The 2006-07 season was in many ways a transitional season. The new world of Guardiola, prime-Messi and prime-Cristiano Ronaldo hadn’t arrived yet but the era before that had clearly ended. The Galacticos had broken apart, Zidane retired, Bergkamp retired, Roy Keane retired, Ronaldo… well, kind of retired, Ronaldinho past his peak, Mourinho’s Chelsea past theirs, Capello’s Juventus gone, van Nistelrooy had left United, Henry had played his last good season for Arsenal, and so on and so forth. Tactically speaking it was a rather dull time. Most teams played pretty much alike, with a focus on defensive stability, happy to nick a goal on the counter but unwilling and unable to build any kind of planned collective attacking effort. Doesn’t sound like I want to convince you to repeat what I did and watch your way through the season, right? Well, maybe not quite as extensively as I did, but there is greatness to be found in this era. The 2006-07 season featured some good, very good, even borderline outstanding performances by some players. The purpose of this post is to chronicle some of these exploits. As always, selection is based on quality and quantity of performance – and on nothing else. The 2006-2007 Season is defined as starting with the final whistle of the 2006 Champions League final and ending with the final whistle of the 2007 Champions League final. The 2006 World Cup is excluded.
Bench: Casillas, Julio Cesar, D. James; Lahm, A. Cole, Maxwell; Ferdinand, Demichelis, Chiellini, R. Marquez, K. Touré; Maicon, Ramos, D. Alves; M. Diarra, Cambiasso, Christian Zanetti; Xavi, Scholes, Javier Zanetti; Gerrard, Lampard, Alex de Souza; Ribery, Robinho, Hleb; Toni, Adebayor, Rooney; Totti, Agüero, Del Piero
Best Player of the Season: Cristiano Ronaldo
Best Team of the Season: Manchester United
Best Match of the Season: Manchester United – Chelsea FC , 21.05.2008
I run this blog for two main reasons. First, in order to publish my Team of the Season selections. This is an ongoing project. I post a new Team of the Season after the end of every football season (usually shortly after the UEFA Champions League final). The second big project that makes up a significant part of the content posted on this blog is the Teams of the Decade project. I watched my way through male football history and compiled what I thought was the best XI for every decade. In order not to discriminate against players who reached their peak around the turn of a decade (say, 1978-1982), the project progressed in overlapping five year steps. So for example, the 1970-1980 Team of the Decade was followed by the 1965-1975 Team of the Decade. This second project was completed in 2017. Working my way back in time, I reached the 1950s which is the first decade for which enough footage of classic football matches exist in order for me to form my own opinion on the top players of the period in question. The project finished with a post about what I consider to be the Best XI in Football History and one about the Best Player. After having finished the 1950-1960 Team of the Decade there were simply no more decades in football history to write about.
Best Match of the Season: FC Liverpool – Manchester City 3-1, 10.11.2019
The selection is, as always, based on the two criteria quantity and quality of performance.The 2019-2020 Season is defined as starting with the final whistle of the 2019 Champions League final and ending with the final whistle of the 2020 Champions League final.
Jan Oblak I don’t think we have seen any goalkeeper, at least among those on my radar, produce an absolute standout season. Until the match against Bayern, I had Marc-Andre ter Stegen down for a second consecutive year between the posts, but he was one of the players who had a nightmare in what was Barcelona’s most important match of the season. Hence I changed my mind.
Bench: van der Sar, Casillas; Lahm, van Bronckhorst; Ooijer, Marchena, Mathijsen, Kyrgiakos; Bosingwa, Ramos; Ballack, Semak; Modric, Pirlo; Iniesta, Podolski; van der Vaart, Sionko; C. Ronaldo, Arshavin; Sentürk, Pavlyochenko
It’s been ten years now since I started compiling a “Team of the Season” at the end of every regular football season. Come late May or early June I reflected upon the season and about which players impressed me the most. Who did perform the best both in terms of quantity and quality of performance? Then I tried to squeeze the standout performers into a realistic (or semi-realistic) formation and added a bench with players who narrowly failed to make the cut. The objective was always to chronicle the exploits of those players who performed the best. This objective, at least partially, sprung from the realization that football awards do not adequately fulfill this task.
Bench: Oblak, Ederson, Alisson; Alba, A. Sandro, Laporte; Koulibaly, Chiellini, Marquinhos; Lenglet, Skriniar, Vertonghen; Kimmich, J. Cancelo, Walker; Thiago, Fabinho, Busquets; Milner, de Jong, Gündogan; D. Silva, Reus, Neymar; Mané, Son, Tadic; C. Ronaldo, Lewandowski, Mbappé; Sterling, Ziyech, Salah
Best Player: Lionel Messi
Best Team: Manchester City
Best Match: Ajax Amsterdam – Real Madrid 1-2
Marc-André ter Stegen
Leaving ter Stegen on the bench was probably the hardest omission in the 17-18 Team of the Season. He was already great last season but de Gea just edged him out. This season things look a bit different. De Gea, for one, played much worse, emulating his World Cup rather than last season (especially during the final months of the season). And ter Stegen – well, it might even be true that his 18-19 was just a little bit worse than his 17-18. This may sound pretty negative but it is not meant that way: ter Stegen’s 17-18 was breathtakingly good and if his 18-19 is almost as good it must be brilliant as well.