Friday, June 24, 2011

INFTH Top 100: Numbers 58 and 57

58. Arjen Robben- For a player so accustomed to being considered one of the best on the planet, fifty-eighth place is simply unacceptable. After a terrific showing in the Champions League and at the World Cup last season, Robben's 10/11 was destroyed by injury, and his form was also effected by Bayern's inconsistency in the league.

In the 2010/11 Bundesliga, Robben produced an absolutely stunning goal scoring ratio, the Dutchman netted twelve times in fourteen appearances, and had he not been injured for the first half of the season, he would have been far, far higher on this list.

Internationally, Robben was the subject of much controversy, as an injury sustained at the 2010 World Cup met with much anger from Bayern, all directed at the Dutch FA. However, by seasons end a compromise was reached, and Robben's international season ended with an impressive four goals for the Oranje.

Next season, you can expect to see much more from Robben heading into the 2012 European Championships, he is one of the most dangerous players in world football, a terror to even the best of defenses. Bayern are a team who never go very long without turning in an impressive season, so I would be very surprised if Robben went another year without winning a trophy.

57. Raul- There is no doubt about it, Raul took a risk when he signed for Schalke. After enjoying a splendid career at Madrid, the Spaniard put his reputation on the line by moving to another Champions League team, had things gone disastrously wrong, than the legend's name might have been permanently sullied.

Scoring eighteen in all competitions, Raul's goal return was unquestionably fantastic, but it was his contribution when it mattered most that put Raul ahead of the rest. A goal at the Allianz Arena helped Schalke into the German Cup final, and he also scored twice against Inter Milan across both legs of the Germans' Champions League Quarter Final.

Unfortunately for Raul, even his fine goal scoring form wasn't enough to inspire Schalke towards a high league placing, but his strikes did help to secure the German Cup for Ralf Rangnick's side.

Able to stay consistent amidst a major managerial change, Raul proved last season that he is capable of cutting it in leagues other than Spain, and in the long run, I think his time in Germany will only enhance what was already a very well regarded career.

It would be refreshing to see more players like Raul, legends cast asunder by their boyhood clubs, yet still willing to move to another competitive team, rather than search for one final pay day in Qatar or the United States.

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