U he'd be a real star now, I think.

Asamoah Gyan - Work rate, flashes of skill, a face like a beautiful Battersea Dog.

Andres Iniesta - heartbeat, indistinguishable from the even more metronomic Xavi, also nominated. Hobbits with attitude.

Lionel Messi - er, really? Only if you've been watching the adverts and not the games.

Mesut Oezil - played in odd, lost spaces; found passes, scored a cracker. Best player until the Semi, I think.

Arjen Robben - giving it to someone with only one foot seems like positive discrimination; falls over air.

Bastian Schweinsteiger - the heartbeat of Germany; passed like a Spaniard.

Wesley Sneijder - a good final and he's in with a shout; seems like a lucky player and luck is the best skill you can have.

David Villa - fox in (and out) of the box. Spain would still be passing it, if he didn't occasionally swing a leg.

I guess this hasn't been a World Cup for individuals; teams have made all the brilliant displays, shared the joy and the burden. I guess this also explains why there are no defenders here; the good defenders have defended as a unit, only occasionally leaked. A triumph of organisation.

Still, Lionel Messi - really?


  1. I can't think of any really outstanding goalkeepers, either. Neuer, Stekelenburg, and Muslera have had their moments.

  2. Also, Neuer's probably the only keeper to make an assist...

  3. "Passed like a Spaniard" is a term of abuse, right?

    Well that's how I'm going to use it.

  4. It would have to be a matter between Snejder and Villa at this point of the competition, surely. I'm not willing to consider Robben until he starts passing not so much as a Spaniard, but at all.

    (Interesting lack of Brazilians. So long as Messi is in there, Maicon seems an odd omission. Oezil has to be the revelation of the tournament. I liked Gyan until he went to make a conciliatory gesture with a Uruguayan defender and then whacked him on the side of the head. That was a truly vicious little moment.)

  5. "falls over air." A sublime description and is the reason that keeps me from greatly admiring Robben.

  6. "If he'd scored a few for Man U he'd be a real star now, I think." Bloody typical English delusion. Best player of the tournament - Premier League has been completely irrelevant this year

  7. Hansen et al.'s snorting dismissal of Forlan's victory was absolutely outrageous. Trying to suggest that a player that has single handedly dragged his team to such heights while scoring 5 and being one of the few to master the ball (and all while obviously being a great guy) was some sort of crime rather than a fairly acceptable/feasible (or at least understandable )choice was just nasty.

    Disingenuously claiming that Iniesta was the plainly obvious choice - if Xavi had scored would it still 'obviously' be Iniesta? What about if Villa scored (he still scored 5 out of their 8 anyway)? Just say you think a Spanish player should have got, don't be so snide about it.

    Hansen has been particularly damaged by this tournament. So used to intellectually dwarfing such genius minds as Al Shearer and Lee Dixon he was completely out of his depth placed against the considered Seedorf and Klinsmann. The decrease in stature as he fails to register the bored faces while he prattles on about 'pace...pooer...dee-ter-min-aytion' in between their genuine insights was palpable.

  8. I just want to add to the indignation above. Forlan deserved it, has been an outstanding player for what? 3 - 4 years (including twice being Europe's top goalscorer) and has been immense in this tournament - both as an out and out striker and playing in the hole.

    What was so offensive about Hansen et al's comments? Probably the fact that they wiped their memories of all previous matches and could only remember what they had seen that day (I'm fairly sure they only recognise him because of his instrumental role in knocking out Chelsea in Champions League, part of the same mentality that you not good until do it against an England team).

    Fuck Hansen, fuck Shearer and fuck Dixon.

  9. Now that's a slogan we can all get behind.

    Forlan's a deserving winner, although I wouldn't say he's 'single-handedly' dragged his team anywhere.

  10. Perhaps 'single-handedly' is the wrong phrase but it was fairly apparent that Uruguay's success was inextricably linked to that of one player - in attitude/ability/performance. In contrast to the stars of Ronaldo/Messi/Rooney this actually had a positive effect and I'll personally grant Forlan with that.

    It's not that people are disappointed there were no stars, it's just that the stars were all people they didn't know/wan't.

  11. "Wesley Sneijder - a good final and he's in with a shout…"

    Apparently, the votes are cast prior to the final. At least that's what I assume when finding out that Sneijder ended up a close second to Forlan for the top prize, b/c I don't know how anyone could have voted for him after the final game. The Dutch team did not do themselves proud with that one, did they? Re: the final, I'm reminded of that marvelous Groucho Marx line when he tells the big bully to stop picking on the little bully.

  12. messi? really? didn't he played well..if he had scored would this remark be relevant..messi goal per ratio for country is one every three games as a striker..he played as a central attacking position from deep to box?..what you all expected..its alright not to like him but accept the talent the kid has..he deserved to be there..because he lighted up this tourney and a lacklustre argentine side that eked out a qualification berth to this final