The most complete player of all-time?

Discussion in 'The Beautiful Game' started by y.o.n.k.o, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. y.o.n.k.o

    y.o.n.k.o Member

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    As the title says, who is the most complete player in terms of playing ability - both feet, heading, shooting, scoring, passing, vision, flair, etc.

    Is it Pele? Is it Cruyff? Di Stefano perhaps? Zidane? Anyone else?

    Disregard team achievements and success. Let's talk just playing ability at the highest level. Who could do it all?

    I say Cruyff just to get the topic started. :D Post some clips if you can.....


  2. Teso Dos Bichos

    Teso Dos Bichos Dance puppets

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    I notice you only mentioned attacking players and that is your downfall. It depends on how define complete. You could look at skill-set and simply see who ticks the most boxes, you could consider who offers the most over the entire pitch or you could break it down by role and consider who brings the best combination of defence and attack. I would be more inclined to give the title to a Beckenbauer or Charles than I would a player who offers precious little defensively like the ones you listed.
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  3. Estel

    Estel Member

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    "The best player I saw in my life was Adolfo Pedernera. Undoubtedly Maradona was exceptional, fantastic. The best for years. One can also not ignore Pelé. For heaven's sake, although it is difficult to make comparisons, Pedernera was a very complete player who can play in the whole pitch." - Alfredo Di Stefano
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  4. Cool Rob

    Cool Rob Member

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    Great point.


  5. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    there are few scenarios and terms to "CONDITION" a player with label as "complete". Now
    A: If only for the criteria in bold (that you provided as condition) then
    : 1- Pele (he had everrything and arguably among the best3 in all those criteria) 2- Cruijff 3- Zico (maradona was automatically left out as he was ONEFOOTER)

    B: IF< complete> as playing great in ANY POSITION (again condition to the bold terms)
    then 1- Di Stefano 2- Pele 3- Cruijff

    =======================================
    Beckenbauer was also very versatile from defense to midfield, however his attack was not among the TOP25 best all time.
    Becken
  6. Tribune

    Tribune Member

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    Rubbish.
  7. y.o.n.k.o

    y.o.n.k.o Member

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    Didn't I make it obvious I meant the criteria to be about skill-set? And one of those skills is scoring goals as well as assisting and creating. So naturally, we could be considering more attacking players.

    Having said that you bring up a good point about defending. But this is something which can be done from attacking positions as well or from midfield positions.

    Beckenbauer is a good shout. However, he wasn't well known for scoring even when he played in midfield in his earlier years.
  8. y.o.n.k.o

    y.o.n.k.o Member

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    In addition to Maradona not being good with his right foot, he was also not very good with his head. Instead, he compensated with his "hand of God".:D

    I've heard from older folks that Pele became more of creator in his latter years, circa 1970. While Cruyff was known to be an all-rounder type player for majority of his career.

    Was Di Stefano good at heading the ball?
  9. RoyOfTheRovers

    RoyOfTheRovers Member

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    [I agree w/Teso here & will also add that the title of "Most Complete Player" seems to be another one of those nebulous categories where people simply put up one of their favourite players in the hope that they will be nominated for and win the "award". Some people will put forward John Charles, some will say Duncan Edwards, some will nominate Johan Cruyff, etc., etc.]
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  10. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    Maradona was not bad with header - only his height was a limit.

    Pele from WC66 on (since his injuries) he started playing more withdrawn role (playmaker behind strikers) for the team. The WC70 testified for that: Tostao and Jairzinho played more closer to goals while Pele was everywhere.
    He was a playmaker (AM) at Cosmos (US) until retire,

    As far as I know Di Stefano did not manifest very well or so often with header goals. SO it's hard to say if he is good or just ok. All I can say he was not that good with it. Blame on the games he was playing for Argentina, and Real (the balls is always on the ground) - BTW, Puskas was good with header though
  11. y.o.n.k.o

    y.o.n.k.o Member

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    Well, my favorite player of all time is Maradona, but IMO Cruyff was the most complete player.

    So this confirms what I've heard about Pele then.

    What about Florian Albert? I've heard of him as one of the most elegant players of all. I've seen very little of him from some highlights from WC 66.
  12. schwuppe

    schwuppe Member

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    Exactly.
    Would go with Beckenbauer.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEiQ8QOjMzI"]YouTube - Franz Beckenbauer 1966[/ame]
  13. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

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    It is a difficult question and can be interpreted in different ways. Taking these differences into account if I was making a poll the options might be:
    Nils Liedholm
    Tom Finney
    Alfredo Di Stefano
    John Charles
    Duncan Edwards
    Bobby Charlton
    Pele
    Franz Beckenbauer
    George Best
    Johan Cruyff
    Johan Neeskens
    Lothar Matthaus
    Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
    Ruud Gullit
    Fernando Hierro
    Other (please specify)
    If concentrating mainly on ball skills, balance and pace I'd go for Pele or Cruyff. If concentrating on helping the team all over the pitch from a set poistion possibly Edwards or Di Stefano. If concentrating on how many roles they would perform exceptionally Beckenbauer or Gullit probably.
    Assuming this should be a different accolade to 'Best overall player' therby less based on just how exceptional players are at certain aspects and more on how many things they excel at I'm gonna say Gullit though I'm not sure (and overall I'd rate Zico just as one example ahead of him because Zico was absolutely brilliant at what he was good at wheras Gullit could be extremely good in several positions and was above average by some margin in terms of dribbling, heading, goalscoring, passing, vision, maybe tackling etc). Edit: In terms of skillset and overall ability and balance (including how good the players are with their 'wrong' foot) Cruyff is comfortably ahead of Gullit so he may get my vote based on the OP's question and how it was worded.
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  14. RoyOfTheRovers

    RoyOfTheRovers Member

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    [As Teso seemed to be trying to point out: Aren't you really trying to figure out who was the "best"/most effective all-round attacking player of all-time here rather than the most "complete" one?]
  15. RoyOfTheRovers

    RoyOfTheRovers Member

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  16. RoyOfTheRovers

    RoyOfTheRovers Member

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    [I think that we're trying to say essentially the same thing in two different posts, mate. Thanks for mentioning a few British players who would be in contention for the "title" as well.]
  17. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

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    Yeah, it's not a criticism of y.o.n.k.o just an observation that 'most complete' is difficult to define even though there probably aren't many candidates really. Yep, I think you'd already mentioned Charles and of course Edwards who is often described as a very 'complete' player. Finney was of course a very versatile and muti-talented winger/forward. Best's skillset was very complete similar to Cruyff's and he was outstanding in terms of balance and dribbling, while Bobby Charlton was a pretty complete midfield player I would say (maybe less so defensively but I think he tended to play a very attacking midfield role - he was certainly very two footed, skillful with great finishing and excellent passing and he was pretty good at heading I think).
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  18. RoyOfTheRovers

    RoyOfTheRovers Member

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    [Your summation of Charlton's attacking talents & abilities is fine & don't forget that he was one hell of a left-winger as well, especially earlier in his career. As I pointed out before: one also has to be careful that they aren't trying to establish who was the best/top all-round ATTACKING player rather than the most COMPLETE player. This is a easy trap to fall into IMHO.]
  19. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

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    Beckenbauer only played in midfield for Germany (from 1965 to 1970), not for his club Bayern. He played sweeper at his club since 1964. Hence his goal-scoring exploits in league play are that of a central defender throughout his club career in Germany.

    How well he could have scored goals if his entire career for club and country had been that of a midfielder, you only have to look at the 1966 World Cup. He scored 4 superb goals at the age of 20 at that competition as a central defensive midfielder (you can see them in the clip posted by Schwuppe above). For comparison, Cruyff scored 3 goals in 1974 at the height of his powers.
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  20. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

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    I think Pelé was already a very important creator for his teams around 1960. There's a game available in which Santos plays an exhibition game in Paris against Racing (1960) and there you can see him provide fine long range passes from a rather deep, unexpected midfield position. He also was found up front scoring goals, of course. I think Pelés nature on the pitch might always have been that of a creator and scorer.
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  21. RoyOfTheRovers

    RoyOfTheRovers Member

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    [Agreed, Pele was rather like the Wayne Gretzky of Brazilian football, if anyone here happens to follow ice hockey & the NHL.]
  22. aguimarães

    aguimarães Member

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    Di Stefano, first total footballer.
  23. Teso Dos Bichos

    Teso Dos Bichos Dance puppets

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    What do you want? You cannot ask about completeness but then seemingly disregard all of the defensive attributes of a skill-set. If you just want to focus on the attacking side of the game then simply say so.
  24. y.o.n.k.o

    y.o.n.k.o Member

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    Well, I guess we can talk about both then. Maybe we can even go into three categories:

    1. Most complete defensive player
    2. Most complete attacking player
    3. Most complete overall player

    The discussion can be open to all types. There are no limits. We don't have to necessary rate or rank the players. I'm sure there are few who deserve equal honorable mentions.
  25. y.o.n.k.o

    y.o.n.k.o Member

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    Again, I would have to ask others. What do you all think of the hungarian Florian Albert? I've seen very little of him, but from what I've seen he looks like very elegant and impressive attacking player. Does anyone have any more observations about him?

    Besides the obvious Beckenbauer, who are other complete defensive players?

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