At present, the days of pumping the long ball forward in order to reach the big man up front seem to be on the wane. This is largely in part down to the recent emergence of teams such as Barcelona who introduced their effective tiki-taka system. Involving a number of different players who are on the shorter side, players such as Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi have flourished. Intricate passing goes hand in hand with detailed triangles to perplex the opposition. Who ever thought that size does really matter? It just goes to show that shorter players have the ability to bamboozle not to mention unlock the tightest of defences.
Over the last six years, Barcelona has shown to the footballing world that a team does not necessarily need athletic Amazonian type individuals. In recent years, they have won the UEFA Champions League on two separate occasions. The first of these took place in Rome back in 2009 when they faced Manchester United. Thanks to goals from Samuel Eto’o and Argentinian maestro Lionel Messi, the Catalan club demonstrated their exquisite talent.
They followed this victory up with one of the most one sided finals in recent memory. In 2011, the stage was set once again at Wembley Stadium for Barcelona as they came up against the Red Devils. A 3-1 victory was the tip of the soccer iceberg as the Spanish side swept away the 13 time Premier League winner. Thanks to their wealth of diminutive players in the side, even Sir Alex Ferguson gave credit where it was due to Guardiola’s all-star eleven.
As the game continues to evolve across the globe, the long and short of it is that good things certainly come in small packages. Here is the rundown of the 10 shortest footballers in the game today.
10 10. Marcin Garuch
9 9. Maximiliano Moralez
8 8. Daniel Villalva Barrios
7 7. Levi Porter
6 6. Madson Formagini
5 5. Joe Allen
At a little over 5-foot-5, Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen is one of the taller players on the list. The small but perfectly formed Welshman made his name whilst playing in the white of Swansea City. He managed to play a series of game under the tutelage of Brendan Rogers whilst at the Liberty Stadium. Nonetheless, a spate of injuries ensured Allen was unable to participate in as many games as he would have liked to. Allen then move on to Liverpool in the summer of August for a fee believed to be in the region of $25 million.
4 4. Alexis Sanchez
Chilean international and Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez is one of the hottest talents on the footballing field. His ability to conjure something out of nothing as well as his dogged determination has already made him a fan favourite at the Emirates. The ex-Barcelona man came to the fore when he joined the Catalan club from Serie A team Udinese. His impressive displays thrust him into La Liga and were soon catching the eye of many across Spain. Furthermore, his impressive performances at the FIFA 2014 World Cup received plenty of plaudits and was soon attracting plenty of bids.
3 3. Santi Cazorla
2 2. Nathan Dyer
Another impressive package coming in at a mere 5-foot-4 is Swansea City’s very own Nathan Dyer. With a host of assists to his name already this season, the impressive midfielder has been racking up the fantasy football league points. Nonetheless his small figure has not stopped him from chipping in with several goals already in the current campaign. His pace along with his delicate touch on the ball ensures defences have been kept on their toes.
1 1. Benedict Vilakazi
This is most definitely an unexpected tale but South African footballer Benedict Vilakazi definitely comes up short. At barely five feet and two inches, he is one of the tiniest players on the planet. He currently plays in Africa for the aptly named Botswana Meat Commission side but what he lacks in height he makes up for in effort. He does have a physical presence and to his teammates, he goes by the name of “Little Napoleon”.
His leadership skills are second to none, whilst next to some of the tallest players in the League he would pale into insignificance. This includes Southampton’s Fraser Forster who stands at well over 6-foot-4. Some of his most notable clubs feature the Orlando Pirates and Aalborg. Vilakazi has also appeared for the South African national team on more than 30 occasions and scored two goals.
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