by Jim Riggio - 03/07/2006
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The folowing is a list of the most overrated players heading into World Cup 2006:
1. David Beckham (England): Beckham wins this one pretty easily. Fans around the world have been falsely told how Beckham is the best free kick taker and best bender of the ball. The truth is he isn't even the best in these areas on his own Real Madrid team. Beckham has played a little better this season, but he is clearly nothing more than a slightly above-average international player, and not an international superstar. Odds of him winning scoring title (in my opinion): 1,000/1 (odds at most sportsbooks: 80/1).
2. Alessandro Del Piero (Italy): Del Piero is playing the best he has in years, but he still belongs high on this list. Fans unbelievably have continued to have faith in him even though he has made some crucial mistakes playing for Italy in some major competitions. However, it must be said that when he plays well, which is usually against weaker opponents, he can be the difference. Having that million-dollar smile and always making himself available for the media have made Del Piero popular. Odds of him winning scoring title (in my opinon): 250/1 (odds at most sportsbooks: 50/1).
3. Dida (Brazil): He was a virtual unknown until a few years ago when an injury and a falling out between starting AC Milan goalie Christian Abbiati and team management allowed Dida to become the starter. At times he has played well, but he has been awful this season. Abbiati is, meanwhile, on loan with Juventus, but may be brought back next year to take over the starting job. In spite of Dida's poor play of late he is still unbelievably considered one of the top goalies in the world.
4.Michael Owen (England): Owen is a very good player, but he is not a great player. But because he was a star so young, he hasn't been forgotten. The reality is, Owen is still in his mid 20s and yet he may have already played his best games. Odds of him winning scoring title (in my opinion): 50/1 (odds at most sportsbooks: 12/1).
5. Wayne Rooney (England): Rooney is very similar to Owen. Rooney hasn't improved much since he first burst onto the scene. He is lucky to have the help of the British media who don't make his attitude a major issue. Odds of him winning scoring title (in my opinion): 50/1 (odds at most sportsbooks: 18/1).
6. Roberto Carlos (Brazil): I know a lot of people are going to say I'm crazy because this guy has won everything and he doesn't miss many games due to injury. While all of this is true, Roberto Carlos is a defender who can't defend. He is one of the greatest free-kick takers in the history of the game, but that doesn't make him a complete player. He is very good going forward, but equally as bad defending. Odds of him winning the scoring title (in my opinion) 1,000/1 (odds at most sportsbooks: 150/1).
7. Roque Junior (Brazil): How does a guy who was a third-string defender for AC Milan four years ago make it onto the Brazilian national team as a starting defender? Many Brazilian fans are worried that Roque Junior is a favorite of Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira and he may start ahead of others who probably merit it more.
8. Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Mexico): Here is a guy who gets an awful lot of publicity for someone who has shown he isn't good enough to play with the big boys in Europe. Four years ago in the World Cup, Blanco looked silly trying to jump with the ball between his two feet. A real world-class player is able to beat his defender off the dribble with some fancy moves. Blanco has none.
9. Javier Zanetti (Argentina): Zanetti is a very good individual player, but has never shown the leadership skills that have been expected of him. He also sometimes can cause problems when he plays as a defender because he often drifts too much forward and doesn't stick to the role he is supposed.
10. Juan Pablo Sorin (Argentina): Sorin has played for Argentina of late, and although he figures to make it to Germany, there is no guarantee. With Manchester United's Gabriel Heinze injured, Sorin's chances look better on Argentina's left side. But the knock on Sorin is the fact that he has played for eight club teams in his career and he's still only 29. Sounds like not too many clubs feel that confident about him.