Wednesday, May 25, 2011

European 2010/2011 XI - PTA admin pick

Admin of PTA Adrian gives us his team of 2010/2011 in Europe. Look out for teams picked by our editors!

Formation: 4-2-2-2(1)

Goalkeeper - Roman Weidenfellar (Borussia Dortmund) - For someone who doesn't take a massive interest in the Bundesliga it may be hard to understand how, or why Bayern Munich are not dominating the Bundesliga. Then again that’s just me showing my ignorance, to what this year has been a stellar campaign by those men in yellow. Borussia Dortmund secured the league title by a staggering seven points ahead of nearest rivals Bayern Leverkusen. When looking over Dortmund's strengths the reason for their success is at first not apparant. But look at the number of goals that they have conceded throughout their campaign and things will become very clear. With Weidenfellar between the sticks Dortmund conceded only 22 goals in the league. In comparison Leverkusen conceded double this amount to finish second. Combined with a solid defence Dortmund were nearly unbreakable at the back.

Right Back - Dani Alves (Barcelona) - Generally overlooked by Ramos in most teams, but the role that Dani Alves serves at Right Back for Barcelona (although similar to Ramos) is something that most teams in Europe fail to fill, in pushing forward. The attacking nature of the Brazilian is a real asset when Barcelona decide to build up their play, his ability to sense the right overlapping run can open up even the most aware of defences, allowing that extra man in the box or the option to cut the ball back. He also possesses the ability to absolutely hammer a freekick if the opportunity arises. As is the case with all defenders he is extremely solid on the ball as well as pacy. In essence he is the perfect fullback you would want on any team you ever choose.

Left Back - Marcelo (Real Madrid) - Another Brazilian fills the reciprocal side of the field at the back. Along with his character which Ronaldo claimed brought the team together. Always realible down the left the man from Brazil has bagged 5 goals and 7 assists this season in all competitions. Marcelo remarkably started all league games under Mourinho, making him one of the most capped players of 2010/2011, which in itself was a remarkable achievement. Marcelo under Mourinho has flourished as a player and proven his worth at Madrid. Something he wasn't able to do in the past.

Central Back - Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United) - With United securing yet another title, it is clear to say that the Red Devils are obviously doing something right at the back. With United turning to youngsters as replacements for the injured Ferdinand (Eg Smalling, Evans) and Rafael as the new right back, Vidic has found himself partnering a number of new faces at the back. However his ability to play according to those around him at the back shows his capability as a leader as well as quality as a defender. His figure alone is a presence to be reckoned with. Going forward he has scored 5 goals for United, mostly from headed efforts - but none-the-less. A season campaigner who deserves all accolades that come his way.

Central Back - Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus) - After the long season endured by Juventus and the terrible results that came with it; it would be hard to justify the presence of a Juventus player in the team of the year. However amongst all the chaos going on in Turin, Chiellini stands as a shining light. Moved around the backline to suit the team around him, Chiellini is more than capable of playing anywhere along the back. Probably the toughest of defenders in Europe, the Italian even boasted the title of Juventus' top scorer for a short while. All in all he scored 5 goals in Juventus' campaign.

Central Midfield - Xavi (Barcelona) - What can’t be said about Xavi? The Spanish midfielder began the season on a high after guiding Spain to a first ever World Cup, and from there the pass master has been instrumental in Barcelona's surge to the top of the La Liga and into the final of the Champions League. Xavi's performances against Real Madrid in the league as well as Arsenal in the Champions League are testament to his great ability. He narrowly missed out on the Ballon D'or but was voted as World Soccer Player of the Year. Xavi has scored three goals in the La Liga this year.

Central Midfield - Nuri Sahin (Borussia Dortmund) - With Borussia Dortmund comprehensively winning the Bundesliga title this year one must look to how they were able to dominate even the best of German teams. I've already touched on their almost unbreakable defence, but going forward Nuri Sahin has been Borussia's attacking backbone. The pass master lays claim to eight assists and six goals in the league this season. It no wonder he was picked up by Madrid, and will look to make his mark in Spain next season with Real. Sahin was voted best player of the Bundesliga for the 2010/2011 season.

Left Wing - Lionel Messi (Barcelona) - Year after year Messi continues to impress, whether it be through the countless goals he's scored or the number of assists he has achieved. In the 2010/2011 instalment in Europe the little master took his ability to a new level, to the extent that he wasn't competing to win the league or Champions League but to beat Ronaldo to top scorer in the La Liga. A total of 52 goals in 54 games played in all competitions sees him cement himself as one of the most prolific attackers in football history. Critics have begun comparing the number 10 to legends such as Maradonna and rightly so. Where to now for the Argentinian? A Champions League title against Manchester would certainly not go astray....... yet another stunning season from the man they call "Leo"

Right Wing - Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) - With an average of more than one goal per game for Madrid in the La Liga, Cristiano Ronaldo finished top scorer in Spain ahead of rival Messi. 2010/2011 really saw Ronaldo produce some real talent in the Madrid shirt. His second season at the club brought the League Cup to Madrid as well see Madrid take crucial steps towards the league title and Champions League. The Portuguese winger assisted 10 times in the league, and, although nowhere near as prolific in the assists department he outscored Messi marginally in all competitions. Ronaldo has it all, speed, strength, pace, skill, shot, header and fitness. It's just a question of whether he will have enough to see Madrid win the treble next year.

Central Forward - Edinson Cavani (Napoli) - Napoli did the impossible this season and qualified for a historic Champions League, finishing third in the Serie A ahead of the likes of Roma and Juventus. Along with a solid midfield Napoli were lead upfront by loaned out man Edinson Cavani. The Uruguayan scored 26 goals in the Serie A this season, including a memorable hat trick against Juventus and a great performance against Lazio leading a 4-3 season. Cavani was unable to realistically challenge for the title of top scorer after being handed a two match ban at the end of the season. Nevertheless the Uruguayan proved himself in Italy this season and this was exemplified by the signing of a five year contract with Napoli. Next year he will face the best in the Champions League, and really be able to show his talent.

Striker - Carlos Tevez (Manchester City) - Never before has a player who has been so unhappy at a club performed so well. Lead by Tevez upfront Manchester City qualified for a historic Champions League. The Captain at Eastlands scored a total of 21 goals to collect the title of top scorer jointly with Dimitar Berbatov. City through his leadership collected their first piece of silverware in over 25 years. The Argentinian showed countless flashes of brilliance scoring in almost every way possible. Rumours recently surfaced about his unhappiness at the club, and his desire to leave or possibly retire early. Whatever the future may hold for Tevez he would certainly be a loss if he was to leave City.

Manager - Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United) - Yet another league title, took United to a total of 19, creating Premier League history. Once again the Red Devils find themselves in a Champions League final. Ferguson has rekindled talent in many of the veteran’s of the club, but has also ensured that the transition of the younger players into the first team has been as smooth as possible. The ability to achieve all this as well as ensure United remain successful on the pitch is truly something to be marvelled at.