Best Striker At Their Prime?

Discussion in 'The Beautiful Game' started by Bavarian14, Dec 27, 2018.

  1. Bavarian14

    Bavarian14 Member

    Bayern München
    Jun 1, 2017
    Nat'l Team:
    India
    Whom would you rather have for your team?

    Van Basten 1988/89
    Romario 1993/94
    Batistuta 1994/95
    Ronaldo 1997/98
    Ronaldo 2002/03
     
    Edhardy repped this.
  2. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    R9 Post 2002 doesn’t belong on this list neither does batistuta(any version for that matter-that’s not to say he wasn’t good ,he was in fact great but without the all round game /presence to make this exclusive group)

    R9 (1996-1998)
    Marco Van Basten (1987-1992)
    Romario (1992-1994)

    Thierry Henry (2003-2006)
    Suarez (2013-2016)

    Batistuta (1996-2000)
    Lewandowski(2013- )
    Samuel Eto’o 05/06 and 09-11
    Shevchenko 99-04
    Others like Drogba,prime falcao,aguero etc make up the numbers

    even Giuseppe Signori warrants an inclusion for being a prolific scorer during his prime and in 92/93 managed to score by himself as many league goals as Van Basten+ Jean Pierre papin combined
     
    ko242 and Bavarian14 repped this.
  3. Bavarian14

    Bavarian14 Member

    Bayern München
    Jun 1, 2017
    Nat'l Team:
    India
    I always felt like post injury Ronaldo was a more prolific goalscorer than his former self. He scored a brace in his debut for Madrid, a hat trick against Man U in UCL etc.
    So many other players who deserves a mention e.g; Puskas, Gerd Muller, Rossi. Even David Villa was criminally underrated
     
  4. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    That's in itself correct (even excluding his penalties), but don't overlook goals per game suddenly increased with 30%, most likely as a result of the back-pass rule.

    Signori also played as many games as those two combined..
     
  5. Bavarian14

    Bavarian14 Member

    Bayern München
    Jun 1, 2017
    Nat'l Team:
    India
    Just to make things clear the purpose of this discussion is to compare the best strikers at their peak.
     
  6. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    Yes I already knew that
    MVB played his last official match tragically during this season and papin was the butt of all jokes in Italy
    Despite this Signori deserves enormous credit for being not just a goalscorer but for being able to play and excell in multiple positions as he showed when saachi played him left mid in WC 94 to accommodate baggio and Massaro who were FW(with Massaro being a bit more versatile often dropping back to play right mid)

    Really that is a versatility of roles I’m unaware of Henry being capable of
    He utterly failed as a winger in Italy and became only World class when wenger converted him into a striker
    Signori was a wicked crosser of the ball you can say a dangerous weapon he had in his Arsenal

    But yeah I was perhaps being a tad disingenuous saying what I said Without elaborating further
    But no less disingenuous than you when you said Henry had scored more CL goals than CR7+Messi combined even though they had played less games than he had during the 2000-2010 period
     
  7. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    #7 carlito86, Dec 27, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
    But why only these strikers and why have you identified certain seasons as being their best when it isn’t clear if that is such
    (Particularly in the case of batistuta his best champions league performances came in 1999/00 His iconic goal vs Manchester United being the best of the bunch)

    At 6:37
    Batistuta was ruthless and his shot power ridiculous

    Why have you identified 88/89 as being Van Basten at his best
    Yeah most probably so for his champions league performances particularly from the QF to final he was legitimately great
    Was his league performance markedly greater than 86/87 for example
    I dunno I’m not convinced(I would argue for the opposite but you’d be best placed asking puck when was Van Basten at his very best at club level)
     
  8. Bavarian14

    Bavarian14 Member

    Bayern München
    Jun 1, 2017
    Nat'l Team:
    India
    #8 Bavarian14, Dec 28, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
    I've only mentioned my top 4 strikers. Perhaps you should volunteer and rate the others. I've picked a random great season of the player.

    Van Basten 1988/89 for his Euro
    Batistuta 94/95 for being Serie A top scorer
    Romario 93/94 for being La Liga top scorer, el classico hat trick, World Cup

    How are you going to compare them?
    1. Peak performance (how many legendary club/international performance they have)
    2. Consistency and longevity (how many years they performed at their very best)
    3. Stats
    4. Skillsets (Shooting, Dribbling, Ball Control, Passing, Crossing, Vision, Creativity, Heading, Speed, Strength, Goalscoring instinct, Teamwork, Free-kicks etc)
     
  9. Danko

    Danko Member

    Barcelona
    Serbia
    Mar 15, 2018
    Late 90's R9 was a machine. I watched him play. The second best player I've ever watched live (only behind Messi for me because he wasn't an elite playmaker) and at his peak with Barca/Inter/Brazil was arguably the GOAT goalscorer. Some people don't realize what a force of nature Fenomeno was...
     
  10. Edhardy

    Edhardy Member+

    Sep 4, 2013
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Club:
    Juventus FC

    This is so tough! As @carlito86 already said, R9 post 1999 probably shouldn't be here, certainly not ahead of his contemporaries like Shevchenko, RVN, Thierry Henry etc etc.

    It's a tough one, but if forced to, I'd go for Van Basten. I think he had the more polished all round game. I don't know if the question is who I'd have in my dream team or my literal team (Juventus). In a dream team Romario is my favourite but I'd still go with MvB, in my literal team (Juventus), MvB even more so, he's the one who'd connect with CR7 the easiest and he'd bring Dybala into the game more naturally.
     
    ko242 and carlito86 repped this.
  11. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    #11 PuckVanHeel, Dec 28, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
    If I have to make a pick I'd say Ronaldo (his 1997-1998 version) and Van Basten. Those are the two who were stellar at all levels (domestic, continental, national team) during their selected peaks and were in their time just rated a bit higher as the others.

    Ronaldo was for a moment the undisputed best player in the world, and there was speculation about him becoming a 'best ever' candidate.

    [​IMG]

    It's true (and documented) that some serious orchestrated hype was behind this, and he was generally less spectacular against the stronger opponents (notable exceptions are Netherlands 1998, that played with a makeshift defense, and Real Madrid in 1998 - excellent watch is that). I'm less convinced by the often voiced asterisk of "Ronaldo has only 1 league title, 0 champions leagues and 1 or 2 domestic cups". Surely Real Madrid imploding at the end of 2003-04 after Ronaldo got injured (for example) also tells something about the influence and contribution he could have.

    Van Basten was also rated high for his contribution and at some decent polls he even made it above Maradona.

    http://www.bigsoccer.com/threads/ol...-esp-1950s-1970s.2038892/page-3#post-35394827
    https://footballyesterdayandtoday.blogspot.com/2015/12/onze-dor-1995.html

    Of course it is all a team effort but I think those two had considerable input (in different ways) for their teams. MvB also achieved two things that many of his Milan buddies did not: 1) a national team trophy as star performer (against four top five teams per Elo ranking), 2) respectable achievements with another club team as the captain (Ajax). Something similar applies to Ronaldo.

    Romario is not the most reliable character and Batistuta his effectiveness and contribution decreased when the spaces got smaller and his team pushed for a win (Batistuta has to be ranked among the best league strikers off all-time, possibly the best 1990s striker overall).
     
    carlito86 repped this.
  12. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    Could you rank the top 3 individual campaigns by Marco Van Basten without wholly focusing on trophies won but rather on when he was at peak physical condition and also when he was most decisive?
    (Was he ever both at the same time-I would like to genuinely know)
     
  13. Bavarian14

    Bavarian14 Member

    Bayern München
    Jun 1, 2017
    Nat'l Team:
    India
    Realistic team obviously. I don't generally like the idea of dream teams.

    Let's add some more players into the discussion

    Puskas 1959/60
    Samuel Eto'o 2005/06
    David Villa 2009/10
     
  14. Edhardy

    Edhardy Member+

    Sep 4, 2013
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Club:
    Juventus FC
    Then for sure Van Basten, by my reckoning he's the most complete striker that ever lived.
     
  15. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    #15 PuckVanHeel, Dec 29, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
    If you mean league campaigns then imho 1985-86 has to be somewhere among those three.

    He had 1.42 goals per game (37 in 26 games) and other than some 1950s names who are around 1.1-1.2 there is no other who is close to this. Not Romario, not Bergkamp, not Van Nistelrooij, not Ronaldo, not Suarez, not Larsson, not Ibrahimovic, not Huntelaar, not Geels (who was 6th in BdO) etc. Even if players and their creative input aren't only about goals, it is one of the outstanding artifacts that he left behind (both Ajax and Oranje did worse in the matches he missed).

    https://www.francefootball.fr/news/...assees-par-le-championnat-des-pays-bas/646171

    I understand the idea he was physically hindered at Milan (he got the injury November 1986) but it would be erroneous to leave one of those league seasons out of the top three. His overall average of 0.61 goals per game is (again) only bettered by 1950s names. So one of those seasons (maybe this?) have to be in the top three too.

    Here is my general take:
    http://www.bigsoccer.com/threads/du...ation-1979-1994.1978389/page-12#post-37156781



    Ronaldo is for me obviously 1996-97, 1997-98 and 2002-03 as the top three. He scored one more goal and one more assist in 2003-04 (and Real Madrid had a meltdown when he got injured, despite some excellent alternatives) but think his overall game and influence was better in 2002-03. Maybe that also 1994-95 is a possibility.


    edit: To be honest, I am far from convinced that Romario only rated the World Cup (in which he, if we are honest, wasn't motm material against the best elite opponents he faced, Netherlands and Italy). Here at the end of 1992 he rated Van Basten as best in the world. Here in 2018 he insists MvB has to be in his Europe XI (btw, notice here 6 of the 11 did not win the World Cup). And that are only two examples, related to this thread.
     
    carlito86 repped this.
  16. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    Ha ha you went off on a few tangents
    1985/86 seems to be a bit of an outlier in terms of goals scored in eredivisie
    The eredivisie averaged 3.11 goals per match which is very high and actually quite similar to Eusébio 67/68 who scored at a supernatural rate of 1.75 goal per match

    I also remember Van Basten scored 6 goals in a 9-0 pummelling of Sparta Rotterdam
    really the eredivisie 86/87 looks to be more balanced and Van Basten won the European golden shoe
    The Cup winners cup which was an important achievement in that the time
    He never won the eredivisie which could slightly detract from his season from a historical perspective as we have all been accustomed to ranking players seasons based on both individual and club achievements

    R9 94/95 and even 93/94 for that matter looked more devastating than any version of his at Real Madrid
    His end product was also much greater (in terms of goal ratio)
    It seems very weird that a 19 year old who top scores in the league isn’t nominated for any major individual accolades
    http://www.rsssf.com/miscellaneous/nedpoy.html
     
  17. Danko

    Danko Member

    Barcelona
    Serbia
    Mar 15, 2018
    People here are more informed about Van Basten than me. My inclination is to say R9. I don't think Van Basten was ever considered a possible GOAT candidate. R9 was the GOAT to many who grew up in the 90's like me. He was our GOAT. By the time early 2000's came about, he already lost a step because of injuries. Still devastating on his day but not the wrecking ball he was in the late 90's.
     
  18. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    I think the tie breaker between R9 and Van Basten will be what they did or didn’t bring to the game outside of goals

    Personally I think Van Basten is a better finisher than R9
    What I mean here is more clinical and most probably more versatile.
    Van Basten was a very complete goalscorer from any angle,his Aerial threat was in a totally different category,he was also a scorer of great technical goals(something Romario shared with him)

    R9 was a physical phenomenon and a very skillful one but a player who primarily relied on his physical qualities to be so much better than everyone else(like Pele or even Cristiano)
    the crucial difference with prime R9 as far as I’m concerned is speed dribbling was really his only specialist quality
    R9 scored specific types of goals
    Ie goals where he is dribbling past 1-2 players
    Goals were he is running past/or through defenders
    Standard finishes in the penalty(with both feet)

    R9 wasn’t an amazing technician when it came to aerial skills(ie juggling)
    He was worse than dinho,Neymar and probably Pelé aswell
    His heading technique was good but not of a high enough standard
    Really the question is more than that of a style preference

    Van Basten had a better mentality than R9 in big matches
    In Major club finals+Semifinal Van Basten was the go to guy at his peak
    R9 had a winners mentality but had the fortune of facing many below par teams on route to major titles


    Between 87-89 Van Basten scored in a cup winners Cup final
    Euro championships final
    European Cup final
    European super Cup final
    Van Basten stamped his name on 4 major finals in 3 seasons

    In comparison R9 scored a inconsequential 3-0 goal in the 98 UEFA Cup final
    Did not score in the World Cup final 98
    Scored the winner in the Copa América final 1997 against Bolivia(ranked 25th in the world)
    And in the Cup winners Cup final vs Brazil

    I think Van Basten during his actual prime was a better/more reliable performer in big club matches
    Perhaps what R9 did post prime especially in WC 2002 closes the gap
    In terms of all round game outside of scoring van basten and R9 were clearly a class above Romario


    The idea that R9 is in his own special category in terms of number 9s isn’t substantiated by anything.
    Even the argument that R9 was at his peak compared to the GOATS doesn’t necessitate that he is out on his own
    Eusébio was frequently compared to Pelé in fact he was viewed as Europe’s own answer to the Brazilian phenomenon
    Are we going to put Eusebio in his own special category?

    R9 deserves to be mentioned alongside him and frankly so does Van Basten
    They are the 3 best strikers in history
    ,Romario,Thierry Henry,sandor kocsis,uwe seeler,Jimmy greaves belong in the next category
    Luis Suarez could join them with some improved and consistent performances in big champions league games and a few more world class league seasons
    I won’t hold my breath because he is already showing signs of decline at 32 years old
     
  19. Edhardy

    Edhardy Member+

    Sep 4, 2013
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Club:
    Juventus FC
    Remember Van Basten's career overlapped with a GOAT candidate. His Euro88 was amazing, but Maradona's WC 86 was still fresh in the memory, and even despite this he still compared favourably in his peak, in the same league too. It's like R9's 96-98 falling around Messi's prime.
     
    carlito86 repped this.
  20. TitoTata

    TitoTata BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Jun 26, 2014
    I'd have to agree on Van Basten plus Brazilian Ronaldo with special mentions for Romario and Mario Kempes ...
     
  21. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    Kempes was really a forward who played behind the main CF for Argentina 78
    Van Basten,Romario,R9 were mostly the furthest fielded players,Mario Kempes was not
    I don’t know how he played for Valencia but I’m definitely certain he wasn’t a conventional CF during his standout tournament for Argentina
     
  22. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    For the most part I tried to answer the best league seasons. That is what you asked, and you asked to ignore the trophies for a moment.


    Yes 3.1 goals per match is relatively high, but it is lower than aforementioned 1950s guys (3.5+ goals per match), and also lower than the league in 1994-95 (Ronaldo, 3.2 goals per match). Romario in his best season was at 2.96, Suarez 2.92, RvN 3.0 etcetera. You can compensate for this and then 37 goals in 26 games is still a big outlier.

    Many legendary (league) strikers operated in a high goals per match environment. Puskas at his peak 3.3, 3.4 and higher (in the Hungarian league 3.9 and higher); Muller 3.3 at his scoring peak andsoforth.

    Eusebio his 1967-68 season is scoring wise less of an outlier in his own league. I.e. Yazalde came to 1.60 goals per match, Mario Jardel to 1.40 (in case of Jardel in a league with 0.21 lower goals per game). Eusebio is in my view the best overall European player of the 1960s, but if you add in that he was playing for the best team (with largest stadium) etc. his scoring is less of an outlier. Jardel, Yazalde, Fernando Gomes and the likes are for most people also not quite the same pedigree as Romario, Ronaldo, Suarez, RvN et al.


    He won the golden shoe for 1985-86. He won silver for 1983-84, behind Ian Rush at his peak. At that time he was the youngest podium finisher.

    He scored indeed 6 goals in one match, and was the first since Cruijff in 1970 to do this (two guys in the 1950s did so too). After MvB, no one else did it for over two decades.

    Goals per game in 1986-87 was 3.0 - in what way was this season more balanced?


    He won the Eredivisie three times, albeit the first time as a bench player... You also asked to ignore this for a moment and indeed, that he didn't play for the best or richest team in 1985-86 doesn't subtract from his season. He simply wasn't playing for the outright best and certainly not the richest team. But it is not only the goals; he helped to make his team (a lot) better for sure.


    I'll get back to this later...
     
  23. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    There were two awards, one by the press (average grade) and one by the professionals in the field.

    Defensive players had generally an advantage for getting high average grades and the young Ronaldo was also erratic and still learning. I've posted a documentary in the past, showing he received criticism from the manager for his team-play. There were games where Ronaldo received a 4 or a 5.

    The professionals nominated two Ajax players (Overmars, Ronald de Boer), who were at that time setting unbeaten records domestically and at continental level unbeaten records. The third nominated player (and overall winner) was PSV team-mate Luc Nilis. Nilis wasn't at his most prolific but his overall game was very good. Ronaldo has regularly mentioned him (against Spanish and Brazilian media) as the best partner/player he played with (same for RvN).

    Here for example, Ronaldo commenting in Spanish:



    So in a nutshell: for the press thing it was always hard for strikers to be among the first three. Ronaldo had a down phase in the middle of the season. For the professionals award he was up against a record setting Ajax team (records domestically and abroad), with the pretty rounded game of Nilis getting due recognition.
     
    carlito86 repped this.
  24. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    “That ever lived” is a huge exaggeration
    Eusebio can certainly match him in completeness
    The Portuguese was also a legitimately great aerial threat,was accurate from long distance,could score solo type goals and scored a few goals from direct corner kicks

    I don’t think either of them were good at freekicks but really it is balanced out between the two in terms of skillset(ie completeness)

    If we are including forwards(ie inside forward,trequartistas,Second strikers,wing forwards players like puskas,Messi,Cristiano Ronaldo,Pele,zico than Van Basten moves further down the pecking order of complete forwards/strikers)

    If you are Just limiting it to number 9s than Van Basten/Eusebio are on par ability wise
    Whether their respective career achievements are the same or worth the same is a totally different thing.
    I think Eusebio could be more dangerous because of his superior physical gifts
    His strength on the ball,searing pace (Specifically referenced by Bobby Charlton for example) and his shot power was totally ridiculous

    Van Basten was more refined technically/more aesthetically pleasing than Eusebio but probably a little less dangerous
    Eusebio IMO could be a better player than Van Basten looking at it from this angle
    However it would be slightly disingenuous to say Eusebio was better only because he scored way more goals per season without adjusting that they played in different eras,in leagues with varying goal averages etc

     
  25. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    I don’t deny he was still learning but the primary function of a player in his position is to score goals
    At 18/19 years old he did that literally better than anybody else in the entire eredivisie

    By virtue of this fact he surely deserved more recognition
    When was the last time a player his age scored 30 league goals in his debut season(moving from a different continent he literally he the ground running)
    In hindsight we can surely appreciate this more after knowing during his prime he went to 3 different leagues in succession and destroyed them one after the other
     
    PuckVanHeel repped this.

Share This Page