Thursday, June 16, 2011

INFTH Top 100: Numbers 72 and 71

 72. Didier Drogba- I'd be lying if I said 2010/11 was a vintage Drogba season, the big Ivorian struggled with injury and disease, though his late tear nearly propelled Chelsea to silverware.

One of the most powerful players in the Premier League, Didier Drogba possesses a rocket of a shot, and the type of touch that most big men would kill to have. Twelve Premier League goals left Drogba fourteenth on the goal scoring charts, and for a man who suffered from Malaria during most of the season that is quite impressive.

After the signing of Fernando Torres in January, it looked very possible that Drogba would be consigned to a place on the bench, but the Ivorian lifted his game at the perfect time, and in the end it was Torres who found himself struggling for minutes.

Drogba will always be remembered as one of the most iconic players in Premier League history, and though the 2011 season didn't see the Chelsea striker at his best, he still provided the fans with some moments of sublime skill. Unfortunately, 2011 could prove to be Drogba's last season in English football, he has been consistently linked with a move back to former club Marsielle, though talk of a crosstown switch to Tottenham has also been rife.

71. Manuel Neuer- After a series of both tragic and lucky circumstances resulted in Manuel Neuer grabbing Germany's starting goalkeeper berth, Neuer truly thrust himself onto the world stage with a series of absolutely incredible performances.

For Germany, Neuer was just immense, coming up with big time saves, and even claiming an assist on Miroslav Klose's opener against England.

At the club level, Neuer has also been highly impressive; often the lone savior of a Schalke defense which was anything but solid, he came up big for the Germans time after time. Against Manchester United in the Champions League semi final first leg, Neuer produced one of the all time great goalkeeping performances, as he frustrated Manchester United for the best part of sixty minutes.

Neuer made his final appearance for Schalke in the German Cup final, a match which sealed only the goalkeepers second ever club trophy. In a 5-0 win, Neuer claimed an easy clean sheet, though the headlines were really made by Ralf Rangnick's attackers.

Shortly after the end of the season, Neuer completed a transfer to Bayern Munich, a move which must have been one of the top ten worst kept secrets in football history. Neuer will definitely start for Bayern next season, and only a fool would bet against him winning the Bundesliga in 2012.

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