Monday, June 13, 2011

INFTH Top 100: Numbers 78 and 77

78. Roberto Soldado- It was a summer of change for Valencia, one filled with pessimistic predictions about the new year, as important players moved to pastures new. Given their much publicized financial predicament, Valencia could not afford to spend a year out of Europe, making good transfer decisions absolutely vital.

I think that it is safe to say signing Soldado from Getafe was good transfer decision. With eighteen La Liga goals, Soldado was one of Spain's top goalscorers outside the Barca-Madrid axis, and six goals in the Champions League proved that his domestic form was no fluke.

Although he has been capped twice for the Spanish national team, Soldado has not seen playing time since 2007; and given the current wealth of talent available to Del Bosque, he is unlikely to get another look in.

Seemingly happy to be playing for his home town club, I can't see Soldado leaving Valencia; he'll want to represent them in the Champions League again next year.

77. Hulk- For once, Hulk was not the main headline maker at Portuguese club FC Porto. A partner for the prolific Falcao, Hulk enjoyed another terrific season with the Portuguese giants, helping them on their way to a magnificent treble.

Pace, power and intensity, all characteristics of the versatile Brazilian international; an attacker who can play on both wings or through the middle. Since leaving Japanese football in 2008, Hulk has made quite a name for himself in Portugal; shining brightly whenever Porto have participated in the Champions League.

This season though, Hulk was forced to play second fiddle to strike partner Falcao, though he did still manage to net an exorbitant number of goals; twenty-three in the league to be precise, more than even the brilliant Falcao. On the European platform, Hulk was also vital to the Porto cause, he scored four goals on the club's path to Europa League glory, and will likely play a big role in the Champions League next year, whether it be for Porto or another European club.

Personally, Hulk is always a player I've been impressed by. He manages to combine raw pace and power with terrific foot skills, attributes not often associated with each other. Linked to almost every major European league, I could see Hulk succeeding virtually everywhere; he has all the tools to make a big difference at the highest level.

Read more by David Yaffe-Bellany (The Chairman) at Red Flag Flying High

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