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FIFA World Player of the Year and Golden Ball from "France Football".

These 2 Trophies, besides the World Cup and the Champions League Cup, are the point of arrival for every professional soccer player. The Golden Ball is given by a jury of journalists and the FIFA Word Player of the Year is given by a jury of Coaches and Captains of the National Teams, so this second is the ultimate because it’s given by peers!

These are the 30 FIFA World Player nominations:

Adriano (Bra/Inter), Michael Ballack (Ger/Chelsea), Gianluigi Buffon (Ita/Juventus), Fabio Cannavaro (Ita/Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Por/Manchester United), Petr Cech (Cec/Chelsea), Deco (Por/Barcellona), Didier Drogba (Chelsea/Civ), Michael Essien (Gha/Chelsea), Samuel Etòo (Cam/Barcellona), Luis Figo (Por/Inter), Gennaro Gattuso (Ita/Milan), Steven Gerrard (Ing/Liverpool), Thierry Henry (Fra/Arsenal), Kakà (Bra/Milan), Miroslav Klose (Ger/Werder Brema), Philippe Lahm (Ger/Bayern Monaco), Frank Lampard (Ing/Chelsea), Jens Lehmann (Ger/Arsenal), Alessandro Nesta (Ita/Milan), Andrea Pirlo (Ita/Milan), Franck Ribery (Fra/Marsiglia), Juan Roman Riquelme (Arg/Villarreal), Ronaldinho (Bra/Barcellona), Wayne Rooney (Ing/Manchester United), Tomas Rosicky (Cec/Arsenal), Andriy Shevchenko (Ucr/Chelsea), Lilian Thuram (Fra/Barcellona), Patrick Vieira (Fra/Inter), Zinedine Zidane (Fra, retired).

Italy 5, France 5, Germany 4, Brazil 3, Portugal 3, England 3, Czeck Rep. 2, Ivory Coast- Ghana-Cameroun-Argentina-Ukraine 1.

Very balanced choice, (even if it’s hard to see Adriano in the 30 nominations, after the most horrible season of his carrier) much more than the 50 made by France Football for the Golden Ball:

Ballack (Ger/Bayern Monaco), Buffon (Ita/Juventus), Cahill (Aus/Everton), Cannavaro (Ita/Real Madrid), Shevchenko (Ucr/Chelsea), J. Cole (Ing/Chelsea), Coupet (Fra/Lione), Cris (Bra/Lione), C. Ronaldo (Por/Manchester United), Deco (Por/Barcellona), M. Diarra (Mali/Real Madrid), Drogba (Costa d'Avorio/Chelsea), Essien (Ghana, Chelsea), Eto'o (Cam/Barcellona), Fabregas (Spa/Arsenal), Gallas (Fra/Arsenal), Gattuso (Ita/Milan), Gerrard (Ing/Liverpool), Giuly (Fra/Barcellona), Grosso (Ita/Inter), Henry (Fra/Arsenal), Juninho (Bra/Lione), Kaká (Bra/Milan), Klose (Ger/Werder Brema), Lahm (Ger/Bayern Monaco), Lampard (Ing/Chelsea), Lehmann (Ger/Arsenal), Makelele (Fra/Chelsea), Malouda (Fra/Lione), Mendez (Ecu/Psv Eindhoven), Messi (Arg/Barcellona), Pirlo (Ita/Milan), Podolski (Ger/Bayern Monaco), Puyol (Spa/Barcellona), Ribery (Fra/Olympique Marsiglia), Ronaldinho (Bra, Barcellona), Riquelme (Arg, Villareal), Robben (Ola, Chelsea), Rooney (Ing/Manchesetr United), Sagnol (Fra/Bayern Monaco), Schweinsteiger (Ger/Bayern MOnaco), Terry (Ing/Chelsea), Thuram (Fra/Barcellona), Tiago (Por/Lione), Toni (Ita/Fiorentina), Torres (Spa/Atletico Madrid), Vieira (Fra/Inter), Villa (Spa/Valencia), Zambrotta (Ita/Barcellona), Zidane (Fra).

OBVIOUSLY being organized by a French news paper, the nominations of French players are 11. They even had the courage, like FIFA, to put Zidane in the list. Besides the shame of the head butt at the World Cup final, he is a retired player! France will never change. They put 11 French players and 7 Italians. Basically everyone from the French National team who played in the World Cup Final, AND LOST IT, against Italy.

Can you imagine if THEY would have won the World Cup instead of Italy? They would have put the entire roster of 22 plus the coach as an ex-soccer player! Anyway a few numbers about the Golden Ball:

Players by Nationality: France 11, Italy 7, Germany 6, England 5, Spain 4, Brazil 4, Portugal 3, Argentina 2, Australia-Ukraine-Mali-Ivory Coast-Ghana-Cameroun-Holland- Ecuador 1.

By teams: Chelsea 8, Barcelona 8, Bayern 5, Lione 5, Arsenal 4, A.C.Milan 3, Inter Milan 2, Real Madrid 2, Manchester United 2, Juventus-Everton-Liverpool- Werder Brema-PSV Eindhover-Olympique Marsiglia-Villareal- Fiorentina-Atletico Madrid-Valencia 1.

Players by Team Nationality: England 16 (5 teams), Spain 13 (5 teams), Italy 7 (4 teams), Germany 6 (2 teams), France 6 (2 teams) , Holland 1.

Players by continents: Europe 38, South America 7, Africa 4, Australia 1.

These are very interesting statistics, that permit me to make a few personal considerations:

-It’s beyond a doubt that the best soccer players in the world, play in Europe. It’s hard to find a name that is not already in these 50.

-The amount of money that England’s and Spain’s Clubs have to invest can’t be compared to the other nations.

-Almost all the players, play in a different Country than they are born in. Only 3 of the 11 French, play in France.

-Many teams are formed entirely by foreign players. And these doesn’t affect the National teams in international competitions. Spectators love the jersey of their teams. Players pass but teams stay forever!

-Europe is the continent that produces the majority of the best players in the world.

-If Australia-Ukraine-Mali-Ivory Coast-Ghana-Cameroun-Holland- Ecuador could produce 1, it would be reasonable to expect that the U.S. would produce ONE, with more that 17 million people who play soccer out of 280 million inhabitants????

-In Europe, it’s surely because of the money that is invested to put the best players in the world under contract, but it’s also the mountain of money that the clubs invest to create the new soccer generations. Many clubs have more than 400 youth players in their Academies.

-Talking about money, the following comparison is very interesting.
Chelsea and Barcelona. The 2 top teams are sustained economically by 2 opposite mechanisms. Chelsea is owned by the Russian multibillionaire Roman Abramovick. Barcelona is owned by 147,000 (one hundred forty seven thousands!!!!) supporters who own shares of the club. I think that billionaire, sooner or later will want to play with some other toy, but 147 thousands supporters, will be there forever!

-So USA, try to learn the lesson. It’s not about finding the money of some billionaire who likes soccer. It’s about soccer faith! Until American soccer fans go regularly to the stadiums and watch soccer games by paying for tickets, the beautiful game will never succeed in this country!


The 2006 Golden Ball goes to:


Cannavaro his the fourth Italian after Gianni Rivera, Paolo Rossi and Roberto Baggio. Last year it was Ronaldinho.

Besides the fact that the first 2 are Italians, and this obviously gives me great joy, finally, after decades, the performances of defenders and keepers have had the correct emphasis. Here is the complete standing:

1. Fabio Cannavaro (Ita, Juventus/Real Madrid), 173 points
2. Gianluigi Buffon (Ita, Juventus), 124
3. Thierry Henry (Fra, Arsenal), 121
4. Ronaldinho Gaucho (Bra, Barcellona), 73
5. Zinedine Zidane (Fra, Real Madrid), 71
6. Sameul Eto’o (Cam, Barcellona), 67
7. Miroslav Klose (Ger, Werder Brema), 29
8. Didier Drogba (Civ, Chelsea), 25
9. Andrea Pirlo (Ita, Milan), 17
10. Jens Lehmann (Ger, Arsenal), 13.
11. Deco (Por/Barcellona) e Kakà (Milan/Ita), 11.
13. Ribery (Fra/Marsiglia), 9.
14. Cristiano Ronaldo (Por/Manchester Utd.), Gattuso (Ita/Milan) e Vieira (Fra/Inter), 5.
17. Lampard (Ing/Chelsea), Podolski (Ger/Bayern Monaco), Puyol (Spa/Barcellona), 3.
20. Juninho Pernambucano (Bra/Lione), Messi (Arg/Barcellona), Terry (Ing/Chelsea), Toni (Ita/Fiorentina) e Zambrotta (Ita/Barcellona) 2.
25. Lahm (Ger/Bayern Monaco) e Villa (Spa/Valencia), 1.

And who’s the FIFA Player Of The Year? Again…………………………

Cannavaro. Simply THE BEST!

In Zurich, a jury composed of the coaches and the captains of the Nationals Teams, gave the actual defender of Real Madrid and captain of the Italian National team, the trophy of best player of the year! Here’s Cannavaro with the trophy.

To complete the Italian triumph, Gigi Buffon was voted best keeper and Mr. Blatter, the FIFA President, wanted to remember Giacinto Facchetti, the Italian former captain of the National team, who just recently past away. He gave the prize “Presidential Award” to Facchetti‘s wife, Giovanna, in saying: ”I’d like to share the honor of giving the prize to the wife of Facchetti who was a great person.”

The Award of Best Player of the Year, was given to women too. The Brazilian Marta, triumphed after 2 years in which she got very close every time. Finally this is her year!

Cannavaro received 498 votes, beating Zidane with 454 votes and Ronaldinho with 380. ’Our’ Fabio, is the 7th player in the history of soccer to win both in the same year, the Golden Ball and the FIFA award Best Player of the Year, after Ronaldinho (2005), Ronaldo (2002 e 1997), Rivaldo (1999), Zidane (1998), Weah (1995), Baggio (1993) e Van Basten (1992).

This are the winners of the trophy in the past going back to 1991:

2005 Ronaldinho (Bra) 2004 Ronaldinho (Bra) 2003 Zidane (Fra)
2002 Ronaldo (Bra) 2001 Figo (Por) 2000 Zidane (Fra)
1999 Rivaldo (Bra) 1998 Zidane (Fra) 1997 Ronaldo (Bra)
1996 Ronaldo (Bra) 1995 George Weah (Lbr)
1994 Romario (Bra) 1993 Baggio (Ita) 1992 Van Basten (Ola)
1991 Matthaus (Ger).

So, this is it! Now, the ‘soccer war’ for the best player of this year is open!

In my opinion, even last year, 3 players were greatly underestimated. Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba . Let’s see if this year I’ll be a good prognosticator, by putting my bet on them!

Coach Gianni

Posted on 06 Jan 2007 by coachgianni
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