All work and no play can make you lose your mind, but you won’t become a great footballer if you don’t want to put in the necessary hours to succeed. Upon hearing Roy Keane’s comments on Eden Hazard, and also considering our last post about Mauricio Pochettino’s hard-working Spurs team, we thought it was time to take a look at the most diligent footballers in today’s game.
11. Harry Kane
The meteoric rise of Harry Kane has been an extremely fascinating one to watch, and not just for Tottenham fans. Kane’s attitude has enabled him to become one of England’s most prolific scorers, and even though he had been criticised for a lack of goals at the start of the season, he quickly managed to turn things around by keeping his head down and working hard. There seems to be nothing he can’t learn to do, with his passing rates and assist numbers going up over time, as well as the quantity of shots on target he produces for his team.
10. Toni Kroos
Playmakers and attacking midfielders aren’t exactly known for their willingness to break a sweat during games or training sessions, but Toni Kroos is not a stereotypical player at all. The former Bayern man has continuously managed to put in staggering numbers when it comes to covering distance on the pitch, backtracking and providing support for his teammates. His efforts made Germany a dominant force during the 2014 World Cup and are a much needed element in Real Madrid’s star-studded side.
You can’t be a player under Diego Simeone and not try your hardest, and Koke is perhaps one of the best examples of that. The Spanish midfielder is a tireless runner, but also a very capable footballer whose name is becoming more and more known despite a huge number of stars who play in his position in Spain. If Simeone ever moves to another club, you can expect the Argentine to bring Koke with him, as the two share a level of dedication which is hard to find anywhere else in the world of football.
8. David Alaba
Arguably among the very elite players in the world, Alaba has built his reputation through being able to perform both offensive and defensive duties equally skillfully. His physical condition has no small part in this, his free kicks are stunning to watch and his dedication to training has enabled him to come back from nasty injuries in the past. If he keeps up his amazing performances and this level of commitment, he might just become the most famous left back since Roberto Carlos.
7. Philip Lahm
Yet another Bayern player enters our list at number seven, and it’s none other than Philip Lahm. The German’s versatility makes him an indispensable asset to any club, even though his humble attitude had sometimes caused him to be overlooked and underestimated by football fans without an eye for detail. Often teased due to his short stature, Lahm has offered nothing less than pure determination and dedication to both Bayern and Germany.
6. Alexis Sanchez
Arsenal’s star Alexis Sanchez has had to work very hard to make it in life, and we’ve even heard stories of him training in his younger days without shoes in the street. The Chilean respects the fact that he’s been given a great opportunity to shine for his country and clubs, and he is very vocal about keeping his head down and performing to the best of his abilities. He once even requested that the national training ground be opened for him on a day off, as he wanted to train alone. Talk about work ethic.
5. Luis Suarez
You can’t hide the fact that Luis Suarez is one of the most unpredictable, controversial figures in football today. His habit of biting opponents, a tendency to dive from time to time and poor discipline have made him at times a hated figure among opposing fans. Barcelona fans, on the other hand, have the privilege of watching him conjure up tricks no one has ever witnessed in another player. A perfectionist by nature, Suarez likes to practice unorthodox moves like deliberately kicking the ball into an opponent’s hand or threading it through the most unlikely of places. He gets these moves right most of the time.
4. Vincent Kompany
A symbol of Manchester City’s identity in recent years, Belgian defender Vincent Kompany always displays a never-say-die attitude and spurs his teammates on as much as he can. Joining City from Anderlecht and adapting to a much more challenging league must have been difficult, but Kompany’s work ethic has enabled him to become a relentless leader on the pitch and captain of both club and country.
3. Robert Lewandowski
The Pole has been on fire throughout this season and has even caused Alvaro Morata to describe how good his six-pack is. While this is a little strange, it demonstrates just how much respect Lewa is shown for his goal-scoring prowess and training habits. He is a quiet guy who loves playing football and, incidentally, is a complete goal-scoring machine. A manager’s dream, if you will.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo
Siii! The only reason Cristiano Ronaldo, who has become renowned for his intense dedication to training, isn’t our number one pick is his motivation – even though team success is important to him, Ronaldo thrives on personal achievements and milestones. Who has scored the most goals, home and away? Who has the most devastating free-kick technique? Who is the best-looking player at Madrid? These questions might not interest you, but they sure are the most important thing in the world to Cristiano. Each to their own, as the saying goes.
1. James Milner
An obvious choice at number one, James Milner has even been labeled boring due to his unrelenting will to remain as diligent and disciplined as humanly possible. Whether during training sessions or on the pitch, there is no doubt who you can expect the most effort from. Milner has cashed in on his life’s work by signing a lucrative contract with Liverpool after playing for Man City for a number of years. This doesn’t mean he’ll stop trying, you know.
Who do you consider to be the most hard-working footballer? Tell us in the Top Eleven comment section or on our Facebook page!