The countdown continues. Premier Leauge defenders get the once over, while the latest wonder kids are put through their paces.
40. Ronaldinho (BRA / AC Milan)
After years in a self-made wilderness of poor fitness and worse form, Ronaldinho has become a player rejuvenated at AC Milan. While he will never again recapture the dazzling, effervescent displays that once, all too briefly, singled him out as the finest footballer on the planet, the classy touches and breadth of vision still remain. Statistically, Ronaldinho was Serie A’s most creative player last season, credited with 17 assists in both domestic and European competition. He also weighed in with an impressive haul of 15 goals, dismissing accusations that he’d become little more than a luxury passenger. Despite the impressive turnaround in form, Ronaldinho was omitted from Brazil’s World Cup squad, in what amounted to a national outcry. As Dunga correctly pointed out, however, he’d been dragging Ronaldinho around for years while his contributions on the pitch were pretty close to zero. New Brazilian head coach, Mano Menezes, has opened the door to a possible return to the international fold. For now, Ronaldinho will have to be content with orchestrating Milan’s new-look attack. He’s not nearly as mobile as he once was, but if he sustains his current level of commitment then he can remain a top player for a good few years to come.