Cafu's achievements speak for themselves: a FIFA World Cup winner twice with Brazil, a runner-up once, he is the only player to have appeared in three World Cup finals. Cafu's remarkable run began in 1994 when he lifted the famous trophy in the United States as Brazil defeated Italy on penalties in the final. He then captained the victorious 2002 team following the withdrawal through injury of AS Roma team-mate Émerson da Rosa as the Brazilians made amends for their 1998 defeat by France. However, Roma fans do not need telling how good he is: since joining the Giallorossi in 1997, he has become a firm favourite and is regarded as one of the most exciting right-backs in the game, perhaps ever. This he underlined when he was nominated as Defender of the Year in the 2002 Champions League awards. After starting out with hometown club São Paulo FC, Cafu spent a season with Real Zaragoza but returned to Brazil to join SE Palmeiras in 1995. Two years later he took his pace, energy and reliable defensive abilities to Rome, where he claimed the Italian title in 2001.
With all these achivments one could argue that Cafu should come further up the list. However it was already clear during the WC that the left flank was the dangerous corridor for the Brazilans and not Cafu's right. In Roma Cafu has been showing uneven form this Season, however his endless running and pinpoint crossing still provides him with a top10 position.
Info:"Not just the quickest defender in South America, he's the quickest defender in the world." Thus said Oscar Ruggeri, Iván Córdoba's coach at the Argentinian side San Lorenzo de Almagro. Córdoba's performances for the club helped secure his €16m transfer to Internazionale FC in January 2000 - a move which made up for the disappointment of his omission from the Colombia squad for the 1998 FIFA World Cup finals. At Inter, Córdoba has gone on to become one of Serie A's most consistent, and toughest, practitioners of the defensive arts. And with his pace, he is not slow at coming forward either, although he had to wait until his third season with the club to score his first goal for them. Overall, the 2001/02 season brought only frustration, however, as Inter lost out on the league title on the last day, as well as in the UEFA Cup semi-finals. Once a target of Real Madrid CF, Córdoba started out with his hometown club, Atlético Nacional de Medellín, where he spent two seasons in the mid-1990s.
after being left out of the Colombia squad for 98. He made up with this by taking his side to victory in the Controversial Copa America of 2001. Being the captain and having scored some crucial goals. Prooved his qualties as one of the greates, however his fierce south America defending can sometimes result in strong but careless tackles. Alotugh he loves to come forward he still lacks a lot when it comes to crossing and dribbling...
Having been on of the most promosing full backs ever Sorin went as young player to Juventus. However in Juventus he failed to settle and was shipped back to SOut America. This time to Brazilian side Cruzerio. At Cruzerio he became their best overall player and one of the few loved Argentians in Brazil. His lightining pace, good technique, and wonderfull crossing often tend to make up for some of the defensive mistakes he tends to make. A Starter for Argentina and one of the few good things to come to LAzio this season....
Is More known under the name Juanfran
Having been on of the keys to Celta Vigo's ever growing success. Juanfran is a cossitant full back who is good at evrything but spectaluar at nothing.
Having been impressive as an 18 year old for Secondo Divisoin side LEvante JuanFran was courted by Both Celta Vigo and Valencia. After much fuss the latter one the bidding campaign. under Valencia coach Moreno Juanfran was a promising regular in the Valencia squad. However with the arrival of Italian Ranieri his chances started getting smaller since Ranieri brought with him Amedeo Carboni.
Celta Vigo took their oppertunity to buy the unsettled player who at Celta Vigo regained confidence, continued developing into one of the best full backs.....
Coco made a surprise move to FC Barcelona in August 2001 when Milan AC suddenly decided he was surplus to requirements. In doing so he became the first Italian player to join the Catalan giants. The left-sided defender has impressed with the Italian national team and it is expected that a long career lies ahead of him with the Azzurri. In 1994 Coco made his mark with Milan as the replacement for the injured Paolo Maldini but, as well as he performed, it was the impossible task to displace the Italian captain once he had regained his fitness and so Coco went on loan to Vicenza Calcio and Torino Calcio. He had bad luck at both clubs with injuries but Barcelona were impressed by the way he cut them apart in their 2000/01 UEFA Champions League home defeat by Milan and Coco finally turned out to be an important figure during Barcelona's 2001/02 campaign. His good performances at Camp Nou, that included a run to the Champions League semi-finals, earned him a place in Giovanni Trapattoni's 2002 FIFA World Cup squad.
Coco was once the posterchild of the Milan youth program. However joining the senior squad at a turbulent time he failed to settle. Moving on to smaller sides he was again was impressive brought back to Milan only to be soon told he is surplus ansd loaned out to Barcelona. Where he at times was impressive and at other times not. Moving now to INter we are yet to see if the full back is to find a club where he will settle. Being Trapatoni's preferred choice for the full back however always reassuring when his club carrear isn't working out.
With Argentinian Diego Placente usually employed alongside Brazilian FIFA World Cup-winner Lucio, the Bayer 04 Leverkusen defence has something of an exotic feel to it. While the South American duo share the same passion for attacking forays, there is no doubting their credentials as man-markers and tacklers when duty calls. Born in 1977, the long-haired Placente was an impressive performer as Argentina won the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship. Indeed, he looked set for a fruitful career with CA River Plate in his homeland before a financial crisis at the Buenos Aires club prompted them to cash in on one of their most saleable assets. Klaus Toppmöller enticed the left-sided defender to Leverkusen and the club's investment paid dividends in 2001/02 as Placente garnered a reputation as one of the 1. Bundesliga's finest defenders. He featured in all but one of Leverkusen's UEFA Champions League matches and was also part of the Argentina squad in Korea/Japan, playing two games as Marcelo Bielsa's fancied side were eliminated by European sides Sweden and England.
Attacking right-back who was signed from RC Celta de Vigo from under the noses of FC Barcelona. The move to the Santiago Bernabéu has certainly been worth the while for Míchel Salgado. Not only did he secure UEFA Champions League winners medals against Valencia CF in 2000 and Bayer 04 Leverkusen two years later, and win the Spanish first division title in 2001, he also gained a wife in the shape of former club president Lorenzo Sanz's daughter. All this for a player once deemed surplus to requirements in Vigo and loaned out to lowly UD Salamanca. Born in Las Nieves in October 1975, the flaxen-haired Salgado has been a regular in the Spanish national side since his debut in the 3-2 defeat by Cyprus in 1998. He made four appearances at EURO 2000™ but despite the label of future national team captain, coach José Antonio Camacho dropped him for the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan.
Born five days before Christmas in 1980, Ashley Cole, a left-sided defender, is regarded as one of England's finest young talents. A permanent fixture in the national team, he underlined his status as the country's premier performer in his role with a series of eye-catching displays at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. A Londoner, Cole has seemingly not been affected by his meteoric rise from the obscurity of Arsenal FC's reserve side to the world stage via the UEFA Champions League. A product of the Highbury youth system, Cole forced his way into the Arsenal side for the first time in autumn 2000, having spent time on loan with Crystal Palace FC earlier in the year, and quickly relegated the skilful Brazilian Silvinho to the sidelines. Cole made his international bow in a World Cup qualifier against Albania in June 2001 - a debut coming on the back of a mere 19 FA Premiership appearances. Blessed with blistering pace, the ability to make forceful overlapping runs and provide telling crosses, any doubts about Cole's defensive abilities were allayed by his superb performances in Korea/Japan, particularly when he shackled Argentina's Ariel Ortega in England's 1-0 victory in Sapporo.
A Personal Favorite Contra has everything. He has been linked to Chivu and in the Euro 2000. Romania was the team with the most promising full backs fielding Chivu on one side and Contra on the other. Elimnation both Germany and England before losing out in the second stage to Italy.
Contra is a complete football players his style of play can be compared to that of Chivu and Coco. His temper and overambtion being his only flaws. He can sometimes try to dribble one dribble too many. Rush forward when its not so appropriate, had his real break thorugh 2001 in the UEFA cup final against Liverpool with his then Side Alaves. Currently at Atletico Madrid after making a gigantic back to my roots swoop with Jaime Moreno, Jose Mari and Chamot.
Willy Sagnol has become a permanent fixture in the German club's defence. The Frenchman was one of the unsung heroes of FC Bayern München's domestic and European success in 2000/01 as he made the right-back berth his own with a collection of strong defensive displays. Renowned at the Olympiastadion for his tackling and commitment, Sagnol has won many fans with his will to win. The defender arrived in Munich in 2000 for €6.3m after leaving French champions AS Monaco FC, where he had already proved himself in the UEFA Champions League. He settled into the Bayern side with relative ease on the flank opposite compatriot Bixente Lizarazu. Having spent his early years at the football academy of AS Saint-Étienne as a midfield player, Sagnol is regarded as one of the best defenders around. He has already won several caps for France and, at the age of 25, was a member of the FIFA World Cup squad that failed to make it past the group stage in 2002. He has hinted that he would eventually like to swap his right-sided position for a place in central defence.
Being First Choice Replacement for Roberto Carlos or Cafu. This Versatile Full back is making a name for himself in Parma. Admired for his great technique and pin point crossing Junior is a leathal weapon when making his runs. Extremley fast and good at accelerating. His flaws are the defending abilities
Midfield player Davide Baiocco signed for Juventus FC in summer 2002, concluding a deal formulated the previous January which saw his then club AC Perugia receive €4.85m and the Turin side's out-of-favour Uruguayan playmaker Fabian O'Neill. An exciting prospect, Baiocco was, for the 2002/03 season, registered to play in the UEFA Champions League for the first time in his career. An unfussy defensive player, Baiocco's career began with Perugia in Serie B, but he only found regular first-team football with a September 1996 switch to Serie C2 club Fano Calcio. The next season saw him at Siena Calcio in Serie C1, before he finally played top-flight football with his move to the Renato Curi stadium, making his Perugia debut against Internazionale FC in October 1998. Following a spell with Viterbese Calcio, Baiocco made his mark at Perugia, where his form over the subsequent two years caught the attention of Juventus, among others.
Lippi however hails plans to reschool this player to a versatile full back as we can see Baioccco has already played in that postion a couple of times and made a good result.......
Following an outstanding 2002 FIFA World Cup, in which this tall young central defender played in all seven of Germany's matches, Christoph Metzelder's reputation rose to new heights. He joined Matthias Sammer's side in 2000 from third division side Preussen Münster and the plan was to gently ease him into the BV Borussia Dortmund first team, but a spate of injuries changed all that. Aged just 19, he took the opportunity to impress in Dortmund's start to the 2000/01 season before succumbing to an injury himself. After 19 league appearances in his debut season, he made his international bow in August 2001 against Hungary and was a regular as the club claimed the 1. Bundesliga title in 2001/02. His reward was not only a two-year contract extension in January 2001, taking him up to 2005, but also a call-up to Rudi Völler's World Cup squad where pre-tournament injuries to the likes of club colleague Christian Wörns and Bayer 04 Leverkusen's Jens Nowotny meant a place in Germany's starting lineup. He shone on the left-hand side of a three-man back line in Korea/Japan and his development meant Dortmund felt less keenly the absence of the retired Jürgen Kohler.