Latin American soccer players had a great 2017. Among the unforgettable moments of the year we can mention the first qualification of Panama to the World Cup, the return of Peru to this event, as well as the formidable step of Tite’s Brazil. In regional competitions, Gremio de Porto Alegre won the Libertadores Cup again. Meanwhile, Argentina’s Independiente conquered the South American Cup. Crossing the Atlantic, the Latin American athletes style was key for great clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona to add new titles to their showcases. What would be your dream team in 2017? PanamericanWorld proposes one, but as always, we are open to the controversy.
KEYLOR NAVAS (COSTA RICA, REAL MADRID)
The continuous criticism did not make a dent in the Costa Rican goalkeeper, who remained as the leader of the best club of 2017. In the year, the white team won five titles: Spanish League, Spanish Super Cup, the European Champions League, the Super Cup of Europe and the Club World Cup. In his four years at Real Madrid, Navas has conquered nine crowns.
DANI ALVES (BRAZIL, JUVENTUS – PSG)
The Brazilian right-back was included in the eleven The Best, of FIFA. Alves was until June with Juventus of Turin. In his only season in Italy he did very well, because he won Calcio and the Italian Cup. Moreover, he played the final of the Champions League, against Real Madrid. Then he was transferred to Paris Saint-Germain and with that club he already won the French Super Cup. Alves is 34 years old, but he seems to be in one of his best moments and he is a starter in the Brazilian national team, with which he has already played more than 100 games.
DÁVINSON SÁNCHEZ (COLOMBIA, AJAX – TOTTENHAM)
This Colombian central defender had a great season with Ajax Amsterdam, with which he played 45 games (including the final of the European Cup, where his club lost against José Mourinho’s Manchester United) and scored six goals. For his performance, he was recognized with the “Rinus Michels” trophy, as the best player of Ajax in the 2016-17 Eredivisie League. In the summer, Sanchez went to Tottenham Hotspur of the Premier League, for 46 million euros, and with this team he has already shone in the Champions League.
HÉCTOR MORENO (MEXICO, PSV – ROMA)
This Mexican central defender had two good seasons with PSV Eindhoven, with which he won a League and a Super Cup of the Netherlands. His good game caught the attention of Roma who signed him for the 2017-18 season.
MARCELO (BRAZIL, REAL MADRID)
This Brazilian left back was irreplaceable in Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid. He played 30 of the 38 games of the Spanish League, won by the white team and he was a starter in the most important challenges of the Champions League. FIFA chose him in its The Best of the 2016-17 season. In 12 years with the white uniform, Marcelo has won 18 titles, including 3 Champions.
ARTURO VIDAL (CHILE, BAYERN MÚNICH)
The Chilean national team was one of the disappointments of the year, not qualifying for the World Cup in Russia; however, Vidal had another great season with Bayern Munich, since it conquered once more the Bundesliga and the Super Cup of Germany.
NEYMAR (BRAZIL, BARCELONA – PSG)
The Brazilian was the protagonist of the most expensive transfer in the history of soccer. After playing four seasons with Barcelona, where he won everything (10 titles, including three Spanish leagues and one Champions), Neymar decided he wanted to try his luck elsewhere. The PSG agreed to pay the 222 million euros of his termination clause and in August of 2017 he made his debut with the new club. In the year, Ney took part in 63 games (between his two clubs) and scored 35 goals. FIFA also included it in its eleven The Best.
ALEXIS SÁNCHEZ (CHILE, ARSENAL)
The Chilean had one of his best years in the Premier League, where he was regular in all 38 Arsenal games and scored 24 goals; although he could only win one title: the FA Cup (he scored in the final, against Chelsea, at Wembley). In addition, his club was eliminated in the round before the quarterfinals of the Champions League and the Chilean national team collapsed in the qualifying round of Conmebol and was out of the World Cup in Russia.
LIONEL MESSI (ARGENTINA, BARCELONA)
The Argentine player won his fourth Golden Boot, as best scorer of the main European Leagues; however, his excellent individual results were not combined with new titles from Barcelona (which just won the Copa del Rey in the season), so Messi was in second place, behind Cristiano Ronaldo, at The Best Awards, of FIFA and the Golden Ball, of France Soccer. The leader of the Argentine national team appeared when his team needed him most and scored the decisive goals against Ecuador, which gave the ticket for the World Cup in Russia.
RADAMEL FALCAO (COLOMBIA, MÓNACO)
When many thought that the injuries had ended with the successful career of “Tigre”, the Colombian showed an amazing recovery and in the 2016-17 season he scored 21 goals in 29 games with Monaco and, in 2017-18, in 15 games disputed has scored 14 times, therefore, he won a place in our ideal eleven. In addition, Falcao started with the national team that won a ticket to the World Cup in Russia.
PAULO DYBALA (ARGENTINA, JUVENTUS)
The Argentine forward stood out with Juventus of Turin and was included in the Team of the Year 2017 of the Series A. Dybala won for the second consecutive year the title of Calcio and the Italian Cup. He played the final of the Champions League, but Juve was thrashed by Real Madrid, in Cardiff. This player has not yet scored a goal with the national team of his country, but many expect him to play an important role in the 2018 World Cup.