The following is a guest post from Eric Halberg of SatelliteTV.net.
If you are a relatively new fan of soccer, here is the lowdown on the hottest properties in the sport at the moment. David Beckham has made a massive contribution to increasing the global appeal of the game and that includes U.S.A., where audiences continue to grow watching teams like LA Galaxy perform. But Beckham is now becoming more of an ambassador than a top player, so here are some of the talented players you can currently enjoy watching.
There is always lively debate when it comes to saying who's the best player in the world right now, but for once, most soccer fans are prepared to put personal rivalry to one side and agree that the diminutive 25-year-old Argentinian, who currently plays for Spanish giants Barcelona, is almost a class apart. He is quite simply a little magician when he gets on the ball. Any true soccer fan can’t help being mesmerized by his dazzling ball skills and his phenomenal strike rate for scoring goals, even if it is against the team that you support! He is probably the best soccer player to walk the planet since the iconic Pele graced the world stage. Period.
The fact that Ronaldo plays soccer for Real Madrid, the fierce Spanish rivals of Barcelona, is most likely the only reason for Barcelona President Sandro Rosell to say that Cristiano Ronaldo is the 12th best player in the world and wouldn’t get in the first team. Take those mischievous comments with a grain of salt, as many soccer fans would love to have this prolific goalscorer on their team. Were it not for the presence of Messi in the game right now, Ronaldo would probably be hailed as the best player we have seen in a generation. Messi scored an incredible 198 goals in 234 appearances for Barcelona, with Ronaldo managing an equally incredible 214 goals in 316 appearances for British club Manchester United and then with Real Madrid. Chew on those stats, Mr Rosell!
Robin Van Persie
If you are able to watch soccer from the English Premier League on cable then it is highly likely that the Dutch-born striker Robin Van Persie would have been sighted scoring goals for Arsenal and subsequently for U.S.-owned giants of the game, Manchester United. (In fact U.S. owners are involved financially with a number of top clubs in England such as Arsenal, Liverpool, and Aston Villa.) In his time at Arsenal and now at Manchester United, Van Persie has scored 114 goals from 217 games played, which easily makes him one the hottest properties in the game right now.
Goals make the headlines but every team needs a Field Marshall. Field Marshalls control the game from Midfield and defend their territory by preventing goals from being scored, as well as helping launch attacks on the enemy. Iniesta is the epitome of the perfect player for this role. He has helped his national side Spain to become world champions, and he's enjoyed success with his club side Barcelona.
Hottest Young American Star — Fabian Johnson
The U.S. is more than capable of providing a huge talent who can perform on the world stage, and as the game grows in popularity and more kids take up soccer as their chosen sport, there will surely be more stars to shine for the Stars and Stripes of American soccer. Right now, 24-year-old Fabian Johnson fits that bill. Johnson plays for German Bundesliga side Hoffenheim and can play as an attacking midfielder or a winger running down the flanks. The way that his talent is developing, he will be one the key players for the United States men's national soccer team for many years to come.
The English Premier League already has a couple of American stars in striker Clint Dempsey and goalkeeper Tim Howard, and there are exciting times ahead for U.S. soccer fans. Who knows? There might be another Lionel Messi out there playing college soccer right now.
Eric Halberg is an avid soccer fan. He enjoys sharing his stories about his hobby on various websites. Visit www.SatelliteTV.net for more details.