Corona Retro-Teams: 2006-07

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.

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Corona Retro-Teams: 2007-2008


Manager: Alex Ferguson

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

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Team of the Decade 2010-2020

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.

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Team of the Season 2019-2020

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.


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.

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Standardization of pre-2014/15 Teams of the Season/Tournament

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.

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Team of the Season 2018-2019

1819final

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.

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Team of the World Cup 2018

2018wc

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.).

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Team of the Season 2017-2018

tots1718

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 »

Teams of the Decade: An Overview

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:

totd_end

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!

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