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Will Tidey - 2010: A Footballing Odyssey

Published: 23 Dec 2010 - 08:55:28

It's that time of the year when all that gets written are review pieces, wrap-ups and top 10s. So why should this column be any different?

Here are my highs and lows of the footballing year that was...

Best Performance

Barcelona's 5-0 hammering of Real Madrid was almost beyond plaudits. Using David Villa and Pedro as rapiers on the flanks, Barca carved through Jose Mourinho's team like they were a second XI with a hangover. Xavi and Iniesta conducted the orchestra and Lionel Messi gave a lesson in distribution. Quite simply, sensational.

Worst Performance

England were fairly uninspired against the United States, but their second group game at the World Cup was a new low. Algeria should have been put away with ease, but England were hopelessly bereft of imagination and drive. Their passing was woeful and any hopes of a decent run in the tournament were extinguished on a dire night for English football.

Best Player

Xavi or Andres Iniesta? How do you choose between the two best players in the world in 2010? Both were complicit in Spain's brilliant run to World Cup glory, and both are integral to Barcelona's weekly masterclasses in La Liga. My vote goes to Iniesta, in part for his winning goal in the World Cup Final, but also for the fact he makes things happen in the tightest situations, with an almost instinctive sense for where the ball needs to go next.

Best Goal

My vote goes to Siphiwe Tshabalala's goal for South Africa in the opening game of the World Cup. The tournament was years in the making and the anticipation was at fever pitch. To get things going with a goal like that was just the antidote to all the negativity surrounding the host nation. Tshabalala's finish was so emphatic it released a wave of tension in the stadium and served as a perfect opening note to the World Cup.

Best Manager

Pep Guardiola's Barcelona continue to take the plaudits as the most exciting team on the planet, but the big prize in club football went to Jose Mourinho. Inter Milan suffocated Barca in the Champions League semi-final, then swept aside Bayern Munich with consumate ease to win it. Mourinho also led them to the Seria A title. Until Barca win back the big trophy, Mourinho remains on the throne.

Biggest ******

Sepp Blatter excelled himself once again in 2010. The FIFA chief refused to act on corruption in the ranks and stood behind the decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup. That's Qatar, where you can cook a roast dinner on the pitch during the warm-up and tourists are told to stay away in the summer months. Somebody do something.

Best Quote

Ian Holloway was always going to win this one. "I am more than happy at Blackpool and I am afraid the chairman will need a hell of a tub of cream to get rid of me. I'm like a bad rash and not easily curable."

Breakthrough Act

Jack Wilshere takes this one. The pint-size Arsenal midfielder has proved himself in the Premier League and in Europe this season, and looks every bit the class act. Great touch, great vision and the man who could finally see England rid of Frank Lampard. What's not to like?

That's your lot folks. Enjoy the holidays and see on the other side.

DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Will Tidey
Will Tidey writes on sport for CNN, Eurosport-Yahoo! and Bleacher Report, amongst others. His first book, 'Life with Sir Alex', an account of Sir Alex Ferguson's 25-year reign at Manchester United, is set for release in October this year. Pre-order it now at http://tinyurl.com/6xzl62b. And follow Will on Twitter here - www.twitter.com/willtidey

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