James Lawton: Beware of celebs denying Greek's gift

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The Independent Football

How can it be that David Beckham, Paul Scholes (in maybe his worst season since he became one of the driving forces of both Manchster United and England) and Zinedine Zidane make to it to the list of contenders for European footballer of the year?

How can it be that David Beckham, Paul Scholes (in maybe his worst season since he became one of the driving forces of both Manchster United and England) and Zinedine Zidane make to it to the list of contenders for European footballer of the year?

It can only be the force of celebrity. The favourite, less contentiously, is Ronaldinho, Sir Alex Ferguson's big target the summer before last, who has brilliantly transformed Barcelona. Another worthy runner is Wayne Rooney, a stunning virtuoso in the European Championship. Thierry Henry, for his Premiership brilliance if not his form for disintegrating France, is another legitimate challenger.

However, - in a real world - the winner would already be past the post. The Greek captain Theo Zagorakis led his nation to one of the great football triumphs. And where were Beckham, Scholes and Zidane? Nowhere any great footballer would have wanted to inhabit.

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