Which defenders came the closest to a topscorer title?

Discussion in 'Players & Legends' started by PuckVanHeel, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    First of all: I have to thank PDG1978 for giving me this insight.

    In another thread we discussed the various liberos and I remembered that Ronald Koeman came once very close to the topscorer title.

    Which made me curious if any other defender, stopper or libero, came close too. Perhaps no one came as close as he did because he is according to the IFFHS the all-time topscorer among the defenders.
    http://www.iffhs.de/?b4a390f03be4ac07cda14b45fdcdc3bfcdc0aec70aef05

    But I'm curious about who came the closest. With this I mean the defenders who were among the best in the scorer-table for an reasonable amount of rounds and/or ended pretty high in the final ranking.



    To conclude, for the ones who are interested, I'll give some info about the case of Koeman.



    Ronald Koeman started his career as defensive mid-fielder, as shield in front of his defence, at FC Groningen. His father was born in the region of Groningen and played for the predecessor of Groningen.

    However, his lack of speed was quickly noticed. The trainers of Groningen started to experiment with Koeman in a defensive position.

    It convinced Ajax of his talents and Ajax dared to take the risk. However, Koeman played at Ajax still sometimes in mid-field. This was also the case in the Gullit-era at PSV. Koeman came already a few times close to the topscorer-title, was among the top three of the table at some stages, but it is difficult to classify him as a 'pure' defender in those years.

    It changed when Gullit departed to AC Milan in the summer of 1987. Koeman became in the 1987/1988 season the default libero and played on a consistent basis as a defender.

    Koeman scored 21 goals in the 1987/1988 season and ended third in the table behind center-forwards Kieft (29) and Bosman (25). Kieft was a former Golden Boot winner and Bosman played initially as starting striker at euro88 before Van Basten took over his place.

    However, Koeman did not score in the last 8 rounds of the season (he played in seven of them). As 'excuse' one can bring-up the incidents surrounding the Real Madrid game which caused a big row.

    The table was this after round 26, after his goal against Feyenoord (2:1 loss against Feyenoord):
    1. Ronald Koeman (PSV) --- 21
    2. John Bosman (Ajax) --- 18
    3. Wim Kieft (PSV) --- 17
    4. Hans Gillhaus (PSV) --- 13
    5-7. Boere (The Hague), Ellerman (Sparta), Slagboom (DS79) --- 12
    8. René Hofman (Feyenoord) --- 11

    Round 29 (of 34 rounds; 02/04/1988) was the last time he was on top.
    1. Koeman (PSV) --- 21
    1. Bosman (Ajax) --- 21
    1. Kieft (PSV) --- 21
    4. Boere (The Hague) --- 15
    5. Gillhaus (PSV) --- 13
    5. Ellerman (Sparta) --- 13


    The end ranking after 34 rounds was:
    1. Kieft (PSV) --- 29
    2. Bosman (Ajax) --- 25
    3. Koeman (PSV) --- 21
    4. Boere (The Hague) --- 18
    5. Keur (FC Twente) --- 17


    Koeman won the treble (league, domestic cup and European Cup) with his club PSV, and converted his penalty-kick in the shoot-out of the 1988 European Cup final. Of course, he also won euro88 with his country. He scored one goal in the tournament, from the penalty-spot. The 'footballer of the year' award was his personal reward.
    Main rivals Ajax reached the 1988 Cup Winners Cup final but lost to the Belgian club Mechelen.



    This is a lengthy piece but it illustrates what I mean with my request. Came some other defenders close to a goal-scoring title?

    Perhaps a few Italian defenders? Considering the level of difficulty to score in the Serie-A.

    Passarella is second in the aforementioned IFFHS list. In 1985/1986 he came quite close in the Serie-A:
    http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serie_A_1985-1986

    Topscorer Pruzzo had 19, Passarella had 11. Maradona had 11 goals, Platini 12 goals and Rummenigge 13 goals. Not a bad list :)

    But I don't know if Passarella was at some stages even higher on the table.


  2. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    In term of "pure talents" in attack among all the CB, Passarella was arguably the BEST

    Koeman was ofcourse great but many of his goals were from PK, and free kicks compared to many of Passarella's open play goals
  3. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Thanks for your input.

    In the link you can see that Passarella had 5 PK-goals in the 1985/1986 season. 5 out of 11.

    Koeman scored in 1987/1988 (can't find a link, you have to believe me):
    Penalty kicks: 6 out of 21

    Funnily, 2 of them were caused by himself. This one is on youtube.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=-3rZFT3C9_Y#t=401s

    However, you are right that many of his Barcelona goals were free-kicks and PKs. That is 100% correct I think.

    Passarella was also technically, in terms of ball-control, a bit better I believe.


    Thanks for this 'angle' to the issue at stake.
  4. schwuppe

    schwuppe Member

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    Fernando Hierro finished 2nd in La Liga scoring in 1991/92, but he played as a midfielder back then iirc.

    Same thing applies to Blanc, I think he played a more offensive role than later in his career.


  5. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Good calls. Despite the justified qualifications you make.

    There are undoubtedly also a few who aren't included in the IFFHS-list but played nevertheless some games as a libero/stopper. The aforementioned Gullit is a good example and also Rijkaard did.

    Calls along that line are good additions too btw


    As for Koeman in at PSV, I found this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=UqrPPoW7_1k#t=2s
    (2 goals)

    and this

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2S1ZjC-kVE"]Koeman playing for PSV Eindhoven - YouTube[/ame]

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=KsIgBzlIu4U#t=203s

    On youtube


    Passarella goals are easier to find.
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tS7bvEIYkw"]Daniel Passarella en Italia (goles en Inter y Fiorentina) - YouTube[/ame]


    Correction:
    Here another Koeman-goal against Galatasaray - European Cup - in 1987
    http://nos.nl/video/220512-sport-in-beeld-psv-groots-in-1988.html
    Click on the play button, its at around 9:00
  6. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Another example:

    Briegel in 84/85 serie A with his 9 goals.

    He had NO penalty kicks, which was remarkable.
  7. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

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    Wilfried Hannes (libero of Borussia Mönchengladbach) scored 16 goals in 1980-81. That was not close to the topscorer of that season, though (29 goals Rummenigge).

    Lothar Kobluhn scored 24 goals in 1970-71 for RW Oberhausen, actually topping the topscorers chart, beating Gerd Müller by two goals. However he was primarily a defensive midfield player that season and did score many goals from the spot.
  8. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

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    Briegel also scored 13 goals in 1981-82 as a defensive player for Kaiserslautern.
  9. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

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    In 90/91 Steve Bruce scored 13 league goals to be joint top-scorer for Manchester United in the league (tied with Brian McClair). He was 9 short of Arsenal's Alan Smith who was the league's overall top-scorer though.
  10. unclesox

    unclesox BigSoccer Supporter

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    Inter's Giacinto Facchetti scored 10 Serie A goals in the 1965/66 season. How many, if any, came from penalties I don't know but I've seen one list that has Sandro Mazzola converting 5 spot kicks while Angelo Domenghini put away another 3. So it's possible that Facchetti had nothing to do with Inter penalties that season.
    Vicenza's Luís Vinício won the 65/66 capocannoniere with 25 goals.
  11. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    What was Kobluhn his 'secret'? I see his record in other seasons was not higher than 6. To score 24 in one single season as defensive minded player is remarkable.
  12. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Hannes is a good call. He scored 8 out of 16 from the spot I see.

    Had already seen Briegel his 13 goals in the bundesliga but what struck me about his 84/85 season is that most ones above him had 3-6 PKs in their total so Briegel had a viable chance to end up even higher (assuming that he can take one but that is often not a problem with Germans).

    Hrubesch was in 81/82 topscorer with 27 goals, with only 1 PK (when Briegel had 13).


    Rummenigge had in 80/81 three PKs in his total of 29 (when Hannes had 16).
  13. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Thanks again. Yes, this one is very reminiscent of Koeman. Do you know whether he was even closer at some stages and how many PKs he had?
  14. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

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    I'm not sure without further research. I was very much a follower of the league at the time but actually I didn't recall the fact but heard it on an interview with him (that he had been the Club's top scorer one season) so looked it up on Wikipedia. I was trying to think who'd have taken penalties and if he took any as it was pre-Cantona but I'd possibly guess McClair took them mainly.

    I know a bit more about Stuart Pearce of Nottingham Forest for obvious reasons, including seeing some games that season at the stadium - he scored 11 so 2 less than Bruce but I think Nigel Clough was Forest's top scorer that season. As for penalties I'd have to refresh my memory but Pearce and Clough would have been the takers around that time.
    I'm thinking Pearce might've got more than Bruce from open play, but Pearce often scored directly from set pieces while I imagine a lot of Bruce's goals were headers from corners and free-kicks or at least goals after such set-pieces. In a later season he famously scored goals vs Sheffield Wednesday to clinch the Premier League for United the first time.

    I was trying to think of others to look up including Facchetti and also Ernst Happel who seemed to get more as his career went on but I doubt enough in a single season to be nearly top scorer in Austria (Wikipedia has him with 17 over a few seasons in his last spell).
  15. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

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    Bruce scored 7 penalties in 1990-91, Pearce none.

    This is what "Rothmans" said about Stuart Pearce in their "Rothmans Football Awards" section:

    Stuart Pearce established himself as the most prolific scoring defender in the football league for one season without the assistance of a penalty kick. His 16 league and Cup goals were well earned and provided an extra dimension to Nottingham Forest's attacking patterns. Of course several of his successful strikes came from ferocious free-kicks, none better revealed than in the FA Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur. Stuart Pearce, a resolute full back, came comparatively late into the Football League as he was over 21 when he was signed by Coventry City from Wealdstone, but he soon showed that he had lost nothing in his footballing education for this beginning. During of of the close season matches against New Zealand he scored the second full international goal of his career.
  16. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

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    Hard to say. The majority of his goals came during the latter stages of the season. As RW Oberhausen was involved in the 1971 Bundesliga match-fixing scandal, there were rumours that a few of Kobluhn's goals were "gifts".

    Because those rumours seemed substantial, "Kicker" abstained from handing over their "top scorer's cannon" award at the start of the 1971-72 season to Kobluhn. This infuriared Kobluhn a lot as he insisted that the goals he scored were not results of match-fixing.

    Four years ago he got his "cannon".

    Here's an interview with him from "Süddeutsche Zeitung".

    http://www.sueddeutsche.de/sport/lo...ezeichneter-torjaeger-aus-oberhausen-1.191990
  17. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Thanks PDG and Gregoriak. Yes, Pearce is also relatively well-known in Holland. In some NT games versus Holland he was called 'the Koeman of England' lol



    I also tracked down the reason why Koeman stopped scoring in the last 8 rounds and it seems it was indeed the Madrid game. He cried and coach Hiddink used him in a more conservative role to reassure him (he was basically free to go wherever he wanted if PSV had the ball; he was the second central defender when they had not the ball but Hiddink limited his role after the madrid game to give him more confidence). This was expressed by Hiddink before the EC-final took place. His assists (he had ~15 in the season) were more evenly distributed throughout the season though, that is a bit strange and is an argument against this excuse.
  18. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Question to PDG:

    Do I recall correctly that you rated Pearce as one of the three left-backs England ever had?
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vc-wZL21S9M"]England Player Profile - Stuart Pearce - YouTube[/ame]

    Another thing:

    R. Koeman played from April 1988 onwards, incl. euro88, with a fractured foot, I see now. Players of the USSR and Germany knew this and stamped om his feet a few times. But Koeman was sometimes of course also an annoying player.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmMDYxgE7Jo"]Ronald KOEMAN long pass compilation - christinayan - YouTube[/ame]


    The second Dutchman in the IFFHS list is Dick Schneider.

    He had 10 goals in 76/77 for Feyenoord as defender. He had 3 PKs though.


    Mansveld is the third but was a noted PK-specialist.


    Legendary sweeper Bruno Pezzey had in 80/81 in the Bundesliga 10 goals without a single PK!
  19. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

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    I think we exchanged a few PM's not long ago with ideas about all-time Dutch and English XI's and squads, and I guess I might even have put him down as first choice left-back? I think I mentioned that I'd be tempted to include Duncan Edwards in that position if I was going for an ultra creative/attacking midfield but that I felt I should probably put him in alongside Bobby Charlton in between Matthews and Finney in the first choice XI. Edwards was of course not a specialist left-back and in his day the left-half position was more like a DM/CM than a side-back poistion.

    Of the specialist left-backs I feel Sansom would be an alternative to Pearce, but I think Pearce would probably be a more regular selection among English fans and not just Nottingham Forest fans. Le Saux on his best Blackburn form (or when he volleyed an England goal vs Brazil IIRC) might be another candidate. I can't remember off the top of my head whether I mentioned other recent players - Emlyn Hughes is not so recent but could play as a left-back among other positions and Ashley Cole is very recent and some might select him (others have boo'd him on occasion).

    There are certain older English players who I'm uncertain about (wheras the aforementioned Matthews and Finney for example I feel I can put in the team without qualms) due to lack of footage and lack of research on my part to an extent - they include Eddie Hapgood and Roger Byrne who are both sometimes selected in all-time England teams at left-back and I know Hapgood was towards the top of comme's greatest left-backs countdown above Pearce (we can check that thread to see if Byrne was above Pearce too - I'm pretty sure he was in it). Footage of Byrne might be easier to find than that of Hapgood, although he isn't as prominent in highlights as someone like his team-mate Edwards obviously.

    But yes from memory I probably put Pearce in the XI, with Des Walker also in alongside Bobby Moore. Walker btw was the opposite of a prolific scorer!
  20. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

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    I should also mention that World Cup '66 player Ray Wilson would be chosen by some as the left back in an all-time England XI I think.
  21. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Thanks anyway.

    So far Pearce is together with Pezzey, Fachetti and Briegel a rare example of a high-scoring defender without a single PK in the season.
  22. JamesA

    JamesA Member+

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    Regarding brucey. He actually 19 that season in all competitions!

    He was our primary pk taker that year, prior to irwin taking over and eventually king Eric.

    But this season was no fluke. Throughout his career, brucey scored something like over 100 goals in all comps. For a average height defender, he excellent at scoring on set pieces with headers.

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