Football

World football: Overrated XI

Is Neymar overrated? (©GettyImages)
Is Neymar overrated? (©GettyImages).

 

Not all players in world-class teams are necessarily good enough for the club.

Some initially show promise and stagnate while others are overhyped by the media.

These players attain glory due to the efforts of their team-mates rather than their skill. 

Goalkeeper: Victor Valdes | Barcelona and Spain

Valdes has won every competition one can think of, making him part of some of the finest teams in the modern era. Valdes has won the Champions League more times than any other goalkeeper but it's surely not because of his goalkeeping exploits.

Prone to silly errors, Valdes has cost Barcelona many unnecessary goals en route to many championships. His lack of concentration hasn't helped Barcelona either and he's arguably the weakest link in Barcelona's world-class side. 

Right-back: Alvaro Arbeloa | Real Madrid and Spain

Real Madrid are unbeaten this season when Arbeloa hasn't started for the Los Blancos, which proves why he just isn't good enough for the Spanish giants.

A regular starter for Real Madrid and Spain, Arbeloa starts only due to the lack of options at right back for both club and country. With Sergio Ramos converting to a centre-back, Arbeloa has got much more game time but his footballing skills still haven't improved. It's astonishing to think that Arbeloa has won the World Cup before Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. 

Centre-back: Kolo Toure | Manchester City and Ivory Coast

Often heralded as one of the best defenders when at Arsenal, Toure has become one of the worst since his move to City. Once compared to defenders like Nemanja Vidic and John Terry, the African is now a fourth-choice centre-back for Manchester City.

His injuries haven't helped him either as he has slipped further from the limelight. 

Centre-back: Gerard Pique | Barcelona and Spain

Not long ago he was regarded as one of the best defenders in the world but for the past two years, Pique just hasn't been the same.

His performances have dropped dramatically as Barcelona have failed to win the Champions League for two seasons in a row now. Barcelona's main weakness has always been defence and Pique hasn't helped ease the situation for the Catalans.

Barcelona were 2-0 up against Chelsea in last season's semi-final, and with a John Terry red card it was destined to be a Barca win, but a poor performance by Pique helped Chelsea get back into the game. Pique was at his worst when Bayern Munich recently shipped seven past Barcelona over two legs this season, and he has been a shadow of his former self. 

Left-back: Patrice Evra | Manchester United and France

His attacking ability has often saved Evra from severe criticism from fans and pundits but there's no doubt that he has been poor defensively for some time now.

Evra has stopped making recovery runs and his positioning has often been uncharacteristically poor. Evra has retained his place at Manchester United due to their lack of options at left-back. 

Right-wing: Theo Walcott | Arsenal and England

Walcott was tipped to be England's next big thing but has disappointed miserably. Chosen as an 17-year-old for the World Cup, Walcott is now struggling to get a starting berth at Arsenal.

Although his finishing has improved this season he still doesn't possess the skill and trickery a winger should have making him rely too much on his speed. 

Centre-midfielder: Gareth Barry | Manchester City and England

It is surprising how Barry starts so many games for Manchester City even though they have younger talent in Jack Rodwell and Javi Garcia.

Barry is a tidy passer but every other aspect of his game isn't good enough for a side fighting for the Premier League title. Barry slows the game down which frequently stops Manchester City from having a potential counter attack. Barry has been poor for club and country since his move to City. 

Centre-midfielder: John Obi Mikel | Chelsea and Nigeria

Mikel was brought in to be the engine of a youthful Chelsea side but his performances have been lacklustre and there is no desire in his game.

Often misplacing passes, Mikel never tries to get the ball back after a mistake. Mikel's shooting from long distance isn't that great either but he has still won the Champions League and Premier League, competitions which players usually don't win for their whole careers. 

Left-wing: Alexis Sanchez | Barcelona and Chile

Regarded as one of the brightest young prospects in world football, Sanchez just hasn't been good enough for Barcelona, putting in dismal performances week after week. He still has a long way to go in his career but till now he has been poor barely scoring or creating chances for the Catalans. 

Centre-forward: Neymar | Santos and Brazil

Often compared to Messi by Pele, Neymar is nowhere close to the level of Messi.

Even though he scores a fair amount of goals in the Brazilian Leagues, comparisons to the world's best players and premature as the Brazilian hasn't been tested in a more intense league till now. His performances for Brazil have been very poor, while many footballers such as Joey Barton find him highly overrated. 

Striker: Robinho | AC Milan and Brazil

Another Brazilian touted to be a world beater, Robinho has never lived up to those high expectations. A sensational move to Real Madrid didn't help Robinho as he ended up scoring just 25 league goals in 101 games.

His big money move to City also wasn't fruitful as he ended up having a torrid time at Eastlands, eventually moving to AC Milan. At Milan he has been nothing more than average, making him one of the biggest flops of all time. 

Substitutes' bench:

Manuel Almunia | Watford
Marcelo | Real Madrid and Brazil
Per Mertesacker | Arsenal and Germany
Anderson | Manchester United and Brazil
Shaun Wright Phillips | QPR and England
Peter Crouch | Stoke City and England
Emile Heskey | Newcastle Jets and England

 

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