Referees Top 10 - 2008
Number 1: Peter Fröjdfeldt
A relative latecomer internationally, Peter Fröjdfeldt was considered number two in Sweden behind Anders Frisk until the latter stopped his career after receiving (death) threats in 2005. Frojdfeldt made a great impression in a relatively short time from 2001 till the end of 2008, when he reached the retirement age of 45.
Number 2: Roberto Rosetti
Roberto Rosetti was widely believed to be one of the world's best referees of his time. He was known as a strict man - the regulations were his bible - but also as a good communicator. He talked a lot to the players and had no problem getting his points across.
Number 3: Frank de Bleeckere
A third generation referee, Belgian Frank de Bleeckere started as a football player, but too often injured he decided to change his career. Belgian's World Cup record holder with 7 matches had to retire at the end of 2011 because of the age limit.
Number 4: Herbert Fandel
In 1979, when he was 14, Herbert Fandel passed his referee examns and started his climb up the ladder, up towards the First Bundesliga in 1996 and a FIFA badge in 1998. He was a UEFA Elite Category referee until he retired internationally in 2009.
Number 5: Jorge Larrionda
This referee, full name Jorge Luis Larrionda Pietrafiesa, was born 9 March 1968. Jorge was a football player himself, as striker he made it into the sixth division. As referee he made his debut in the first division in 1993 and was an international referee since 1998. He was seen by many as the very best referee in South America.
Larrionda retired at the end of 2011.
Number 6: Kyros Vassaras
For many years Greek Kyros Vassaras has been at the top. In spite of his experience and impressive career he missed the 2006 World Cup Finals in Germany because one of his assistants didn't pass the test. Kyros retired April 2009.
Number 7: Claus Bo Larsen
It came as a bit of a shock for everybody in Denmark (and himself), when it turned out Claus Bo Larsen, who did pass the fitness test and was on the long list of 44, was not selected to officiate at the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany. The same happened for Euro 2008, and again for WC 2010. The Danes must be very bad lobbyists. Larsen was a UEFA Elite Category referee until he retired at the end of 2010.
Number 8: Lubos Michel'
Born in the then Republic of Czecho-Slovakia in 1968, Lubos Michel had an impressive career as a referee and he was considered one of the world's best. He was only 25 when he became a FIFA referee.
Number 9: Massimo Busacca
Born in the town of Belinzona in 1969 Massimo Busacca, who used to play football in a lower division in Ticino, started his career as a referee in 1990 and made it to the first division in 1996 . He got his FIFA badge in 1999 and was an Elite Category referee until June 2011 when he decided to retire after having seen it all and having been offered a good job.
Number 10: Jerome Damon
Jerome Damon was born in South Africa in 1972. He was an international referee between 2000 and 2012. He was active in 4 Africa Cups. The first one in Tunisia in 2004, then Egypt (2006), Ghana (2008) and his 4th was Angola 2010 where he got a semi-final.
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Bummer! Just outside our top 10: Olegario Benquerenca
Whatever you say about Olegario Benquerenca, you can't say he is boring. The Portuguese 2010 World Cup quarter-final referee who often ends up on both our best and worst referees list, has a style of his own. Whether it's on TV or on the field, Olegario is always a little campy.