If you missed Part I….you can either click here or scroll with your new infrared computer mouse that you weren’t supposed to get until tomorrow.
Atta'boy JZA! Merry XMas!
05. Jozy Altidore
Nearly everyone reading this column is–quite obviously–familiar with Big Jeezy. Altidore pummeled the MLS with Red Bulls before moving–with great expectation–to Villarreal in 2008.
Villarreal couldn’t find a spot for the youngster–now 20–and shipped him to Hull City on a one-year loan where his first year has been uneven.
Beyond Didier Drogba, Altidore is on the of few players that has fantastic dribbling ability to go along with massive size.
He is also one of the few offenders who can post up and turn on his guy in the center of the pitch or drive down the wing after facing up.
Can he–will he–put it together in World Cup 2010?
04. Mesut Özil
A favorite of TSG contributor Antonio, Özil is pushing for first team consideration on Germany 2010.
The 21-year-old rooster-haired Özil has 6 goals for Werder in the campaign thus far on 13 appearances. Better, for Germany, Özil has started to factor for the homeland.
Özil will sit in midfield and with talented players like Schweinsteiger and Podolski already in the fold, Özil’s skills might sneak up on opponents…but should also be announced to the world.
03. Fernando Torres
Torres needs no introduction.
So we’ll be brief and let Tim Howard tell you about Torres, “I think he’s been one of the top in the world. He’s got speed, and he’s got a great sense for the goal, which all great strikers have. The craziest thing about Torres is that as silky smooth as he is, he’s a scrapper as well.”
I’ll now quote myself and say, “If you were going to build the perfect striker, you build Fernando Torres…period.”
With Spain one of the favorites hoist the cup, with David Villa to play off, and with service from Cesc and Iniesta. Watch out!
02. Luis Fabiano
Brazil's unequaled numeral nine
USMNT fans will remember Fabiana’s gorgeous pirouette and shot through Jay DeMerit’s legs and past Timmy Howard that then righted Brazil all the way to the Confed Cup win.
Fabiano’s got everything and then some. Think of him as, say, Carmelo Anthony. He’s tall. He’s got a post up game; he can put back rebounds. He can even face you up and take you 1-on-1 or launch the 3. All he needs his service.
Brazil is coming in with a more defensive game plan to World Cup 2010–that doesn’t mean you won’t see Maicon launching crosses and Kaka shoveling passes….all in the direction of Fabiano who will be playing at the top of the offensive triangle.
(Not a highlight video, put this guy just screams striker.)
01. Didier Drogba
Drogba’s name and resume precedes himself.
This is the moment for Drogba to extoll his greatness. So often teammates (Lampard, Terry) and managers (Grant, Mourinho) call him the greatest; yet to the populace he’s more just a great striker. Not a great.
With the Ivory Coast having their strongest team in years and Drogba arguably in his last World Cup as a difference maker, it’s time for the Chelsea man to go off and claim 2010 as the Year of Drogba.
One person you should’ve been able to watch is Alexandre Pato. It looks like Pato (The “Duck”) is being outright ignored by his national team. Right now he’s one of the best 20 players in the world, in TSG’s opinion. Can someone smudge his passport so it looks he was born in Miami? Ditto for Zlatan Ibrahimovic who has basically told the Sweden team to kiss off, turning down an invitation to the Italian friendly in November, perturbed at Sweden’s inability to qualify.
Just missing this list as well were Englishmen Wayne Rooney–a phenomenal forward but not top 10 player in our book–and wingman Aaron Lennon. It was Lennon in 2006 who showed the only penchant for one-on-one dazzlement for the Three Lions and he’s looking in better form this time around.
With their best team in years, we considered putting Robin Van Persie on this list. However the Dutch have a habit of folding in top international play and Van Persie is struggling with injuries right now.
No love from TSG for the USMNT’s own Landon Donovan. The world knows about Donovan and the USMNT will need that striker ahead of him. If the States go far, Jozy will need to make hay.
Franck Ribery might showcase his chops for France, but France doesn’t have the complete game or the coach to take it to the max this time around.
Is this Samuel E’to’s swan song as well? The Cameroonian still has the chops and his national team might surprise, however service to the now-Milan striker is variable at best, so no joy from The Shin Guardian.