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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


The Best Soccer Players Of The 21st Century

Written by on July 8, 2013 | 7 Comments »
Posted in General

World Soccer magazine has been the bible for English language fans around the world for decades. Long before television offered us access to games from around the world on a daily basis, World Soccer was a link to the sport beyond domestic and regional boundaries.

No edition of a World Cup could be complete without a World Soccer preview and analysis.

For this July’s edition of the magazine a panel of over seventy World Soccer correspondents, former players and writers was asked to pick their best ever XI.

The selection was based on a… to read more please follow the link.

7 responses to “The Best Soccer Players Of The 21st Century”

  1. Smiley says:

    What, no David Beckham? LOL

    *Sorry to digress Bobby but the U20 France v Ghana match should be a real spectacle of African players vs African French players. Interesting to see how much of a positive influence France has on its African youth soccer community no?

  2. Ed Gomes says:

    As much as articles like this tend to frustrate, they do create discussion.
    It’s hard to compile a list for each decade, never mind for all time. For me Di Stefano and Beckenbaur have to make it onto any list. Eusebio’s scoring record is incredible, but is usually overlooked. I’m happy to see that Garrincha did get the love.

    There’s always someone that gets left out.
    For me the guy you left out was Ronaldo. He was an incredible player. Even with the partying and injuries he was an amazing talent. His “Galacticos” teammates were amazed at the talent.

  3. Al Harris says:

    I can only assume Bobby didn’t include Ronaldo because about half of his career was prior to 2000 and after the 2002 world cup, it was increasingly blighted by injury. Admittedly, some of it was self-inflicted. For my money the totality of his career ranks him above Drogba and makes it a coin flip between him and Henry. But that’s what makes these arguments so much fun. Who’s standing the next pint? 🙂

  4. John Bladen says:

    Ed, I think discussion is the purpose of any ‘greatest ever’ list.

    There are always a few names that will seem to be “missing”, no matter who makes the lists.

    Reaching far into the past also creates problems… I’m inclined to agree about Garrincha’s inclusion, but how many actually saw him play? We all marvel at Pele, but for most of us, the best years of his career were long behind him when we had the chance to see him play.

    Di Stefano and Puskas are better known players in Europe, but you still have to be in your 60’s to have had any chance to see them play in their prime… and have had access to tickets, for the most part.

  5. Ed Gomes says:

    I agree JB.
    But futebol too me is still a sport enriched with history. Club squads and stars only grow in stature as time passes. That burden can be crippling at times, but it also deepens the resolve of the fans.

    I read a funny article recently about ESPN’s or NFL’s top 100 players for 2012. It was funny because it pointed out how this list was compiled by the players themselves. Fans and even pundits get a bad rap, when they try to compile lists without the experience of “playing the game”. Yet the NFL’s Top 100 is full of irregularities. It actually proves that fans might actually watch more games and follow more players than players are able to themselves.
    There something to watching game film for an upcoming opponent, a whole different perspective watching multiple games every week.

    I for one prefer the “Best” lists to be designated by decade. Even though there will be overlap for some players, that should provide a better reflection of the talent.

    What I would love to have seen Bobby’s First XI play his Second XI. That would be a hell of a match.
    I wouldn’t mind seeing the panels squads face each other.There has to be a computer program somewhere that could sort all this out for us.

  6. John in Burke says:

    Bobby, I love these type of conversations because, generally, there are no “right” answers. My answer to the question of best 11 is probably way off, but this team would be a hell of a lot of fun to watch, win or lose.
    Van der Sar

    Lucio Ferdinand Maldini

    Figo Keane Zidane Riquelme Ronaldinho

    Messi Ronaldo (fake)

  7. Astronomer says:

    Just a slight nitpicking point here. In your second XI, you had Eto’o as one of the attacking midfielders and Drogba as the lone striker.

    I would have selected Eto’o as the lone striker in that team ahead of Drogba.

    I think that during the 2006-2010 time period, Eto’o was the best pure striker in the world and in terms of both finishing ability and creating assists the equal (or the better) of Drogba for the duration of the last decade.

    I understand that Mourinho used Eto’o more as an attacking midfielder than a striker while he was at Inter, but I think it was more done to accommodate (and utilize) Milito’s fine goal-scoring form during the 2009-2010 period.

    I think had Guardiola kept Eto’o at Barca as the team’s principal striker during the 2009-2010 season, Barca probably would have become the first back-to-back Champions League winner in history.


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