Balotelli did score 13 goals for Manchester City as they won the league last season but his statistics are deceptive. He only started 14 matches for City in the last campaign and made nine appearances coming off the bench as an impact player, late into matches when the opposition defence were on the back foot and getting tired. His antics away from the field have ensured he’s always in the limelight.
Scored the winning penalty as Chelsea won the Champions League but his goals to games ratio in the Premier League was far worse than Balotelli’s. He managed 11 goals in 30 Premier League starts and six substitute appearances. This suggests he was hardly prolific and that his reputation as a big character and leader at Chelsea is what helped him to get onto the original longlist.
When you break down the way Barcelona play, there is never a real emphasis on the defence. Pique is guilty by association because no one ever talks about the defensive side of Barcelona when they win major trophies because more often than not, it’s irrelevant. You could suggest this is the very reason that Pique deserves to be on the list but there are far better central defenders in Europe who haven’t even got a look in.
The Real Madrid goalkeeper was always going to appear on the list because Real won La Liga last season and he is the club’s captain. Break down his game and many will suggest that he is nowhere near the best goalkeeper in the world at the moment. Similarly to Pique, he is on the list because of the club he’s contracted to more than anything else.
Many criticised Toure when he joined Manchester City but his game has been transformed. He is now much more of an attacking player than he ever was during his time at Barcelona. Why then, is he on the longlist when he only scored six goals in over 30 appearances for Manchester City during the 2011/2012 season and only two from 14 this season?
What do you think? Who on the longlist didn't deserve to be there?
image: © praguegallagher