Thursday, June 30, 2011

INFTH Top 100: Numbers 52 and 51

52. Federico Balzaretti- 2010/11 was a less than stable season for Palermo, but at least they got to enjoy the fabulous play of Federico Balzaretti. A typical modern full back, Balzaretti is keen on bombing up the left wing, but is also responsible enough to keep opposition players firmly under lock and key.

A magnificent attacking full back, Balzaretti provided seven assists to Palermo's Serie A cause last season, helping the team dressed in pink to an eighth place finish. Along with Cassani on the opposite side, Balzaretti was one of the league's stand out full backs, and has been tipped by many for a starting place at Euro 2012.

Internationally, 10/11 was a breakthrough season for Balzaretti, he made four appearances for the Italian National Team, a side now coached by his boss at Fiorentina; Cesare Prandelli. Obviously, the club connection helps, but there is no doubting that Balzaretti was worthy of his call-ups, the Italian was truly impressive throughout the campaign.

Rumors this summer have linked the newly wed full back to a move to the capital, to join up with the revolution at AS Roma. Such a transfer does seem like a logical next step in Balzaretti's career, the new DiBenedetto run Roma will be able to promise him Champions League football in the future, something more or less unattainable at Palermo.

51. Cesc Fabregas- It is only after a difficult 2010/11 that Fabregas has fallen this low on the rankings, his guile and inspiration in midfield was not enough to save Arsenal from another trophyless season.

A World Cup winner, Cesc Fabregas entered the 10/11 Premier League season off the back of a seemingly endless transfer saga, with Barcelona chasing his signature all summer long. Though the Catalans' chase eventually proved futile, there was no doubt that the Spaniard's head had been turned.

With only three goals in the Premier League, 10/11 did not meet Fabregas' usual goal scoring standards, though the midfielder did contribute to eleven assists to the cause. Injury problems dogged Fabregas throughout the duration of the Arsenal's campaign, limiting him to only twenty-five appearances out of a thirty-eight game season.

Internationally, Fabregas remains unable to break into the Spanish starting eleven, the Barcelona and Real Madrid axis of Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta and Alonso has scuppered any chances of him obtaining a starting role for Vincente Del Bosque's World champions.

As per usual, since the end of the season Cesc Fabregas has been continually linked to a return to Barcelona, though this time it seems as though an agreement has been reached, with reports yesterday indicating that the Spaniard could seal the deal tomorrow.

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