Great players without individual awards

Discussion in 'The Beautiful Game' started by Tom Stevens, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. Tom Stevens

    Tom Stevens Member

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    There are a number of great player, guys in the top 100 all time of there position, who have never received any major individual honors, or even got any votes for individual honors. I would like to discuss these players top seasons, because if you did not see them it can be very hard to determine, and also discuss why they never got any individual honors.

    A number of the truly great fullbacks of all time have never received any individual honors. I know fullback is a difficult place to earn honors at, but great players like Maldini and Roberto Calos have placed as high in individual honors (many teams of the year, defender of the year, top 3 in major player of the year awards).

    Javier Zanetti: Never earned an individual honor of any type despite being thought of as an all time great fullback (comme has him as the #11 right back of all time). No teams of the year, not even UEFAs which is a popularity contest. During his career, players he was thought of as superior to (Angloma, Neville, Ferreira) were winning ESM team of the year awards. Why do you think this happened? Also what were his best seasons? Early in his career, 96-00, he had a better goalscoring record and was more aggressive offensively, but i have heard it said that he was weaker defensively at that point than he was later in his career and the inter teams from his early career were not very good (other than 97/98). Was he at his best sometime in the middle of his career, 02-04, or was he a late bloomer and became really great as more of a utility player, 06-10, where he was playing a ton of games and captaining very successful teams. 06-07 is a particularly interesting year to me as it was the first year he moved to the midfield, as Maicon arrived and Cambiasso got hurt, he then led a record setting champion in appearances that was missing its top midfielder. I thought he was great in the treble year, making timely runs, moving to left back and doing a great job on Messi, playing in the midfield etc.

    Cafu: He made a couple of UEFA team of the years in his Milan days, but I don't think those were his best years, he was just playing for a high profile team and had become a popular player at the time (the two major criteria for UEFA team of the year). The more credible team of the year award, the ESM, he never won, and like Zanetti was continually beat out by the same 'lesser' players. He is generally ranked as a top 5 or 10 fullback of all time (comme has him #2 right back) and was a very aggressive attacking player, so why has he never earned any individual accolades, much less the mountain of accolades that his counterpart Roberto Carlos received, despite the fact they are both attacking players and that many rate Cafu slightly better? What were his best seasons?

    Zambrotta: Another great fullback whose only awards were a couple of 2006 teams of the year earned because he was part of the world cup winning teams. What were his best club seasons? Were they early in his Juventus career when he was a he was more of a midfielder/wing back, or later in his juve/barca career near his world cup winning campaign? I have heard 02/03 thrown around as his top season, but that may have been because of the teams great success during that season.

    Ryan Giggs: The ultimate example of a all time great at his position (#4 left winger by comme) never getting a whiff of a major trophy. Winger, unlike fullback, is a glory position. Great wingers are often magnets for individual awards (Figo, Beckham), and Giggs had a captivating electrifying style. Read some of the quotes his great contemporaries and rivals made about him (Del Piero, Zidane), they cried watching him play, he was the player sent by God etc. After a few young player of the year awards he never received any other accolades. He never really dominated after that like people had thought he would, he was just consistently very good with flashes of total greatness, but he never seemed to put together a truly great season. It seemed that in his early days, with the team built around Cantona, Giggs thrived as the clear secondary playmaker, making runs off Cantona's hold up play and whipping crosses into the large physical target he provided. With the treble team there was so much competition for the playmaking roles, he was great in spots but could disappear from games, with Keane bossing the ball in the midfield, Beckhamn making plays on the right, or Scholes through the center. Was he the best during the treble years but just played within a system where he got less opportunities, or was he at his best in his younger days when he arguably influenced games more, like 93-94 when he had his most productive season playing with Cantona a year removed from his young player of the year awards (17 goals).

    Paul Scholes: Another all time great from the Man U treble team that missed out on the individual awards. With some of the hyperbole from players and pundits floating around about this player it should be shocking he has never even gotten votes for the Balon D'or. He had the same situation as Giggs, competing for playmaking roles with two all time great wingers with a midfield partner determined to dominate the midfield with the force of his will. You got a feeling that if a team was built around his playmaking skills he could have received those individual accolades. His most productive year was when he scored 20 goals he was moved directly behind a dominant striker (Ruud) instead of playing a flat 4 man midfield next to Keane, although to me scoring between 10-12 goals a year in a flat 4 man midfield is just as impressive. In my opinion his best year was 06/07, despite only scoring 7 goals he was moved deeper and bossed the midfield was his movement and short passing the Keane used to, to go along with the great long passing, killer ball, and long distance shooting he always had. What do you think were his best seasons? Do you think Scholes, Giggs, and to a degree Keane all suffered from Beckham being the most popular player on the team and when pundits felt the need to give a Man U player individual awards because the teams success Beckham was the obvious target?
    RoyOfTheRovers and comme repped this.


  2. schwuppe

    schwuppe Member

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    In which year did he deserve to be among the best five players in your opinion?
  3. Tom Stevens

    Tom Stevens Member

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    Probably none, I was making a point that the way the media and other players talk about him indicates he is among the worlds top 5 players.

    http://therepublikofmancunia.com/quotes-about-paul-scholes/

    I think he was top 5 at his position a number of years, but probably top ten at the best overall.
  4. schwuppe

    schwuppe Member

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    You're right, I misunderstood your comment.

    To look at ESM team of the month selections for side back is a bit flawed, there were often just 3 defenders selected and no right back.

    Cafu's highest rated years were in 99/00 & 00/01, lost both times (1/2 - 3/4) against Angloma whose team made it to the CL final. (Roma played UC both seasons).
    Zanetti lost against Thuram someone who is rated even higher and made the CL final in 02/03 (2/3).

    That would be my explanation...

    Zanetti is certainly a player who has his high status due to his longevity and I never understood the love for Cafu. Not during his active career and even less after looking at evidence.


  5. comme

    comme Moderator Staff Member

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    Good thread.

    Zanetti was 5 times rated as the best in his position, 95-6, 2001-2, 2002-3, 2006-7 and 2009-10 per dbscalcio.

    Cafu was twice rated as the best right-back in Italy in 2000-1 and 2003-4.

    Zambrotta was rated as the best in 2004-5.

    Giggs won the player of the year award in 2009 though in all truth that was purely sentimental.
  6. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Agree. Which evidence do you mean? What kind of evidence do speak in favor of Zanetti?

    Cafu had more than 10 assists in Roma their title winning season. Also in UCL a good ratio. He looked spectacular and Roma is a beloved team among journalists.
  7. Tom Stevens

    Tom Stevens Member

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    Ah yes I forgot about Giggs player of the year. Off the top of your head which of these guys are going to have some *** seasons when you get to rating there best years?
  8. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Yes, and because of his offensive performance against Real Madrid in that year.
  9. Tom Stevens

    Tom Stevens Member

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    Agree. Which evidence do you mean? What kind of evidence do speak in favor of Zanetti?

    Cafu had more than 10 assists in Roma their title winning season. Also in UCL a good ratio. He looked spectacular and Roma is a beloved team among journalists.[/quote]

    Where do you find assist numbers numbers from 2000?
  10. schwuppe

    schwuppe Member

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    Acutally he's also 1st in 99/00, but somehow listed as a defensive midfielder. Cafu has a higher rating than Thuram who is listed as first among RBs. (6.35 v. 6.30)
  11. Tom Stevens

    Tom Stevens Member

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    I have read that he played very well in the second leg of that tie. And that was the match of the year, with everyone seeing Madrid as possibly the greatest team ever.
  12. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Yes agree. Can you link the match report?

    I think Zanetti suffered in beginning from the atmosphere at the club. Club made frequently big signings and never made a stable impression. Moratti wanted to have major stars and that is where the attention directed to.
    Exception was first season at club, before the spending era and when Roberto Carlos played as winger for the club.
  13. Tom Stevens

    Tom Stevens Member

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    There were some other things I read that I can't find but this link has some input on Zambrotta's 02/03 season and the CL semi final vs Real.

    http://www.juvesez.narod.ru/SeasonsE/season03e.htm
  14. schwuppe

    schwuppe Member

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    We already mentioned the ESM Team of the Month, Balon D'or votes etc.
    Cafu has one SA Footballer of the Year 1st place and one 3rd place. Bola de Prata in '92 & '93 in Brazilian League. I guess being a WC winning captain and most capped player for the most successful nation (is that important when comparing to Zanetti who is the most capped Argie?) also looks good on ones CV.

    Now their Serie A ratings. Same timeframe, same league, same position.

    Cafu (25.6 games on average in Serie A career)
    6,57
    6,36
    6,28
    6,21
    6,16
    6,10
    6,02
    6,00


    Zanetti (31.6 games on average excluding the current season in Serie A career)
    6,53
    6,35
    6,32
    6,30
    6,27
    6,24
    6,22
    6,21
    6,16
    6,14
    6,07
    6,04
    6,04
    6,02
    5,94
    5,9
    5,90

    That's a pretty huge gap in quantity imo. Are Cafu's early years in SA & NT success enough to close it?
    In '98 he was the 4th/5th highest rated on his team and 2nd RB behind Thuram.
    In '02 9th on his own team. Did he deliver his part? Sure, that's a better World Cup resume than Zanetti has.

    Puck:
    Their goals/assists Serie A

    Cafu
    99/00 2-3
    00/01 1-10
    01/02 0-3 CL 2-1
    02/03 0-2 CL 0-1
    03/04 1-4
    04/05 0-2 CL 0-3
    05/06 1-1 CL 0-0
    06/07 0-3 CL 0-1


    Zanetti
    99/00 1-2
    00/01 0-0
    01/02 0-1
    02/03 1-6 CL 1-0
    03/04 0-2
    04/05 0-1 CL 0-1
    05/06 0-1 CL 0-0
    06/07 1-1 CL 0-0
    07/08 1-1 CL 0-0
    08/09 0-0 CL 0-0
    09/10 0-1 CL 0-0
    10/11 0-2 CL 1-0
    11/12 0-3 CL 0-1

    Here are Thuram's ratings:
    6,71
    6,38
    6,30
    6,27
    6,25
    6,25
    6,24
    6,23
    6,15
    5,87
    msioux75 and Tom Stevens repped this.
  15. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    OK, a pity you can't find it.

    To answer question about Cafu, I read that number (more than 10 assists; around 10-12 assists) on three sources. First one was a website that had all serie a assists since 2000/2001 season. Second one was soccer-europe website. Third one was Gazzetta website.
  16. comme

    comme Moderator Staff Member

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    All of them I would imagine. Scholes will be a difficult one to place I think. 2002-3 would potentially be his best year.
  17. Tom Stevens

    Tom Stevens Member

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    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2003/may/14/minutebyminute.sport

    Here is one.
  18. Tom Stevens

    Tom Stevens Member

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    Which seasons do those rating correspond to?
  19. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    schwuppe

    You know where those assists are listed?

    Will reply about Zanetti and Cafu tomorrow.
  20. schwuppe

    schwuppe Member

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    Cafu 97/98 - 06/07 (not 98/99 and 05/06 due to missing too much games & Zanetti 95/96 - 11/12
    The site you've mentioned. soccer-europe.com

    Funny though how I've seen tons of Brazilians claiming how Jorginho was way better than Cafu.
    Always bought up how Brazil needs him instead of Maicon/DAlves too, yet he was never rated by Placar, has one IC season and one WC season as a 'side midfielder' in Germany?
  21. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Will say how I see/remember it. Depends on how you rate WC and don't like the term anyway.

    Most borderline ones for me are Zambrotta, Scholes.

    Cafu and Zanetti had certainly some world class seasons by all accounts.

    Giggs depends on how you see it. Was for quite a while the best left winger in the world but true wingers were rare (at that time) and certainly lefties. But like you say, I think he was rarely among the most influential players of his team. In the treble winning season Beckham, Yorke, Cole, Keane were just as important (also statistically, Giggs was statistically more dominant though in seasons when United had not notable European success). PFA team of that year had five ManU players included but no Giggs (though I think that was a grave mistake).
    Giggs had a nasty injury after those amazing young years you mention. That had some effect and that makes his further accolades very impressive.
  22. Tom Stevens

    Tom Stevens Member

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    One thing I would love to know about Giggs were his assist numbers, actually Beckham's as well, as that was their main function on those Man U teams.
  23. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Look for the EPL20 book by Aaron Nielsen. You can google it. In 1998-1999 he had 3, one of his lowest totals. In 95-96 he had 16, his highest.

    In terms of assists per 90 minutes he ranks among best, alongside Bergkamp and other usual suspects but, as counterargument, ManUnited was consistently ridiculously dominant in their league.
    Tom Stevens repped this.
  24. Tom Stevens

    Tom Stevens Member

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    Great book, thanks.
  25. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    Good remarks ...

    But I don't see much of a controvery or dramma in their case!

    For DF:
    Both Cafu and Zanetti were great fullbacks and very skillful players. They were very close to R.carlos and Maldini, Thuram ... in quality. However, NONE of them got a serious awards, but only Carlos and Maldini were close (TOP2,3 ) in their best years.

    - Cafu was abit underated for he played in Roma (not like Carlos for Real or Maldini for Milan and their teams DID win big trophies). He then was recognized in WC2002 best XI (just like Thuram, Carlos or Maldini in their WC years).
    - Zanetti played for a "bad" term Inter, and he only won with them in his older years )past his best) so ... maybe it's a bit unfair for a player to play for a so-so team and it's LIFE. He did however won the FAN team of the year 2009 though. His international record were also suffered with Argentina team

    For MF:
    Both Scholes and Giggs have the longevity and consistency in their service. However in their best form, they were just a very good level (worldclass once or twice) but not like excellent in the mould of Ronaldinho, Figo, Rivaldo or Zidane (same era) who won WPOY.

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