Do International Footballers Get Paid For Playing For Their Country Europe’s Playmaker Princes

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Europe’s Playmaker Princes

Cristiano Ronaldo – Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo equaled the Premier League record of 31 goals in a 38-match season in 2008 and scored a total of 42 goals in all competitions for Manchester United.

Ronaldo is currently the biggest name in world football and has scored 8 goals in qualifying. Although he is not your typical playmaker, Ronaldo provides the heartbeat of the team he plays for. His runs down either flank terrorize defences, and he is lethal on both feet and in the air.

Ronaldo’s wicked, diving free kicks are legendary, while his mere presence creates extra space and time for his teammates.

As of 6 June 2008, Ronaldo has scored 20 goals in 52 games for Portugal and is a leading contender for the Golden Boot at Euro 2008.

He is one of only two players to have been named in the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Premier League Team of the Year in the last 3 seasons and is the first player to win all 3 PFA awards in the same season.

Andrea Pirlo – Italy

Pirlo is one of the most gifted passers in world football and forms a strong defensive midfield partnership for AC Milan and Italy alongside Gennaro Gattuso. The brain of Gattuso’s Brown, Pirlo thrives in a deep-lying playmaking role.

His deadball is lethal – his corner in the 2006 World Cup final led to Marco Materazzi’s equalizing header against France.

Pirlo is a man for the big occasion. He was named man of the match in 3 of Italy’s 7 World Cup appearances in 2006, including the semi-finals and finals, more than any other player, and was voted the third best player of the tournament behind Zinedine Zidane and Fabio Cannavaro.

In 2007, Pirlo was nominated for the FIFA World Player of the Year award and the last of his 6 international goals came in a qualifier against Georgia last year.

Pirlo previously led Italy Under-21s to the 2000 European Championship title, finishing as the tournament’s top scorer with 3 goals.

Francesc Fabregas – Spain

In 2008, Fabregas was nominated for both the PFA Player and Young Player of the Year awards for the second consecutive season, winning the latter.

Still only 21, Fabregas has long been earmarked for international greatness. At the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Finland, Fabregas finished as the top scorer and was named player of the tournament as Spain finished runners-up to Brazil.

In 2006, at the age of 19, he became the youngest Spaniard to play in the World Cup and was nominated for Young Player of the Tournament.

Fabregas, who is showing a maturity that belies his young age, is a silky playmaker whose incredible passing range is characterized by finesse and creativity, while also being a dangerous deadball specialist.

Michael Ballack – Germany

Ballack made his debut for the German national team in 1999. In the 2002 FIFA World Cup he scored 2 goals in the knockout stages but was suspended for the final as Germany lost to Brazil.

Known for his strength, accurate passing, lethal shots and aerial ability, Ballack is a formidable opponent. He has scored 36 goals in 81 international matches, including a goal every 2 matches in competitive international matches (20 in 40 matches).

The midfield general was named national captain after Euro 2004 and was named man of the match against both Ecuador and Argentina at the 2006 World Cup and was named in the FIFA World Cup All-Star team as Germany finished third.

Germany were the first team to qualify for Euro 2008 and Ballack’s leadership and goals were instrumental in his country’s easy passage to the tournament.

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