To begin the series ‘The Best Five’ (still not officially endorsed by Leon Best) I thought I would start with a big one. The best five players of my generation. At first the aim was to uncover the best 5 players of all time but that is no easy task. Comparing different era’s is nigh on impossible, couple that with the fact that I’ve hardly seen much of the likes of Maradona bar some grainy World Cup images then my opinion is basically void. Therefore the best 5 players of my generation feels a more apt effort.
It’s always hard to provide concrete evidence that one player is better than another and even harder when there has been such an abundance of quality players over the last 20 years. Therefore most folk probably won’t agree with the names I’ve come up with here as there are some big names such as Ronaldinho, Henry and Iniesta left warming the bench. I’m the gaffer though, those lads will just have to deal with it. If you find this list as controversial as a Howard Webb penalty decision at Old Trafford then feel free to comment below with the ‘Best 5 players of your generation’.
5. Zinedine Zidane
A player of perfect balance, subtle skill, and wonderful vision, Zidane is regarded as one of the best to have ever set foot on a pitch. In fact according to the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll in 2004 Zidane is the greatest European footballer of the past 50 years.
Prone to moments of rage – not least his infamous head-butt on Marco Materazzi at the 2006 World Cup – Zidane will be remembered for the sublime (i.e. his goal in the 2002 Champion’s League final at Hampden) and the ridiculous.
4. Fat Ronaldo
The greatest out and out striker I’ve seen. Ronaldo was an unbelievable player who had it not been for injury and an obvious enjoyment of pies would of made it further up the list. Seems like a great guy too so deserves his place.
The best player never to win the Ballon D’Or? I think so. The fulcrum of Barcelona and Spain’s recent success, Xavi is a class act (just watch this goal). He keeps possession with ridiculous ease, highlighted by his La Liga and Champions League pass completion % for 2011 of 94%. However I fear Xavi will never be fully appreciated due to the fact he plays alongside Lionel Messi, who rightfully grabs all the headlines.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo
Not much needed to be said here, Ronaldo’s goal record speaks for itself. His progression from a tricky Man United youth prospect to global superstar has been nothing short of remarkable. Thought he’d reached his peak during his last couple of seasons at Old Trafford but has somehow found another gear. During any other generation Ronaldo would be head and shoulders above the rest, unfortunately for the Madrid star a certain Argentinean is kicking a ball about at the moment and he’s quite a good player too.
1. Lionel Messi
The greatest ever.