Toronto FC 2011 Top 40 Countdown: Number 32 - Alen Stevanovic

"Ooh, look at me, I left that guy in the dust, just 5 more players to beat and I'll be through on...ah crap, I lost it"

We're really getting into the meat of the Toronto FC Top 40 Countdown now, those players who played enough for us to form an opinion about, and very few players from 2011 will bring out a negative opinion more than my vote for Most Disappointing Player, probably the worst number ten in MLS this year, at number 32, it's Alen Stevanovic.

Average Rank: 29.773
Highest rank: 17
Lowest rank:40

I'm going to break with convention here and start with a voter comment, because I just love the pure unapologetic bitterness of it, and I think it really captures the mood of many TFC fans.

Jeff Guscott: Rated Stevanovic so low (40) because I hate him, plain and simple.

Duncan:  31. Ah, Stevanovic.  By far the biggest disappointment of the 2011 season, and for me, second only to Laurent Robert in the 'oooh he should be good, oh wait no, he's actually shit' ranks of all 100 and something players TFC have had.  

I had so much hope when he first arrived, not just for him, but for the future as well, it seemed like after a disappointingly low key first few months player acquisition wise, here was finally proof that Aron Winter's European connections would help bring some great players in.  Clearly talented, skillful enough to get signed by Inter Milan, by Jose bloody Mourinho no less.  Sure he hadn't really broken into the first team there, or even at Torino, but surely that would mean he'd have a bee in his bonnet, something to prove, a case to make that he's worthy of a first team place when he got back to Italy.  He'd be the skillful playmaker who might 'tear the league a new one' as the saying goes, and who'd be the obvious short term replacement for the recently departed Dwayne de Rosario.  

I remember him having one good game in San Jose, very shortly after he got here, 'looking dangerous every time he got the ball' as I breathlessly reported, which just raised my hopes higher, then it all went pear shaped.  He played a bit at Left Wing, a bit at Attacking Midfield and when the injury situation got a bit desperate, he even played at Centre Forward.  He was universally crap wherever he played, showing skill and dribbling talent for sure, but constantly ignoring teammates and then dribbling into dead ends and losing the ball.  His last significant contribution was when he came on as a second half sub against Chicago, replacing Joao Plata, and helped turn a 2-0 lead into a 'hanging on by the skin of our teeth' 2-2 draw.

I can think of 4 possible explanations.
1) He took a look at his teammates and decided that he was going to have to do it himself (and this was the first half of the season so that's maybe fair enough).
2) He took the idea of proving himself to the folks back in Italy too seriously, and was determined to leave with an awesome personal highlights DVD of himself repeatedly slaloming through defenders and carrying the team to unexpected heights.
3) He's just crap.
4) He just didn't give a shit.

Whatever the problem, it ended on June 18th, almost a full month before all the summer reinforcements arrived, when TFC was still in need of all the players they could get, when he was 'recalled from his loan' by Torino.  Given that even Torino's pre season wouldn't have been starting for another month or so, I think it's clear that 'recalled by Torino' is just a polite euphemism for 'Winter finally gave up on him and told him to bugger off back to Italy if he wasn't going to try and play properly'.

Good riddance.

Keaton: 36. He played for Inter, so instantly all the Serie A eurosnobs cared about TFC for like the 4 games he was here. While Stevanovic showed he packed a lot of skill, he often looked disinterested and a tad lazy. His body language pretty much said "I'm above all this. I could score like 15 goals from half right now if I wanted to. And my cousin from Serbia could beat your cousin up any day."

Dave: 28. All promise and no delivery really. He was a former Inter Milan product and also played for Torino but when he came to the MLS he somehow found a way to have no impact at all. He made 0 in terms of statistical contributions to the team and that seems about right based on the way that he played. He was eventually recalled from his loan by Torino but by that point I doubt all that many fans even noticed he had left.

Blindfolded Tank Driver: A Euro kid with pedigree, played poorly and never seemed to care about making the most out of his time here.

Ignirtoq: His performances left me thinking that Serie A/B is utter crap to think he is signed to one of their sides. In MLS, Stevanovic had the talent of a journeyman defender at best. Returning was the strongest showing he made all season

Canadian Texan: What. A. Bust. For such a high profile pickup I think we all expected more.

The Yorkies: Never met a pass he liked

Red Wine Roz: Always looked like he was about to throw a temper tantrum, aside from when he actually was throwing a tantrum.

JC_Plante: Was excited for a man from Inter. Did not deliver on that promise

Kristin: Thought he was the answer on the left at the start of the year but refusal to pass (ever!) drops him way down.

Peter Meraw. Disappointing, hard to understand how he can play in Italy. He must've really hated it here

I'll end with the closest thing to a positive that anyone said about him.

James: Heart wasn't here, didn't trust his teammates, fun to watch though.

Number 33: Oscar Cordon
Number 31: Gianluca Zavarise

Full top 40 so far

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