A good offensive team not only scores goals but also covers up for a lot of glitches by out-scoring the oppositions. However, contrary to the defenders, the players who pile up the goals are more in the limelight and usually form a more exciting list. TheHardTackle presents the best five offensive players of the 2010-11 season.
Who do you think was the best attacker among these?
Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
The inclusion of the little man from Argentina, in this list, is not at all surprising. In fact, had he not been there in the list, it’d have been shocking. Leo Messi’s Barcelona has won ten trophies in the last three years; this includes two Champions League and three La Liga titles. And at the epicentre, Leo was one of the prime architects. Concerns were raised about Messi’s fitness. The little man has played 158 matches in the last three years. It was said that neither does Messi play well in England or against English oppositions – performance against Man United in the 2009 UCL finale in Rome, also the same in the 2011 UCL finale in Wembley and of course some devastating football against Arsenal, has taken care of that as well. This season, Leo has 53 goals and also has 26 assists to his name, testimony to the fact that Messi is not only the best player on the planet, but also an absolute team-man – a manager’s dream! A double, La Liga and UEFA Champions League, might just land him his third consecutive FIFA award, for being the best player on the planet.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
If anybody can even think of competing with little Leo, it is none other than Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese ace has what it takes to give Messi a run for his money. Some brilliant performances for Real Madrid, were the highlights of the season, when they took on FC Barcelona. It can be safe to say that it was Ronaldo, who’s responsible for Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey win. A thunderous header, which any goalkeeper would find extremely difficult to stop, is surely one of his most memorable goals, if not best. With 53 goals in almost as many matches, Ronaldo is surely a strong contender for this award. The ex-Manchester United attacker has also broken the record of Telmo Zarra and Hugo Sánchez, thereby breaking the 40-goal mark in La Liga, which was previously thought of as an insurmountable mountain. Not only has the Portuguese gone on to justify his hefty £80 million price tag, but also made United and Real Madrid fans believe that the price was ‘cheap’! Ronaldo, with his 15 assists in all competitions, also provided his team-mates with the ball when it mattered.
Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)
The list of nominees was never going to be complete without the inclusion of this man – Gareth Bale, a world class player, whose rise to prominence has been only due to his meandering and yet scintillating plays on that left flank. It has taken him less than year to prove himself as a threat to any team in any competition – be it a Championship team in the Carling Cup or Internazionale in the Champions League. It all looks like a story for this Welshman. However, this season, his performances in the domestic and European competitions have been so good that he won the PFA Player Of The Year Award. Constantly being linked to a host of European Giants, Bale has redefined a winger’s job. Statistics might not be as mind-boggling as the other candidates, but Bale’s impact on the game is undeniable and the Welshman is another serious contender for this category.
Alexis Sanchez (Udinese)
The Udinese star has been a revelation this season. One can attribute Udinese’s inclusion in the top bracket in Seria A to this man. Along with Antonio Di Natale, the Chilean has managed to rip open many defences and at just 22, he’s surely one of the superstars of tomorrow. Sanchez’s raw pace, silken skills, creativity and of course his penchant for step-overs are reminiscent of Ronaldo. After being shifted towards the centre, Sanchez’s incisiveness has increased. It is not a matter of surprise that many Europeans giants, including the Champions League finalists – FC Barcelona and Manchester United – are after his signature. Both, Guardiola and Sir Alex are said to be huge admirers of the starlet and it is for sure that the future is bright for this South American. Quite similar to Gareth Bale, here too statistics fail to do justice to the talent of this bright attacker. With 12 goals in 27 games and countless impactful performances, the Udinese forward is also a big contender for this award.
Edinson Cavani (Napoli)
The Uruguayan has had a great World Cup in 2010 and was one of the key figures behind Uruguay’s classic performance in South Africa. 33 goals in 47 appearances in Italy, bear testimony to Cavani’s devastating form this season and Napoli’s renaissance can be attributed to this South American. Cavani has contributed not only in attack, but also in defence – something which has made him a fan favourite. A hattrick against Juventus is definitely one of the highest points of his performance this season. With 26 league goals in 35 matches, Cavani is now the highest scorer for Napoli in a single season and also the one to break the 25-goals mark. Although he’s signed a contract to stay with Napoli, till 2016, it won’t come as a surprise if he’s snapped by a more ambitious team.
It is amazing how competition can make you reach new heights. Real Madrid’s only positive from Messi and Barcelona’s exploits is that it has spurred Ronaldo to a level that has never been reached before in the history of Spanish football. Cristiano Ronaldo has been voted the best offensive player of the season; a season that has completed the player’s astounding transformation from a tricky winger to a 40-goal man for one of the top clubs in the world.