Saturday, July 2, 2011

INFTH Top 100: Numbers 48 and 47

48. Josip Ilicic- Playing alongside Javier Pastore in attacking midfield, Ilicic stepped out of his teammate's vast shadow, and produced a number of highly impressive performances last season.

After missing out on participation in the 2010 World Cup, Josip Ilicic had a point to prove going into the 10/11 Serie A season. One of three Slovenians players plying their trade in Sicily, Ilicic was fantastic during his first season in Serie A, showing off his prodigious skill in a mixed campaign for the men in pink.

Called up to the Slovenian squad several times over the course of the 2010/11 season, Ilicic certainly gained redemption following his failure to make the cut pre-World Cup. Along with Becinovic and Andelkovic, Ilicic represented Slovenia in a match against Italy, which pitted Palermo's three Slovenians against fellow teammate Federico Balzaretti.

Unsurprisingly, a number of reports mentioned Ilicic as a potential transfer target, both Spurs and Liverpool showed a genuine interest in the player, but since the end of the season a new contract has been signed, insuring Serie A fans another season of Josip Ilicic.

47. Zlatan Ibrahimovic- Another big gun more accustomed to a top twenty-five place, Zlatan Ibrahimovich failed to build on an impressive start to the Serie A season, and crashed to a disappointing campaign.

Mind you, only for a player like Zlatan would nearly a one goal in two scoring ratio in the league be considered a disappointment, despite his ranking, Ibra still did enjoy a fairly profitable season.

Having left after an eventually ill fated stay in Barcelona, Zlatan joined Milan hoping to extend his record of consecutive league titles, something the Swede achieved easily, as Milan eventually cruised to Scudetto glory.

A fantastic finisher, Zlatan provided fans of the Serie A with a few more scrapbook moments to go with ones saved from previous seasons; the forward always has a brilliant goal in him, and some of the ones he banged in for Milan last year were simply incredible.

Since the end of the season, the perennial rumors surrounding Ibra's future have surfaced, for players of his profile though, such reports are no surprise, and should be taken with about a beaker load of salt. Like every other player on the planet, Ibrahimovic has been linked with moneybags Manchester City, though where he would fit in alongside Balotelli, Tevez and Dzeko I don't know. Moreover, the Swedish international has already moved to quell speculation, and only a fool would wager against him staying in Milan.

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