Friday, 23 December 2011

Ex-Pat of the Week #5

Domestic cups and the final round of games before the winter break (for all bar one notable exception) took the headlines this week, and a certain jamboree in Japan also falls within the remit for this edition of ex-pat of the week. The nominations:

Bruno Cazarine. Erstwhile CONMEBalls favourite Cazarine is in Australia at the moment, plying his trade with Sydney FC. They had their big derby with Newcastle Jets at the weekend and won to go third, Cazarine bagging the equaliser after the Jets had gone one up.

Crístian Rodríguez. The Uruguayan fell out with Vitor Pereira a couple of weeks ago, seemingly ending his Porto career, but he's back in the fold now and came off the bench at the weekend to nab a late goal to send Porto towards their third win on the spin.

Jonas. Last seasons top scorer in the Brasilieirao, he's now providing the perfect foil for the prolific Roberto Soldado at Valencia. The two combined for Soldado to get Valencia's first against big-spending Málaga to consolidate 'best-of-the-rest' (i.e. third place) in Spain.

Ricky Alvarez. By his own admission, it's taken him time to settle at Internazionale, but he's finally looking the part as Inter overcome their early-season woes. He capped his recent run of form with the fourth as Inter beat Lecce 4-1 to go 5th in Serie A.

Edinson Cavani. Napoli are still up there despite a little wobble these last few weeks. They bounced back from a dispiriting loss to Roma by walloping Genoa 6-1 with Cavani bagging two early on as the wounded Neapolitans responded brilliantly.

Lionel Messi. At his sublime best as Barcelona won yet another trophy, this time the Club World Cup in Yokohama. The chip for the first goal, the pass for the third... all brilliant, all the time.

Esteban Alvarado. OK, so he's not technically South American, but AZ's Costa Rican goalkeeper deserves recognition on these pages for lumping seven bells out of a pitch invader, as highlighted by our cousins at Euroballs. Unfortunately, the incident led to Esteban's dismissal, the abandonment of the game and a massive mess for the KNVB to sort out. While we're here on Costa Rica, wasn't Bryan Ruiz's goal last weekend fabulous? Let me answer that for you: yes it was.

And the winner is...

Lionel Messi. We couldn't not award him the gong this week - he was just too good to ignore. So were his team as they blasted Santos apart with something to spare.

We take a break now as most of football shuts down for the winter. We'll be back in January, but in the meantime, keep them peeled and let us know if you see anything worthy of nomination by hitting us up on our Twitter feed.

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