Michelle Kaufman: Premier League lacks star power in accolades

Just in case there was any doubt that England’s Premier League lags behind Spain’s La Liga when it comes to star power, the recently-released FIFA Team of the Year and Team of the Year do not contain any players from the EPL.

The FIFA team, voted on by players all over the world, featured all 11 players from La Liga.

The Team of the Year, voted on by 5.3 million fans, was made up of eight La Liga players, midfielder Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), defender Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich) and Thiago Silva (AC Milan/Paris Saint-Germain). It is the first time in 12 years no EPL players made the team.

Barcelona midfielder Andrew Iniesta got the most votes, followed by Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Pirlo.

Here are the full teams. What do you think? Are these, truly, the best players in the world? Are there any Premier League players you would have included? Robin Van Persie, perhaps? David Silva? Vincent Kompany? Share your thoughts at


Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)

Defenders: Dani Alves, (Barcelona), Marcelo (Real Madrid) Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona)

Midfielders: Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Xavi (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid)

Strikers: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid) team

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)

Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Thiago Silva (AC Milan/Paris Saint-Germain), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich)

Midfielders: Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid)

Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

MLS Draft

Meanwhile, closer to home, Major League Soccer held its SuperDraft in Indianapolis last week. Louisville defender Andrew Farrell was the top pick for New England. The 5-11 Farrell lived in Peru from age five to 15, and said that is where he honed his ball skills.

Other top picks were No. 2 Carlos Alvarez of UConn to Chivas USA, No. 3 Kyle Bekker of Boston College to Toronto, No. 4 Kekuta Manneh of Gambia to Vancouver, and No. 5 Erik Hurtado of Santa Clara to Vancouver.

On the Move

Colombian sensation Falcao says he is happy at Atletico Madrid. But word is he is being wooed by Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City and Paris Saint Germain. Whoever gets him would have to pay an $ 80.2 million transfer fee… Kaka is not happy at Real Madrid and has said he’d like to return to AC Milan…Former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has resurfaced after an eight-month hiatus. He accepted a job as the new coach at Bayern Munich, and will begin Summer 2013. Other clubs that were interested included Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and AC Milan.


Tickets are on sale for a Feb. 6 friendly between Colombia and Guatemala at Sun Life Stadium. The full squads of both teams are expected, which means South Florida fans could get a close-up look at Falcao. Ticket prices range from $29 to $97 and are available through Ticketmaster. For more information please contact the Sun Life Stadium at 305-943-8000 or visit

Spital honored

Brandeis University sophomore forward Dara Spital of Miami has been selected as a third-team Division III All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).

Spital led the Brandeis women to a 16-5-2 record. The Judges reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division III tournament, which was the best season in school history. Spital was the team’s leading scorer, with 14 goals and five assists for 33 points. She scored eight game-winning goals. A transfer from Central Florida, Spital is a 2011 graduate of Gulliver Preparatory School.