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.Read More »
Manager: Jürgen Klopp
Bench: ter Stegen, Courtois, Neuer; Robertson, Guerreiro, Gosens; Boateng, Ramos, T. Silva, Upamecano, Hummels, Kimpembe; Carvajal, Hateboer, Cuadrado; Verratti, Marquinhos, Fabinho; Thiago, Henderson, Goretzka; Müller, Dybala, P. Gomez; Neymar, Mane, Gnabry; Benzema, Immobile, Haaland; Ilicic, Mbappe, Sancho
Best Player of the Season: Robert Lewandowski
Best Team of the Season: FC Bayern München
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.
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.
Manager: Guus Hiddink
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
Best Player of the Tournament: Xavi
Best Team of the Tournament: Spain
Best Match of the Tournament: Netherlands – ItalyRead More »
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.
Manager: Erik ten Hag
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.
Manager: Roberto Martinez
Bench: Courtois, Pickford; Hernandez, Kolarov; Miranda, Gimenez, Maguire, Granqvist; Trippier, Fagner; Casemiro, Rakitic; Pogba, Quintero; Coutinho, Messi; Griezmann, Perisic; Kane, C. Ronaldo; Cavani, Cheryshev
Best Player: Mbappé (but see below)
Best Team: Brazil
Best Match: France – Argentina
The selection is, as always, based on quality and quantity of performance alone. This is about who played the best (not the most iconic, memorable, most improved, etc.).
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Bench: ter Stegen, Oblak, Ederson; Marcelo, Kolarov, Robertson; Hummels, Thiago Silva, Ramos; Naldo, Vertonghen, Varane; Carvajal, Walker, S. Roberto; Kanté, Fernandinho, Casemiro; Kroos, James, Modric; Iniesta, Eriksen, Firmino; Neymar, Sané, Mané; Kane, Cavani, Griezmann; Hazard, Bale, Aspas
Best Player: Lionel Messi
Best Team: Manchester City
Best Match: Manchester City – SSC Napoli 2-1Read More »
Some people have approached me saying that it would be nice to have an overview over the Teams of the Decade I compiled. Who am I to disagree?
Lukas Fesca in particular was so kind to create a game in which you can choose which eleven, in your opinion, is the strongest.
Here are the results:
I agree with most of the selections, especially with the collective verdict that ’05-’15 and ’65-’75 are the two front-runners and that there is very little separating them.
Thanks again to Lukas Fesca!
For the last two years I’ve watched my way through (male) football history. I wrote about what I saw in a series of blogposts on Teams of the Decades. Starting in 2015 and working my way back in five year steps, I concluded that project this April with the Team of the Decade 1950-1960.
This blogpost is the second and final one of a mini-series of extra blogposts that are intended to bring closure to the whole project. In the first one I compiled what I think is the best team in football history. In this one I will write about who is, in my (hopefully educated) opinion, the best football player of all time, whereby “all time” is defined as 1950-2017. (Impossible to judge before that.)Read More »
During the last ten years I’ve watched my way through (male) football history. At first I did so without any specific plan. Whatever got me interested landed on my watch list. But during the last two years my viewing schedule got more structured. As many of you will know, I’ve compiled Teams of the Decade and published them on this blog. Starting with the 2005-15 team, I have worked my way back in five year steps to the 1950-60 team. After that I stopped because the lack of footage for players before 1950 makes it impossible to form an opinion on them that is truly my own. Working on this project meant that I had to watch many more matches in order to form an educated opinion on the great players of the past. By now I think I have a decent knowledge about football history.Read More »