Here are the nominees, which came out yesterday, for the Professional Footballers Associaton’s Player of the Year. For many, the decision seems to be clear cut. What’s your vote…………?
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) – David Pizarro’s least favorite player has gathered in 40 games a whopping 37 goals – outscoring both Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez together. He has also come through on clutch situations, established himself as a presence in the locker room and in Sir Alex Ferguson’s eyes, all at the ripe age of 23. This is all after a 2006-07 season that saw him hit for 23 goals which now looks like cake compared to 2007-08. Most people’s unanimous selection.
2. Fernando Torres (Liverpool) – Few can argue a nomination, but there many out there that tout his arrival and goalscoring as more impressive than Ronaldo’s feats. If you take his move over from Atletico Madrid, the time it took to get accustomed the English football (or lack thereof), and then the subsequent rebirth of an extremely dangerous Liverpool forward, you could certainly vote for Torres. $50 million for 29 goals? That good value?? Probably better than what it would cost to get Ronaldo’s 37.
3. Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal) – All these young’uns on this shortlist. Fabregas has officially become Arsenal’s playmaker and on-field presence. With Cesc, Adebayor wouldn’t have his goals. That alone says things. At 20 years old, Thierry Henry has become a little bit of an afterthought at the Emirates when Adebayor and Cesc link up. His flair, skill, and vision are unbelievable for a player at 20 with the weight of the Gunners on his shoulders.
4. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) – Feels like this year has been Gerrard’s to get lost in the mix. The three nominations above him have taken most of the attention in Europe and the EPL. But Gerrard has remained steady. His leadership rises above the rest – even in the midst of Liverpool struggles. Gerrard wears his heart on his sleeve and it’s hard to see it on any sleeve but Liverpool’s. 20 goals, game-winning assists, and a tenacity that few midfielders posess in the EPL, Gerrard still has many years ahead of him. At what point does his loyalty and commitment to Liverpool go for naught?
5. Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal) – I would have never predicted Adebayor’s break-out season. Henry’s departure led to it, but it’s one thing to play the role of new striker and another to actually make the most of it. Adebayor has produced some of the most spectacular goals this year and stabilized an Arsenal squad that looked destined for mediocrity at the beginning of the season. Yes, the season is catching up to the Gunners – but Adebayor’s efforts certainly puts him on this shortlist.
6. David James (Portsmouth) – Getting towards over the hill (37 y.o.), James has had one interesting career full of huge ups and massive downs. “Calamity” James isn’t exactly the greatest nickname is it? Regardless, James has become a rock in the Pompey goal as they make their run for Europe. He’s also only been the real constant in Fabio Capello’s pool of underperforming goalkeepers. The real questions is – is this the keeper to put on here?
Who all is missing?? Did Tim Howard get snubbed? Why no Gareth Barry of Aston Villa??
Either way, it’s hard to believe that Cristiano Ronaldo won’t become the 4th ever player to win this distinction twice. Consecutively, I might add. Last person to do so was Thierry Henry in 2002-03 and 2003-04.