[dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Part 4 of the fantasista10 Top 50 for the 2012/13 season, paying homage to the playmakers we feel have been at the top of their game over the last 12 months.
Who made the grade this time round?
Whilst Part 1 and Part 2 featured an eclectic mix of players from all corners of the globe – including those power-houses with a tradition for producing talented number 10s – a few ‘golden oldies’ also made the grade.
Part 3 showcased a mixture of relative new stars on the block, with those who are enjoying perhaps the best periods of their careers.
This edition brings you two more ‘golden oldies’, as well as more than a few who have been the subject of big-money transfers this summer.
Remember, this is not a ranking list (see selection process), but we believe the players included fully justify their place – do you?
Let us know in the comments section below, or via our Twitter @fantasistaTEN.
Enjoy, and keep a lookout for our final Part 5 coming soon.
Brazil & Shakhtar Donetsk
Games (2012): 36 Goals: 11 Assists: 12 / Copa Libertadores (2013): Games: 11 Goals: 4 Assists: 2
It’s been a whirlwind summer for the latest Brazilian starlet to fall off their playmaking conveyor belt.
From being called up to feature in Brazil’s victorious Confederations Cup campaign (at the expense of former teammate Ronaldinho) plus helping inspire Atlético Miniero to their first historic Copa Libertadores crown, to being courted by a host of major European clubs which included Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and Arsenal, before eventually completing a big-money move to Shakhtar Donetsk, Bernard has most definitely arrived.
Already featured on fantasista10 a few weeks ago (prior to his transfer) Bernard’s ability dynamism, pace and trickery will make for fascinating viewing in this year’s Champions League.
France & Montpellier
Games: 31 Goals: 7 Assists: 8
The skilful youngster has started this campaign exactly where he left off, scoring the French championship’s first goal of the season against last year’s league winners, PSG, no less.
Last season’s form had led to firm interest from Arsenal, and he was tipped to link-up with former team mate Olivier Giroud at the Gunners. However an £85m price-tag was slapped on Montpellier’s prize possession and he remains in Ligue 1.
“Although he started playing mostly as a winger, last season has seen Cabella move to a more central position and show that he is not just another wide player. Taking the creative role from Younes Belhanda the youngster has created eight and scored seven goals last season and become the focal point of this Montpellier side. His great skill on the ball and desire to take on his man make him a very dangerous player when given the freedom of the pitch.” – Andrew Gibney (France Football Weekly)
Alessandro Del Piero
Italy & Sydney FC
Games: 24 Goals: 14 Assists: 6
Obviously now way past his imperious best, but Del Piero’s impact (and goalscoring form) on Australian football cannot be underestimated.
Signed to a fanfare as the highest profile capture in the ever-improving A-League, Del Piero settled instantly as his class shone through – scoring in the club’s major derby games and showcasing his trademark free-kicks and deadly penalty precision. He even bagged 4 goals and an assist in one match – a 7-1 victory against Wellington Phoenix.
However, in the end, the Sky Blues endured an underwhelming campaign, finishing seventh and missing out on the finals. This season, which could prove to be his last, the 38 year old is aiming for the title.
Still proving to be a major draw despite playing on the other side of the world, 500,000 fans recently lined the streets of Jesolo in honour of him, during Sydney’s pre-season tour of Italy.
Germany & Schalke 04
Games: 30 Goals: 10 Assists: 4
Another German wunderkind who has made now himself indispensable to Schalke 04.
Helped by changes in personnel at the club which allowed Draxler to play in his favoured position, more often than not, he’s continued to impress at a rapid rate, scoring some vital goals along the way.
Highly technical, creative and possessing an explosive shot, Draxler had been strongly tipped to leave Gelsenkirchen this summer after capturing the attention of Manchester United, Real Madrid and most notably, Borussia Dortmund. However the attacking midfielder has put paid to the speculation by recently signing a 2-year extension.
Spain & Barcelona
Games: 31 Goals: 10 Assists: 11
Since joining Barcelona, Fabregas’ career has seemed to raise more questions than answers, and last season was no different.
The disappointing end to a phenomenally mundane campaign in the league gave an impression that Cesc had endured a poor season. A quick glance at the statistics he racked up paint a very different picture however.
Maybe it was was the ease in which Barcelona recaptured the La Liga title (which has seen the extraordinary become ordinary), or maybe it’s his constant uphill battle to be seen as a regular starter which gives this slightly negative notion that all isn’t well with the player. Despite this, the former Arsenal captain still contributes creatively, and has started the current season where he left off last – assisting 2 and producing 6 key passes in his first match.
Germany & Bayern Munich
Games: 28 Goals: 10 Assists: 9
The furore caused by his agreed switch to rivals Bayern Munich at the end of last season dampened the end to both his, and Dortmund’s campaign, leaving a bitter taste – his side losing the European Cup final (to his new employers), whilst he missed the game altogether, through injury.
Rewind to before the shock €37 million bid (and subsequent transfer, which makes him the most expensive German to date) and Götze had enjoyed another fantastic season, forming a formidable partnership with Marco Reus which looked set to dominate the Dortmund line-up for years.
“A lot has been written about his prodigious talent and most of it isn’t hyperbole. Götze is rightfully described as a once in a generation talent and every year he seems to be getting better and better. Last season was by far his best for Dortmund, recording an incredible 37 combined goals and assists for the club in all competitions. Götze is not a No. 10 in the traditional sense and has also been used as a “False 9″ but his instincts and runs are that of past greats like Günter Netzer and Wolfgang Overath. Götze always knows where the ball is, where to find space, and where his teammates are. We’ll be talking about him for years to come.” – Cristian Nyari (Bundesliga Fanatic)
Brazil & Lazio
Games: 34 Goals: 11 Assists: 5
The wonderfully named Anderson Hernandes de Carvalho Viana Lima enjoyed his best year to date in Serie A, helped by the confidence shown in him by Lazio’s coach, Vladimir Petković.
Forming an excellent understanding with veteran German striker Miroslav Klose and playing consistently, Hernanes’ playmaking skills and attacking instincts came to the fore as he reached double-figures in goals, for the second time in three seasons in Italy – quite an accomplishment for a player who’s primarily seen as a midfielder.
Now pivotal to Lazio, Hernanes was even seen a good luck charm for the club, as they didn’t lose whenever he scored. He’ll be now looking to exert a similar influence on his national team, Brazil.
Serbia & Manchester City
Games: 31 Goals: 13 Assists: 5
Fiorentina fans will be sorry to see their Serbian star finally depart, but in truth, they’d been preparing for the eventuality for the last couple of transfer windows. And at least they can take solace from the fact that he didn’t join hated rivals Juventus, who had been sniffing around.
Manchester City stumped up £23m to get their man, but what kind of player will they be getting for their outlay? Italian football expert and Viola fan, Giancarlo Rinaldi, told people in his excellent blog:
“An enormous talent with the potential to explode on the international scene. He can dribble, finish and set up goals. He does, however, tend to pick up a number of minor knocks during a season, so he is likely to miss a few games.”
Positionally versatile across the frontline, Jovetic is perhaps more of a forward than a playmaker in the traditional sense; however, the above attributes more than demonstrate his role in any team.
Germany & Chelsea
Games: 34 Goals: 11 Assists: 7
Laverkusen may have delayed the deal by a year, but the inevitable followed this summer when their most prized possession made the switch to Stamford Bridge as Schürrle became Jose Mourinho’s first signing of his second reign at Chelsea.
Nominally a forward player, the young German is more than adept at playing slightly wider where he is arguably more effective, utilizing his pace.
The £18.7m signing will now compete for a place in the Chelsea starting line-up along with Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Oscar, Kevin De Bruyne and Victor Moses – all vying for creative roles behind the Blues frontman; whoever that may be.
Juan Carlos Valeron
Spain & Las Palmas
Games: 32 Goals: 1 Assists: 8
The slow-motion genius was still demonstrating that age hadn’t diminished his brilliance during La Liga last season, despite suffering heart-breaking relegation with his beloved Depor.
37-year old Valeron never much relied on his pace, not because he never possessed it, but because his velvet touch and flawless technique ensured he never needed it.
Never the most prolific of goalscorers, Valeron still tormented opponents by creating numerous chances for team-mates, producing 8 assists in a side that struggled for most of the season.
Having recently left Depor to join his boyhood club Las Palmas, also in the Segunda Division, the player labelled as ‘Spain’s Zidane’ will be hoping to inspire them to a return to the top-flight this season.
Do you feel we’ve got it right? Who’s missing? If you think we are wrong, tell us why, so we can get some debates going! Your comments are truly welcome – we invite your thoughts and opinions so please be sure to add comments, or tweet us @fantasistaTEN.