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5 one-star player international teams

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In a game that fields 11 men on each side of the pitch, it is of little wonder as to why football is called a team game. The size of the pitch, which is over a 100 meters long and around 70 meters wide, requires all the players in the team to combine together and get the ball towards the goal.So it basically impossible to do it all with one man. A single player can’t make a brilliant tackle to win the ball, dribble past multiple players and score a goal. However, sometimes, in some teams, there is one exceptional player on whose shoulders lie the hopes and expectations of the team.Al Pacino could relate to this. He reprised the role as Don Michael Corleone in The Godfather III and was the only one to act according to the standards set in the first two movies. While Andy Garcia and the others were there to fill up the spaces, it was Pacino’s performance that drove the movie.Similarly, there are teams where the other 10 players are there just to plug the gaps and support the one man – the star of the team.And here are 5 such players who play that role in international football. 

#1 Zlatan Ibrahimovic

The 33-year-old has scored 56 goals for his country

Quite easily the greatest Swedish player of all time and definitely the most Zlatan player there is out there or, more accurately, the only one.

He is the top scorer for the Swedish National team and, with due respect to the some good players that they have, it could almost be claimed that Sweden are a team of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and 10 more. The former Barcelona forward has played 106 times for his country, scoring 56 goals in the process.  

When talking about pure stardom alone, the name that echoes the mind before anyone else’s, when the term ‘Sweden’ is heard, is that of Ibrahimovic. And why not? He has played for almost every top club in the world and is one of the most feared and revered strikers there ever has been.

#2 Neymar

Neymar is 5th in the list of Brazil’s all-time top goalscorers

This might be labelled as a controversial choice, but looking at Brazil’s recent performances without him, this isn’t an entirely ridiculous claim.

At first, the drubbing at the hands of the German comes to the mind. As Neymar was injured for the semifinal clash against Germany, Brazil’s attack looked completely toothless – despite having some terrific players – and they could only score one in reply to the Germans’ 7.

There are other names like Oscar, Willian, Douglas Costa and so on, but none of them have the influence of the Barcelona man and the stats clearly reflect that. In 67 games for the Samba country, he has scored an astonishing 46 goals. He almost guarantees a goal, at least, every game and it is for this reason that Brazil could be labelled as a one-man attack team.

#3 Arjen Robben

Netherlands haven’t been enduring the best of times and are highly unlikely to qualify for Euro 2016

Some years ago, there couldn’t have been a more atrocious choice than this one. However, time afflicts and the Dutch football team are no exception in this case. The legs of stars like Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder are getting older. Hence, their shine is fading with it.

As of now, the only attacking player, who is a regular starter for the Oranje, that is of the most devastating nature is Arjen Robben. The former Real Madrid star provides the most direct and potent attacking threat in the Dutch attack and it was this ruthlessness that gave Louis van Gaal’s not-so-strong Netherland team a 3rd place finish in the 2014 World Cup.

Despite having a career plagued with injuries, he has represented Netherlands 87 times and has scored 28 goals – a good return considering that he plays exclusively on the right wing. 

#4 Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo has scored 55 goals overall for Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo’s only dearth in his entire career would be the number of trophies he has won with his nation which is a sad total of zero. The Real Madrid star, however, remains his country’s best and, perhaps, one of the greatest players ever and Portugal are as one-man team as it gets.

The former United winger is a goal machine and the entire nation looks to him for goals and he rarely disappoints. Playing a superb number of 122 games for his country, he has scored a respectable 55 goals - something that can be considered as great given that he played as an out-and-out winger for a large part of his initial career.

Truly, the star name when Portugal are considered is the one and only Cristiano Ronaldo and it is for this reason that he gets highly criticised whenever the team fails to make an impact.

#5 Gareth Bale

Bale has been in incredible form for Wales in the European qualifiers

Quite possibly, the best player in international football for the last year or so, Wales are the most one-man attack team in the whole world and Gareth Bale’s stats, and Wales’ rise reflect just that.

Once upon a time, very few thought that the Welsh nation could make it to major FIFA tournament. Now, they find themselves leading the group B of the European Championship Qualifying with a point more than nearest rivals Belgium. Just 2 more games remain to seal their place in the tournament and they are most likely to do so.

And the man behind it all is Gareth Bale. While the others have performed fantastically, it’s Bale on whose shoulders the goalscoring responsibility lies. He has had a direct hand in an unbelievable 89% of the goals scored by Wales in the Qualifying, and it’s his instincts in the final third that has helped Wales topple England and enter top 10 in the latest FIFA rankings.

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Writing was just a hobby I picked to escape from the stress of A-levels. And now, it is exactly what pays my bills every month. Write for multiple platforms with interest in both football and cricket. Have a tendency to be on the dark side.
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