Forum: John Brewin v Castrol Rankings â€“ who is right?
10. Gerard Pique - Castrol Ranking 13
Two years ago a Manchester United reserve, now a Rolls Royce of a defender for almost-all-conquering Barcelona. Pique's smooth style and ease on the ball often sees him enter play as an auxiliary attacker, bringing back memories of the likes of Frank Rijkaard and Ruud Krol. His wonderfully-taken strike in the Champions League semi-final with Inter showed misfiring Zlatan Ibrahimovic how it was done too.
9. Wesley Sneijder - Castrol Ranking 97
Real Madrid rejects rather enjoyed themselves this season. Sneijder's playmaking skills were unwanted at the Santiago Bernabeu and Inter were able to pick up a bargain for 15 million euros. In the tightly-woven Mourinho system, Sneijder was the propeller - and sometimes finisher too - of those deadly counter-attacks in the style of Deco at Porto and Lampard at Chelsea.
8. Ivica Olic - Castrol Ranking 10 =
A free-transfer signing for Bayern Munich who was pushing 30, the Croat was perhaps expected to play second fiddle to the far-more pricey Mario Gomez. Yet Olic's enthusiastic style and hard-running endeavour, while not for the aesthetic, were hugely effective, especially in the Champions League, where with his big-match temperament he grabbed two goals against Manchester United and a hat-trick in the semi-final at Lyon.
7. Didier Drogba - Castrol Ranking 3
Once he has the manager's faith in him, he reverts to being a wrecking-ball of a striker. Carlo Ancelotti followed Guus Hiddink in placing an arm round those broad shoulders and was rewarded with 29 goals in 32 Premier League appearances. And, in a tight FA Cup final, Drogba continued his Wembley wizardry with the winner. The copy-book was only blotted by another ill-tempered exit from the Champions League.
6. Cristiano Ronaldo - Castrol Ranking â€“ 2
The Â£80 million dream was achieved by a move to Real Madrid to precede a season of high achievement, yet perhaps even he will admit he has had better campaigns. Injury played its part at times, but Ronaldo clearly did not always enjoy having to carry dysfunctional Real Madrid. That familiar look of flickering rancour at team-mates often appeared, especially during the Champions League exit to Lyon in which he himself underperformed. And he finished the season potless for the first time since 2005. He will expect better. He always does.
5. Arjen Robben - Castrol Ranking 5
We'll forget those odd celebrations that look like a tribute to Albert Steptoe and remember the quality of a season in which, like Sneijder, he belied his status as a Real cast-off. On his day, those incisive runs off the flank and fierce shooting are devastating and his performances for Bayern far outshone the previously much-more vaunted Franck Ribery.
4. Wayne Rooney - Castrol Ranking 4
He can hardly be said to have been a bit-part player but this was the season that a long-expected potential looked close to being fulfilled at Manchester United. A central role granted him the chance to add goal power and aerial prowess to his armoury and he thus became indispensable to United and England before those injuries derailed what could have been a truly great season.
3. Maicon - Castrol Ranking 86
Inter Milan's treble triumphs were, of course, built on rigid defence and their supreme quartet, with deference to the excellence of midfield lord protector Esteban Cambiasso, is represented by this Brazilian. Those who wonder why Dani Alves does not play too often for Brazil need only watch Maicon, a far better defender but also an attacker of huge quality. See the example of that energetic run and finish against Barcelona. This is the age of the overlapping full back and Maicon is the best around.
2. Diego Milito - Castrol Ranking 86
The Argentine scored the goals that delivered all three of Serie A, Coppa Italia and the Champions League to Inter Milan. Not bad, really, was it? Jose Mourinho raised eyebrows when paying Genoa 25 million euros for a 30-year-old but is now - as ever - smugly proclaiming his own genius after Milito repeatedly showed true mastery of the finisher's art. He is no all-rounder but was the prime match-winner of the European season. The story that Diego Maradona had to be reminded of Milito by one of his coaches when selecting for the World Cup ought to defy belief but, as it's Maradona, it doesn't.
1. Lionel Messi - Castrol Ranking 1
Why deny the obvious child? There were times in the 2009-10 season when it looked as if Messi would surpass the annus mirabilis of his previous term. Perhaps he did. He top-scored in both Spain and the Champions League, making those slaloming runs past helpless defenders and slide-rule finishes almost look routine. Messi scored eight goals in three matches during one week in March, hitting unimpeachable heights. And his recovery from Barca's concession of their European title was to fire seven goals in three games to wrest back the Primera Liga title when his colleagues' nerve looked to be deserting them. Tina Turner had a song about his type.
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