Thursday, July 6, 2006

Back Then Hoes Didn't Want Me,
Now I'm Hot Hoes All On Me

At every World Cup there are players who really impress that were formerly not very well known. Soon thereafter many of these players are bought up by the big European clubs at inflated prices, and those clubs expect the players to replicate their great World Cup form for them. This is a bit silly, since playing for club and country can be very different based on style, tactics, formation, etc. Sometimes this works out for the club, while other times they find out that they have wasted a bunch of money (Liverpool's purchase of Senegal's Diouf & Diop just after WC2002 comes to mind).

Anyhow, here is a quartet of players who have stood out to me as the Mike Joneses of this World Cup, as in:

"Back then hos didn't want me,
Now I'm hot hos all on me"

1. Frank Ribery, France. Scarface Tom Green is Les Bleus youngest player at 23; his first appearance for the national team was just this May in a pre-WC friendly with Mexico. He has rewarded Domenech's somewhat controversial selection of him over Ludovic Giuly, Robert Pires, and even Nicolas Anelka with outstanding play overall. Last year he moved from Metz to Marseille after a loan spell at Galatasary; I'll be very suprised if he is still at Marseille at the beginning of the club season in 6 weeks.

"I remember back then, most of them hoes couldn't stand me,
but now them same hoes begging me to pull down they panties."

2. Eric Abidal, France. This 26 year old left back has really impressed for France. He reminds me alot of Arsenal(for now)/England left back Ashley Cole: good on the ball, very quick, excellent going forward, and a good crosser. His ball skills are so good for a defender that I wonder if like Ash he started out his career as a striker. After 3 years at Monaco, 3 years at Lille, and 3 years at Lyon, he will be on the shortlist of any major club looking for a left back. I'm sure he is on Arsene Wenger's radar. If Chel$ea are really going to pay 20 million pounds for Ashley Cole, then why not sell him and buy Abidal from Lyon for 10 million? He's not quite Ashley but he's a pretty damn good replacement with a similar style. Although Wenger is on record as saying it is much smarter to buy players before major competitions not after (see: Thomas Rosicky), he did buy Sylvain Wiltord after Euro 2000, so anything is possible.

"Before the ice was in my grill, before I got my major deal,
these hoes wouldn't give a damn if I here. Sheea!"

3. David Odonkor, Germany. The German super sub, who reminded me of a soccer version of Vinnie "The Microwave" Johnson off the bench for the 1980s Detroit Pistons, changed every match that he entered with his dangerous pace, unbridled energy, and skill on the wing. I don't watch much Bundesliga during the year, so I cannot comment on whether his play for Borussia Dortmund, as a starter, is significantly different. Reminds me of Arsenal's Freddy Ljungburg or Barcelona's Ludovic Giuly with his pace and work rate - always running his socks off. Only 22 years old, I wouldn't be suprised if he is snatched up by another club in the next year, especially Bayern Munich, who always seem to snatch up the best young talent from all of the other clubs in Germany.

"They used to love to diss me,
now they rush to hug & kiss me,
now they telling all they friends,
when I leave how they miss me."

4. Miguel, Portugal. Portugal's right back has really impressed at this tournament, and is one of the few players on his team who managed not to resort to diving and whining during their run to the semifinals. Rock solid in the back, good on the ball, and get go forward and get into dangerous positions. Last year he moved to Valencia after 5 years at Benfica, so he is now at a larger medium sized club, but will be high in the minds of the bigger clubs who might be looking for a new right back.

"Two eight one, three three oh, eight zero zero four,
hit Mike Jones Miguel up on the low,
cause Mike Jones Miguel about to blow."

These are the 4 that stick out most in my mind. Other nominations for the "Mike Jones! XI" may be submitted in the comments section.


DC Trojan said...

I'm going to break the habit of a lifetime and be positive about an English players, even though it's probably a banning offense to mention a Spurs player on your site: I thought Aaron Lennon showed some promise.

But if I were him I'd stay put to develop under Jol rather than risk being another Defoe or Vassell, where promise was wasted for a bad fit with the English coaching mentality.

I suppose Lennon could only really get any better coaching in England by playing for the Gunners...

Kanu said...

No ban - you are spot on about A Lennon, but I guess for me personally he didn't sneak up on me and impress because I followed his rapid progress this past year in the EPL.

Excellent choice though. That's 5 down and 6 to go for the FC Mike Jones! XI.

Kanu said...

Now that I am thinking through the teams, some that come to mind, although some were relatively known before the tournament(esp. Bresciano and Appiah) but defintitey raised their profile in it:

Clint Dempsey, USA
Oguchi Onyewu, USA
Asamoah Gyan, Ghana
Matthew Amoah, Ghana
Sulley Muntari, Ghana
Stephen Appiah, Ghana
Marco Bresciano, Australia
Christian Wilhelmsson, Sweden


moin said...

In terms of keepers, Richard Kingson of Ghana, Shaka Hislop of T&T, Abbondanzieri of Argentina has been theones that's gotten my attention. But, well, I guess it's a relative thing. Like I'm not surprised when Lehmann and Richardo comes through big time on penalties.

One minor point, Liverpool never signed Diop. Lens did. But Diouf was enough of a waste of money. Diop, on the other hand, has been very good.

MMDJ said...

Hey Bossman. I was just checking google to see if there was anything new on MMDJ and ran across your site. I thought you were going to give me some free advertising so that I could actually do my job. Oh well. There's the phone....UPS?? Nah, a gig for Saturday night. I have to go now to get the contract done. I need to buy a new 4GB video card.

Nicole said...

I think that Shaka Hislop was a big surprise, but I'd be hesitant to say anything concrete about him until more evidence is in. Clearly, he's a solid keeper. And he was the backup, for chrissakes. But he also may have just stepped it up and had a once-in-a-lifetime game.

That being said, I'm half in love with the guy. How many other backup keeps could have done what he did? He wasn't pegged to start and didn't find out til minutes before the game when the starter injured himself. Talk about clutch. You have to have respect for anyone who can step it up on the world's biggest stage, with no preparation, at that.

Kanu said...

Hislop was great in that match, but he didn't make this list because he is in his late thirties and has been a regular starting goalkeepr in the EPL for many years.

So I guess for me he wasn't "new", but perhaps to the world audience he was.

moin said...

Well, I would hesitate to call any gig at West Ham "EPL". Hah!

He performed well, much better than I thought he would, and very valiantly. I like that.

That said, Kingson was better all around. Someone need to jump on that.