The English Premier League got underway a few days ago and everyone’s got involved in fantasy football. In fact, after years of being out of touch with the Premier League, I decided to play fantasy football this season. As a result, I’ve got involved with it all over again and I end up watching a lot of matches over the weekend. Given that I haven’t watched regular football for a while now, I found myself finding various holes left in certain teams by players that have left that were never really filled by anyone. It got me thinking, which players would I like to see playing together today? I restricted myself to a time-frame of this decade, I didn’t want to start posting an article that said that Di Stefano and Raul would be good to see together.
As of now, I’m keeping this list restricted to national squads. It’ll take me a while to come up with an interesting enough list regarding club football that would fit the bill, but it was much easier for me to think about World Cup 2002 and World Cup 2010 and keep my thought limited as of now to only national squads. Bear in mind that you might have tons of such combinations, but these just sprang out at me as I watched football and I thought that it would be absolutely epic to see these combinations playing together. It would be good to keep in mind that I’m talking about these players during the peak of their career.
Hey, just a minute now! You were talking about the English Premier League, then you jumped to the World Cup and you’re going to list combinations of national squads?! What the hell? Yeah well it’s my blog. Without further ado, let’s get on with the list!
1. Aimar and Messi
No surprise here, the first combination in my list involves Lionel Messi who was perhaps the most entertaining player in the World Cup. And for those of you who do know me, I’m sure you’re not surprised that I’ve got Pablo Aimar in my list. For those of you who don’t remember Pablo Aimar, let me give you a short introduction to this phenomenal player. Think about a player who’s been gifted with a coalescence of vision, top of the line skill, flexibility and an eye for goal. Now multiply this by two. Add six. You’ve got Pablo Aimar. He spent a lot of time in the Spanish League playing with Valencia and served Argentina’s national squad well. I doubt I need to introduce Lionel Messi to anyone after the World Cup.
So what is it about this combination that I think would be epic? Look at Argentina’s current squad, and then place Pablo Aimar in there. Argentina at the moment have an array of attacking options and they performed fairly well in the World Cup, but if you watched the team closely, you’ll notice that whenever Messi was involved, he was pretty much doing everything solo. Ran with the ball, got past players and then slid in a pass to someone or took a shot at goal. Maybe it’s just me, but the link up play with Messi was lacking. There weren’t enough players that were linking up well with him. Surely here and there there were instances when things seemed to gel well with him, but for me, there was a lot of solo Messi play and a lot of other players linking up to produce goals.
Throw in Pablo Aimar, and see the magic. If I’m not wrong, I think Aimar was involved in a few of the qualifying games for Argentina when they fell short of players but Maradona didn’t include him in the final squad for the World Cup. Aimar’s vision and skill would have had players running in circles around him and Messi being on the field would have left the defenders in a dilemma. Hell, come to think of it, I wouldn’t be surprised if teams fielded five defenders and two defensive midfielders with Aimar and Messi both on the field. The link up play would have been brilliant because Aimar used to play so much like Messi with a slight reduction in speed, and he would have loved to have Messi picking up on all of his through balls and cheeky chips over the defence.