Top 10 Players of the 2010 World Cup

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The lights have gone out in South Africa and the trophy has gone back to Spain for the next four years. So while we all relive all the excitement that the world’s largest sporting event has to offer, we reflect on the players who made the World Cup the dramatic clash of nations it always is.

10. Arjen Robben – The Netherlands

Arjen Robben is arguably one of the greatest Dutch players of all time. Despite missing the first two games of the World Cup due to a hamstring injury, he came back and helped his team surpass teams like Brazil and Uruguay to get into the final against Spain. Robben is a reliable presence on the pitch who’s pace and dribbling has made him one of the best wingers in the world. But he is not without controversy, he is often criticized for going to ground too easily and too often. During the World Cup he scored two goals and had one assist and because he was a real difference maker for the Netherlands, Robben was nominated for the Golden Ball award.

Where else does he play?

Arjen Robben began his football career at his home club, Groningen. But it wasn’t long before he caught the eye of some of the top clubs in the world. He has played for PSV, Chelsea, Real Madrid and currently plays for Bayern Munich.

9. Maicon – Brazil

maicon

After Cafu’s retirement, Brazil fans were skeptical if anyone could fill his shoes, but that is exactly what Maicon has been able to do, and today he is considered one of the best right backs in the world. Maicon encompasses speed, great touches, accurate crosses and on top of all that he scores the occasional goal. During the match against Korea DPR in the group stage he showed off his shooting ability, scoring from an almost impossible angle for what was one of the best goals of the tournament. The goal has been debated by football fans around the world as no one really knows if it was supposed to be a cross or if he actually meant to score.

Where else does he play?

Maicon made his debut to professional for Cruzeiro in 2001 and during his two seasons with the club they won the championship. In 2004 he was lured across the Atlantic to play for Monaco. Two years later he made a move to Internazionale where he and his teammates have won the last four Serie A titles as well as the 2010 UEFA Champions League.

8. Mesut Ozil – Germany

mesut-ozil

Over the course of the World Cup, Mesut Ozil has risen from relative obscurity to someone who is being called the German Iniesta. He’s the kind of player that comes along once in a blue moon, a play maker whose vision, passing and inventiveness makes a huge impact on any game he plays in. At only 21, Ozil has become the one to watch and has even been called “a gift for German football” by Joachim Low. Usually wreaking havoc as a midfielder, he can also play as a left winger or even as a striker if the need arises. Ozil marked his first World cup with one goal, but his play making ability really stood out as he made three assists.

Where else does he play?

Ozil’s youth career was spent at several different clubs including Westfalia 04 Gelsenkirchen, Teutonia Shalke-Nord, Falke Gelsenkirchen and Rot-Weiss Essen before he made a move to Shalke 04. It was for Shalke that he made his senior league debut in 2006. He currently plays for Werder Bremen after moving there in 2008.

7. Andres Iniesta – Spain

andres-iniesta

A creative player that is capable of playing anywhere in the midfield, Iniesta has been called the best player in the world by the likes of Wayne Rooney. He is most effective when he plays right in behind the strikers where his handling of the ball and his ability to race into threatening positions causes serious problems for opposing defenders. During the World Cup final, Iniesta became a Spanish hero when in the 116th minute he scored the winning goal against the Netherlands. He was named the Man of the Match for the final, as well as being included in the FIFA World Cup All Star Team.

Where else does he play?

A talented graduate of the Barcelona youth school, Iniesta made his senior level debut on October 29, 2002 and he’s been with the club ever since. He has helped Barcelona to four Spanish League trophies, one Spanish Cup, three Spanish Supercups, two Champions League crowns a UEFA Supercup and a FIFA Club World Cup.

6. Xavi – Spain

xavi-spain

One of the greatest playmates in the world, Xavi is the center of which the rest of the Spanish team rotates. He is an incredibly hard working central midfielder who is just as comfortable defending as he is making breaks forward and setting up and scoring goals. But probably his most impressive attribute as a footballer is his creative genius.  Because of this he is one of the few players in football history who has won every major tournament open to him. During this World Cup, Xavi covered more ground and made more passes than any other player, making him an irreplaceable force in the Spanish machine.

Where else does he play?

A product of the Barcelona youth system, Xavi moved up to the senior team in 1998 and has been there ever since. During his time there Barcelona has won five La Liga titles, one Spanish Cup, three Spanish Supercups, two Champions Leagues and the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup. Xavi himself has won a plethora of awards including being included in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Al Star Team.

5. Wesley Sneijder – The Netherlands

wesley-sneijder

At only 25, Wesley Sneijder has established himself as a powerful presence in the Dutch side. He is known the world over as a play maker who’s passing ability is among the best and who is comfortable playing both a fast and slow game as needed. But he can also score goals as he has shown at this year’s World Cup, tying as one of the top goal scorers with five. Even while those around him were not living up to their potential, Sneijder remained as brilliant as ever and carried the Netherlands all the way to the final. In the end the Spanish defence was just too much for the Dutchman to handle. Part of his greatness comes from his family, his father was a player and both his brothers play at a professional level, one at Stormvogels Telstar and the other at the Ajax youth academy.

Where else does he play?

A product of AFC Ajax’s famous youth academy, he moved up to the senior team when he was only seventeen, following in his older brother’s footsteps. In 2007 he caught the eye of Real Madrid who signed him to a €27 million contract making him the most expensive Dutch player in the world. From there he made a move to Internazionale in 2009 and earlier this year he helped his team win the 2010 Champions League Final.

4. David Villa – Spain

David-Villa

Comfortable with either foot, David Villa has unleashed his goal scoring prowess at this World Cup, much like he usually does in Spanish colors. He has proved himself in international competition as an important member of a strong Spanish side at not only the 2006 World Cup but also at Euro 2008 (where he won the Golden Boot) and the 2009 Confederations Cup. And this World Cup was no different as he was tied as the top goal scorer of the tournament with five goals in all. Villa is type of player most coaches dream of, a hard-working forward that is capable of opening up the opposing defence and scoring goals. It is because of this that he is one of the top scorers in the history of Spanish football, second only to Raul.

Where else does he play?

David Villa began his football career at Sporting de Gijon in 2001 and then moved up to the top flight Spanish football with Real Zaragoza in 2003. From there he was transferred to Valencia, where he has played for the last five seasons. In May of this year Villa signed a four-year contract with Barcelona.

3. Iker Casillas – Spain

iker-casillas

One of the best goalkeepers in the world, Iker Casillas captained La Roja to their first ever World Cup title. His reflexes, speed, agility and the ability to shut down one on one threats has earned him the nickname Saint Iker by both club and national fans. But he is not without his critics, many of whom believed that after the defeat against Switzerland, he should not be Spain’s first choice. With his legendary composure he silenced them, winning the next six games (including the final), five of which were clean sheets. A crucial member of the Spanish side, he no doubt made the decision of who should get the Golden Glove very easy.

Where else does he play?

Iker Casillas has been with Real Madrid since the beginnings of his youth career, but when you play for ne of the best teams in the world there’s not much of an incentive to leave. With the club he has won four La Liga titles, two Champions Leagues, a UEFA Supercup and an Intercontinental Cup.

2. Thomas Mueller – Germany

thomas-mueller

At only 20 years old, Thomas Mueller has used this World Cup to make the football world stand up and take notice. His versatility to play both as an attacking midfielder as well as a winger adds to his speed, vision and technical ability to make him an all-around stand out player. During the World Cup he was a surprise addition to Joachim Low’s side but he quickly made his mark by scoring Germany’s first goal of the tournament. But he didn’t stop there, he scored another four goals and made three assists, earning him the Golden Boot ahead of superstars like Villa, Sneijder and Forlan as well as the Best young Player award/

Where else does he play?

Mueller began as a youth at TSV Pahl an 1993. From there he moved into the Bayern Munich youth team in 2000 and has effectively moved up the Bayern ranks, making his senior team debut in August 2008.

1. Diego Forlan – Uruguay

diego-forlan

While is not the captain, Diego Forlan has led Uruguay not only to the World Cup but all the way to the semi finals. A powerful presence up front, Forlan has the ability to both score and feed the ball to his teammates, predominantly his striking partner, Luis Suarez. “Cachavacha” as he has been nicknamed (because of a striking similarity to a comic book character of the same name), marked his second World Cup tournament with five goals, one of which was a penalty in the shootout against Ghana to get Uruguay into the semifinal. In the end he was given the recognition he deserved when FIFA awarded him with the Golden Ball. However, Diego isn’t the only Forlan to represent Uruguay at the World Cup, his father, Pablo, played in both the 1966 and 1974 World Cups. Despite this Diego grew up playing tennis and it was only after a family tragedy that he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Where else does he play?

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Forlan currently plays for Athletico Madrid after being transferred there in June 2007. He has also played at Independiente, Manchester United and Villarreal, and has won two European Golden Boot awards, once for Villarreal in 2004-05 and also for Athletico Madrid in 2008-09.


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16 Comments

  1. Nice list. Good choices. The yellow card for Muller in the game vs. Argentina was really weird. Never ever a yellow card. He was very important for Germany. Participated in nearly every goal. Most likely Spain would have won the semi-finals anyhow. But maybe the game would have been better. Who knows? Not seeing the strongest teams in the semi-finals because of such ridiculous decisions is just lame. But that's typical for football. No instant replays and very amateurish decisions with a lot of room for speculation and manipulation. Like the offside goal by Argentina against Mexiko and another one by Spain against Portugal. Or the disallowed goal by England against Germany. OMG.

    That is stuff for a whole new list 😉

  2. thelamest(dot)com on

    pretty solid top 10.

    Had this list been produced before the WC you'd have been laughed at.

    Amazing that none of the pre-tournament "super stars" in Rooney, Fabregas, Ribery, Ronaldo, Messi had the form to make the list…..although Messi did setup a number of goals for the Argies and Fab did get to play a limited role for Spain.

  3. as an American who enjoys Soccer/Football (I also enjoy American Football so I’m partial to calling it Soccer) I have to rep for Landon Donovan. He’s probably not up there really in terms of best players in the 2010 tourney, but that goal against Algeria piqued the interest of a country that generally has had little interest in soccer above a recreational level. And while it won’t be knocking Monday Night Football of its slot anytime soon America now I think, more so than anytime since our victory over England way back in 1950, actually pays a little attention to Soccer.

  4. i think that Miroslav Klose of Germany should replace Mesut Özil they both did good in the world cup but Klose scored 4 goals and Özil scored only once Klose overall is better in my opinion. Other then that I think the standings and choices are pretty spot on.

  5. 31Dec12…..Its been over now for over two (2) years.

    Does anyone remember the games at all!!!!

    It’s ‘still’ only business and bullSchidt.

    BobLoblah

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