Best/Greatest 'Playmaker/s' Ever

Discussion in 'The Beautiful Game' started by PDG1978, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. Estel

    Estel Member+

    May 5, 2010
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    In addition to the above you might also want to consider another categorisation - playmakers who were horizontal and utilised both wings as well as the center vs those who were more vertical and played deeper as well as more forward but kept to the center of the pitch.
     
  2. Estel

    Estel Member+

    May 5, 2010
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    As per my knowledge, following are the approximate numbers for assists for Zidane,
    NT - 27 (108 games)
    CL - 29 (82 games)
    Bordeaux (all) - 36 (179 games)
    La Liga (approx) - 37 (155 games)
    Serie A (approx) - 26 (151 games)
    That's a career apg (discounting 100 odd games which are hard to judge due to lack of data) of 0.23. Xavi would need more than 206 career assists (considering his 900 Barcelona senior and NT games only), to better that. Someone who has reliable numbers for Xavi can chip in with his assist data for those appearances, but IMO it would be a stretch to take it beyond 200.
     
  3. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Yes, I'm probably thinking in terms of Lars Bohinen vs Neil Webb as a Forest fan when you say that haha!

    But I think one example in your mind could be Zinedine Zidane vs Michel Platini (as babaorum I think it was, unless it was you or someone else who posts about Zidane, illustrated albeit for one game of course - both vs Brazil in the WC maybe) of course!
     
  4. Estel

    Estel Member+

    May 5, 2010
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    It was Babaorum. But since the time that he put that idea forward with regards to Zidane vs Platini, I have started noticing this as being a trait amongst a lot of playmaking footballers. With those more comfortable while dribbling electing to go down the wings more often while those more confident of their pass and shot accuracy favouring the center of the pitch.

    Bohinen vs Webb definitely works too, btw.
     
  5. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Oh, wow I didn't realise you'd know them well enough lol!

    I guess there would be quite a few such examples though yeah. Occasionally Platini used some skills on the right side and played in a cross/pass or something I've noticed (dribbling/moving on his natural side even if when it came to shooting/passing he was very good with the left too) but I suppose it would be more a rarity, and Zidane's ability to slip past players on either side was definitely something that helped and encouraged him to get the ball on the wings.
     
  6. Estel

    Estel Member+

    May 5, 2010
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    Well, I ended up looking into them and quite a few other NFFC players when I was reading about NFFC's Bryan Clough era (After I found this interesting thread - http://www.forestforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=38513). You definitely would know a lot more about them than me though.

    This btw brings a different question to my mind i.e. where do you place Nigel Clough (when employed as a midfielder) considering the above mentioned trait of wing vs central play?

    Maybe that's how player's evolve once they figure out their own strengths and in some cases, it might even be a part of their mental makeup. For instance, Platini was infamous (probably unfairly so) for prefering to pass and shoot than run while someone like Maradona would start probably dribbling, if he felt that there was a good chance for him to slip his marker.
     
  7. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Oh, ok cool.

    Clough was mostly used as a forward at Forest (though a deep-dropping one and maybe the formation could be termed 4-4-1-1- or something even at times) but although he did occasionally play left midfield too I'd say his lack of pace (moreso than Zidane) and short-ish stride meant he had more joy in the middle. Generally he wouldn't dribble unless as a surprise/rare tactic. He did play in midfield for Liverpool and Man City, and I think mainly sticking to central areas probably. But his best form had been at Forest anyway.
    He was someone who could be termed a playmaker forward though for sure IMO.
     
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  8. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    #58 PuckVanHeel, Dec 2, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2016
    For a link/relation to Nottingham Forest, this was the match that equaled their unbeaten record:



    edit: some excellent 'playmaking' there

    Came 1-3 down, then won 5-3 to equal Forest's 42 unbeaten games. The team was huffing and puffing!
     
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  9. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Yes, Clough was impressed with the Arsenal team at the time (Brian I mean) I remember.

    Just popped online to tell Excape Goat my draft choice (doesn't really matter if I identify him since Excape and Peru can't draft a Pool D player now - so might as well say it's another playmaker forward who sometimes played in a 4-4-1-1 arguably - Kenny Dalglish).
     
  10. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    Sorry to ask but are you sure about the 37 assists in Primera Division? OPTA has 30, Marca has 29. Real Madrid themselves claimed 34 at his retirement.
     
  11. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    I don't think Henry was ever the main playmaker for Arsenal - in the varieties and nuances PDG described them on the first page. I think those jobs were executed by Pires and Bergkamp in the main (or a player as Kanu when he played).

    Henry deserves credit for his many assists, but if you look at the statistical map the vast majority of those came from wide areas (in 2003-04 around 50% of his assists came from zone 16). Pires, Kanu, Bergkamp were the masters of 'zone 14', which is the classical playmaker zone, and by extension zone 11.

    I've been looking for the so called 'OPTA Index' throughout the years (later switched over to 'Actim Index') and obviously Henry finishes high throughout because of his goals. Also outstanding are the 'playmakers' like Scholes in 2006-07 (who was rated 6th best of the league despite his 6 goals and 1 assist in 30 games). From a bottom-up and a top-down perspective there's actually a good case to be made that Scholes was, indeed, an often overlooked player.

    This also shines through when you look at the goals, and notice the difference with a Lampard who specialized in scoring goals inside the box after a cutback pass (esp. the 2nd video; Pires has also goals that are reminiscent of a winger).


    (16 minutes video)


    (10 minutes video)
     
  12. Estel

    Estel Member+

    May 5, 2010
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    I took the numbers from here -
    http://www.football-lineups.com/footballer/44_Zinedine_Zidane/
    You, can view the data for each season by selecting the season in the "filter tournament" dropdown.
    Although I infact miscounted, and the total actually comes to 38, with the assists in La Liga per season being as follows for Zidane as per the above website,
    01/02 - 6
    02/03 - 11
    03/04 - 8
    04/05 - 4
    05/06 - 9
    Furthermore, even this website is missing a few assists. For instance, I'm pretty sure Zidane should have been awarded atleast one assist in the 03/04 come from behind 3-2 away win vs Valladolid, but it doesn't show up on the above website.

    Min 51 in above video (Ronaldo deflects a shot from Zidane into the goal, resulting in the goal being awarded to Ronaldo)
    Min 63 in above video (Zidane crosses from the right and hits the arm of a defender winning a pk converted by Figo)
    Min 93 in above video (Zidane passes to Ronaldo at the edge of the box, and Ronaldo shoots to score after pushing the ball past a defender, with the ball bouncing off of the defender prior to Ronaldo shooting).

    So considering the above, you might even want to go with a higher number like the 44 La Liga assists as mentioned in the Transfermarkt.com website, although that website's data is not very dependable.
    http://www.transfermarkt.com/zinedine-zidane/profil/spieler/3111
     
  13. poetgooner

    poetgooner Member+

    Nov 20, 2014
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    This is definitely true. Henry's assists and pre-assists sometimes derive from great technical skills and vision, but mostly, it's about what happens BEFORE the assist and pre-assists.

    Usually, either there's a combination play that breaks down the defense, or Henry uses his pace, power, and technique to break down the defense himself, then the pass happens. So, when you see his assists, they're not always the most impressive, but it's the build up that was impressive.

    Having said that, his general play showed enough vision and technical ability for me to rate him highly. Not as much as the classic playmakers, but definitely higher than most strikers. Just like how CR7 is not the greatest finishers of all time, but it's his combination of athleticism, technique, and movement that allows him to score more goals than more natural finisher. Henry put up higher assist counts than better passers because his overall kit, not to mention the role he plays in the team, was more tailored for putting up assist stats.
     
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  14. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    Oh definitely that TH14 wasn't a "striker-striker". That would've negated his athletic range and perhaps the abilities you describe.

    There is a similarity with CR7 that for his time Henry also used many shots. In 2001-02 he was over 4 shots per game, in 2003-04 even over 4.50 shots. In the 2003-04 Champions League almost 7 shots a game. Not as many as Cristiano (or even a couple of other forwards), but for his time an outlier.

    In euro history he's #2 behind CR7 in absolute shots attempted, who has more than twice the amount to be fair but also played more matches (means: pattern holds for national team too).

    Henry once asked himself the rhetorical question whether he was an efficient goalscorer, and a scorer in big games or finals. His own answer was no. Freddie Ljungberg received once the question who he would chose to score a goal if his life depended on it and Henry didn't enter his consideration.

    As I said previously, what remains special is that he maintained that level for a couple of seasons, and for the most part of his time the fouls per game was 30% higher as it is today.

    Maybe you like this team by Petit where he put Weah and Henry up front, and Zidane in midfield (I always liked Weah for his skill, energy and his selfless providing of final balls from central positions).
     
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  15. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    This is nice to see as there is a link with the developments of modern times: the currently succesful technical director of RB Leipzig (so called 'football professor' Ralf Rangnick) sees him as a playmaker, and also mentions Netzer:
    http://www.vi.nl/premium-kennismaki...uijff-zit-in-mijn-voetbalziel-verankerd-1.htm

    He was his youth idol and credits him as a source for inspiration and wisdom.
     
  16. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Yeah, any team with mid 70's Netzer and Cruyff both in it would definitely seem to me to contain two outright playmakers (by functions as well as capabilities), though playing distinct and different roles.
     
  17. leadleader

    leadleader Member+

    Aug 19, 2009
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    #67 leadleader, Dec 9, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016
    I don't know of any reputable sources that would define such "potential assists" as assists. And to give you the benefit of the doubt - let's go ahead and give those assists to Zidane, then you have to address the problem of other players not named Zidane who actually would enjoy a much bigger inflation than Zidane (on the basis of all the assists that would be added to their records) - the list of such players-to-benefit would be a very very long one, and would be necessary in order to adequately access Zidane's inflated data.

    Furthermore, I can count a deflected shot that falls deflects favorably (but isn't converted) as a "potential assist" at most, but never as an actual registered assist. As for literally deflecting a shot, and the shot therefore becoming an assist - that's illogical in my opinion. The Min 63 pass is not downright illogical in my opinion, but it is something that happens often, and as such, again we would need to investigate the countless other players who would get inflated data on the basis of such "potential assists." And the pass at Min 93 cannot be under any circumstance an assist, because that type of situation is extremely common - too many players would benefit from such an inflation, and that would render the whole idea as redundant to begin with.
     
  18. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    A nice article appeared yesterday, again alluding to the same, with some good (and less good) responses below
    https://www.theguardian.com/footbal...ruyff-remembered-bob-wilson-football-obituary

    And here a few old articles about zone 14 - when it was first 'discovered' or coined:
    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg16121722-400-the-secret-of-zone-14/
    https://footballperformanceanalysis.com/2013/08/19/what-is-zone-14-in-football/
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/3028353/Scientists-find-footballs-golden-square.html
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/sport/football/272455.stm
     
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  19. wm442433

    wm442433 Member

    Sep 19, 2014
    Club:
    FC Nantes
    Zone 14 is or is near the "hole".
     
  20. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    This is not from his best season (1980-81) but in this match Dalglish is imho easily the player with the best technical skills on the field. His ability to retain the ball under pressure is great. Not only retain it, but also immediately turn it into danger (today very few, if not none, can do that to switch it immediately into danger with one touch while under pressure or challenge). He received only one Ballon d'Or vote but - for example - Onze Mondial did have him in their team for 1981. He fades in the second half, although others didn't stand out, so maybe only the first half is worth watching.

    http://footballia.net/matches/liverpool-fc-bayern-munchen

    http://www.lfchistory.net/players/player/profile/287

    Shoot! magazine also reported he had more injuries as in previous years.
     
  21. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Nice find - I've watched to 20 mins (on the video timer) so far and seen a couple of nice touches from him, but not a huge amount so maybe in the remainder of the 1st half he does some good things. The ball hasn't gone near him that much in that time (more than it has gone near Rummenigge though!), so hard to get a full impression of form to that point I think - he had a couple of snap shots from outside the box that the goalie saved easily enough and maybe if in top form he'd have felt a bit more composed and caught the shots better or aimed for a top corner (he scored various goals doing that including in the game from 77/78 that you made a video for ofc).

    In general though yes those are the qualities he was renowned for very much I think. Probably more than ever over the following few years, playing alongside/behind Rush, but the same slick control, quick mind etc was always part of his game and also in terms of making his own chances to score.

    Maybe 'transition playmaker' would be a good term for him? And as discussed with Estel Nigel Clough too actually. Souness compared Clough to Dalglish when he signed him I remember although did then proceed to play him in central midfield and it was only a couple of goals in a comeback vs Man United that he is remembered for in a Liverpool shirt really I think. And ofc it's right that he isn't rated in the same way as Dalglish overall (I'd say he's less behind in playmaking than in terms of making himself the sort of individual goals Dalglish indeed could and did though, but the similarities would be the nice turns and the quick brain etc (I'd say maybe Clough tried to retain/shield the ball himself less often as one difference though, not having the same capabilities to do it so successfully I guess, even if it was when Dalglish didn't do that that he would be most effective). But yes, pre Cantona/Bergkamp those were the British versions of support striker type players (also Beardsley for another example).
     
  22. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    I did watch the rest of the first half now.

    I think the flick on pass with back to goal by Dalglish at 29 minutes is indeed probably the best moment of quality and creating danger in the first half, and surely a major moment you refer to Puck (it fits what you say - he had another flick over the head I noticed though nearer to goal near half-time that was also sharp thinking and possibly could have led to a goal) - maybe the Breitner left footed through ball to Rummenigge a few minutes later rivalling it, wheras I suppose Rummenigge's own best moment was the turn and cross nearer to half time that led to a half chance. Bayern did hit the bar with a spectacular attempt I suppose too ofc.

    Maybe McDermott could have made more of what was a decent chance, but he was not left footed and any goal would have been special for the finish probably as well as Dalglish's involvement - the feasible options seeming to be to loft it over the goalie to the far post or drive it inside his near post - various goals have been scored like that but it was hardly a clear chance ofc, but yeah that particular play by Dalglish was indeed great I'd say. Rummenigge could have made more of Breitner's pass too probably with better and more decisive control, but Hansen covered well anyway.

    Not a 'great' 45 minutes as a game overall I think it's fair to say, but with a few stand-out moments like these discussed.
     
  23. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    Yes, my thoughts are in the direction of your ideas. Rummenigge was a bit more alive in the last 20 minutes of the 2nd half by the way (but, just my personal taste, I find Dalglish or his team mate Breitner more interesting to see).

    Dalglish doesn't look particularly elegant or adroit while on the run with the ball at his feet, but his ability to do something with the ball in tight spaces and turn that immediately into danger is a rare skill. The variety of those things too. The effective yet efficient one touch flicks (I know that's also what you think to be impressive and useful in case of a striker as MvB). He's also a master with making one, two or three touches of the ball (combined with a quick turn) and then playing or striking it immediately. I've seen you rate Dalglish in the top 25 of all-time and I can definitely see the logic and merit of that idea, when all pieces of the puzzle are combined.

    If you want to see a 'great game' I advise this match between two 'playmakers' (well, for both players it can be argued that neither was a 100% playmaker but you get the point)



    It is one of the best 0-0 matches I've seen, certainly for the Serie A of that time (although a part of their ascendancy was that the pace became higher as opposed to the early and mid 1980s, until 1987, when Serie A had more mixed results in Europe).
     
  24. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Yes, I know exactly what you mean with Dalglish - perhaps sometimes he generally seemed in better touch/shape than others too, but certainly he was not at his most comfortable when going on long dribbles but was really at his best when changing the direction of himself and the ball very slickly and skilfully and catching the opposition out that way I think. In that Scotland vs Spain match on that site too from 1984, he seems to be having a few moments of promise like that from what I've seen, despite close marking of Camacho, but we know the goal he ended up scoring anyway of course.

    I guess you mean Maradona and probably Matthaus (I can't think of someone else from Inter who would be 'not exactly a playmaker' but still sort of a 'playmaker' from that Inter team - not so notable in history anyway - Berti for example is not so famous of course!) - I'll look at some of that some time too then thanks. Off the top of my head the Barcelona vs Sampdoria 0-0 in the 1992 EC Final (except after extra-time it wasn't 0-0 anymore thanks to Koeman!) can be a decent benchmark for an entertaining 0-0 but I think while I probably watched all or most of it at the time, I didn't watch a very high percentage of it in recent times.
     
  25. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    #75 PuckVanHeel, Dec 22, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
    It's nice that the last two months some nice videos have surfaced (as opposed to only the goals)

    In this match he had 4 assists in one match. A First Division / Premier League record for the 1990s. Later equaled by a few others (in a new decade).



    Two parts showing some more:




    edit:

    The past weeks I also made somewhat hastily a compilation from a match where he received an ovation by the Real Madrid supporters.
     
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