Originally written on 31st March 2015. All information is correct up until that date.
I always like starting new series on this blog, and for this one, the ‘Best Players Alphabet’, I will be going through all 26 letters and counting down the top five players beginning with that letter. Sounds simple, but when it gets to X and Y, it’s very hard indeed! I’ll start, as you would, with the letter A…
5. Juan Alonso
- Date of Birth: 13th December 1927 (Died 8th September 1994)
- Years as a player: 1946-1963
- Nationality: Spanish
- Clubs played for: Logrones, Racing Ferrol, Real Madrid, Plus Ultra
- Position: Goalkeeper
There will be many names across the 26 posts that you won’t recognise, such as this one, but Juan Alonso does have reason to be on here. The Spaniard was the goalkeeper for the impressive Real Madrid side that won the European Cup five seasons in a row between 1955 and 1960. Alonso also captained the side in the 1958 final against AC Milan. In total, he made 225 for Los Blancos, and two for the Spanish national teams, winning four league titles as well as the aforementioned European Cups. In 1955, he won the Zamora Trophy, awarded to the goalkeeper who has the lowest “goals-to-games” ratio in La Liga – recent winners include Thibaut Courtois and Victor Valdes. In the end, the seemingly indispensable keeper’s career was ended by a mysterious lung problem and a broken collarbone.
4. Nicolas Anelka
- Date of Birth: 14th March 1979
- Years as a player: 1996-Present
- Country: French
- Clubs played for: PSG, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester City, Fernebache, Bolton, Chelsea, Shanghai Shenhua, Juventus, West Brom, Mumbai City
- Position: Striker
He might currently be a free agent, but Nicolas Anelka has moved clubs twelve times in his career, amassing a total transfer fee of just under £90 million. And it’s not like he’s been wondering around lower league teams. Anelka can count Real Madrid, Arsenal and Chelsea amongst his former clubs. This globe-trotting has led to the Frenchman winning a total of 10 club trophies, including four league titles and the Champions League with Madrid in 2000. He’s scored a total of 125 Premier League goals, and was named in the PFA Team of the Season in 1999 and 2009, showing he’s been at the top of his game his whole career. For France, Anelka has 69 caps and 14 goals, whilst he was part of the team that won the 2000 European Championship. I’ll avoid the international controversies surrounding the striker…
3. Sergio Aguero
- Date of Birth: 2nd June 1988
- Years as a player: 2003-Present
- Nationality: Argentinian
- Clubs played for: Independiente, Atletico Madrid, Manchester City
- Position: Striker
Sergio Aguerrrooooooo is the man who provided the most dramatic moment in Premier League history when Manchester City won the league title in the 94th minute in the 2011-12 season. The striker is one of many big money signings the club have made since being taken over in 2008, and has been key to their recent success. A talent from an early age, Aguero won the FIFA Young Player of the Year in 2007, the same year he was the top scorer and best player at the Under 20 world cup. The following year he won an Olympic Gold Medal, whilst amongst his other trophies are the Europa League, League Cup UEFA Super Cup. He was an unlucky runner-up at the World Cup last year with Argentina, who he has 22 goals in 59 caps for.
2. Xabi Alonso
- Date of Birth: 25th November 1981
- Years as a player: 1999-Present
- Nationality: Spanish
- Clubs played for: Real Sociedad, Eibar, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich
- Position: Midfielder
A player who has been on the winning side of a World Cup final is Xabi Alonso, who also has two European Championship medals amongst his international honours. The Spaniard has been equally successful in club football as well, having featured for Liverpool and Real Madrid in Champions League winning seasons. Indeed, he scored the equalising goal in the Reds’ incredible comeback in the 2005 final against AC Milan. As well as those two, Alonso has won eight further club trophies, whilst he was also named the Spanish Player of the Year in 2003, and was included in the FIFA Team of the Year in 2011 and 2012, just to name a few personal accolades. Furthermore, the midfielder is fifth most capped Spanish player of all time with 114 appearances, and more domestic trophies could follow after he joined Bayern Munich in the summer, who are currently still in three separate competitions this season.
1. Carlos Alberto
- Date of Birth: 17th July 1944
- Years as a player: 1963-1982
- Nationality: Brazilian
- Clubs played for: Fluminese, Santos, Flamengo, New York Cosmos, California Surf
- Position: Right-Back
There’ll quite a few Brazilians at number one throughout the course of this alphabet, with the legendary Carlos Alberto kicking things off. A right-back by trade, Alberto finished off what is widely considered as the greatest team goal ever when he smashed home the fourth goal in Brazil’s 4-1 demolition of Italy in the 1970 World Cup final. It was that outrageous technique, allied to pure tenacity and intelligence, which made Carlos Alberto such an outstanding all-round defender. Not to mention the captain of the greatest international side of all time as he lifted the Jules Rimet trophy aloft in Mexico City. On the club scene, Alberto drifted around Brazil before being one of many Selecao players to play for New York Cosmos and then California Surf in order to promote football in the States. He is a member of Pele’s FIFA 100 (named in 2004), and the US’ National Soccer Hall of the Fame. Many people, myself include have Carlos Alberto in their greatest team of all time, and certainly with good reason.
Disagree with my top five? Is there a player beginning with A that I have forgotten? Let me know in the comments below…