Greatest European footballers In football history

Discussion in 'The Beautiful Game' started by carlito86, Oct 24, 2018.


Who are your favourite European legends

This poll will close on Jul 20, 2021 at 11:04 AM.
  1. Zinedine Zidane

    5 vote(s)
  2. Marco Van Basten

    3 vote(s)
  3. Roberto Baggio

    2 vote(s)
  4. Johan Cruyff

    10 vote(s)
  5. Cristiano Ronaldo

    6 vote(s)
  6. Micheal laudrup

    3 vote(s)
  7. Michel Platini

    5 vote(s)
  8. der Kaiser

    3 vote(s)
  9. Gerd Muller

    4 vote(s)
  10. George best

    1 vote(s)
  11. Dejan savicevic

    1 vote(s)
  12. Xavi Hernandez

    4 vote(s)
  13. Thierry Henry

    3 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Real Madrid
    #1 carlito86, Oct 24, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
    Zinedine Zidane
    One of the most technically gifted playmakers of all time
    Winner of the 1998 World Cup, Euro 2000 championship and 2002 champions league he is renowned as a big match winner who scored in 2 World Cup finals, a World Cup semifinal,a Euro championship semifinal and a champions league final.
    Despite being a player for the big occasion he was criticised for disappearing against lesser teams throughout his career
    Zidane is widely considered by experts and fans to be one of the greatest players in modern football history some even say of all time
    Greatest moment
    2002 champions league final goal at Hampden park

    Worst moment
    Being red carded in a World Cup final for a headbutt due to a provocation by Marco matterazi
    In his career he made 151 goals and 92 assists

    Roberto baggio
    Considered to be one of the most gifted players of his generation and according to many experts the greatest Italian footballer of all time
    Baggio was a trequistata predominantly playing as a second striker he was renowed for his dribbling,set piece and playmaking abilities
    Despite many injuries that curtailed his career he was still able to become one of the top scorers in Serie A history

    Baggio scored 318 goals in his career with 108 spot kicks which accounted for
    34% of his career haul
    Different sources vary for his assist tally some putting it at 121 league assists others at 111 assists for his whole career

    Finest moment
    World Cup 94 where he took the knockout stages by storm scoring a series of last late clutch winners
    My favourite being against Bulgaria where he sidestepped and dribbled past a defender to score in the semis

    Worst moment
    Undoubtedly the penalty kick miss in the 94 final.which was surprising considering he was the consummate penalty taker
    History has laid sole blame at his feet for Italy’s exit (even though Franco Baresi also missed a penalty his legacy has seemed to go untarnished)

    Il Divin Codino

    Micheal laudrup
    One of the greatest passers of all time and possibly the best playmaker of the 90s decade
    Winning 4 consecutive league titles for Barcelona and a solitary European Cup he was known as a prolific assister and creater of chances

    He was a versatile player playing as a winger in his younger days for juventus before becoming an offensive midfielder for Barcelona
    He was mildly criticised for his unselfish behaviour which prevented him from perhaps scoring more than he could’ve
    During his playing career despite being tremendously talented he was according to his coaches inconsistent which ultimately prevented him from being recognised as the best player in the world

    Despite this he was voted the best La Liga player of the last 25 years in a poll for the period between 1974-1999

    Cristiano Ronaldo
    The greatest European player since 2007 he is one of the most individually decorated players in football history winning 5 European cups and a European Championship along the way
    A versatile attacker he was renowned in his younger days as a winger with incredible technical and physical qualities
    However the majority of His prime was as free role forward where he made his name as one of the greatest goalscorers in history for Real Madrid FC
    He has scored 670 goals and 227 assists in his career (to date)

    Marco Van basten
    The Dutch phenomenon is widely considered to be one of the best strikers in football history despite playing his last game at 28 years old due to a reoccurring ankle career that forced him into early retirement
    He scored one of the most iconic goals in football history in the final of the Euro 88 championship against the Soviet Union a volley from an impossible angle
    Van basten was one the most clutch goalscorers in history but was also highly acclaimed for his technical ability which was strange for a player his size
    He was also an great aerial threat scoring many headers especially for Milan (his missile header against Real Madrid in the European Cup was one for the ages)
    Despite his short career he was voted European player of the year 3 times which was a joint record he held (with Cruyff and platini) pre Messi ronaldo era

    His greatest moment
    His hattrick performance vs England was listed by himself as one of the most important in his career

    Worst moment
    Probably World Cup 1990 where he never scored a single goal

    It is worth mentioning Van Basten averaged more goals in his European club career than either ronaldo de Lima or Romario ,he scored in more big matches at club level than they did combined and a large proportion of his goals where scored in Italy when it was the ultimate defensive league unlike the very good but obviously overrated Serie A of the late 90s that r9 played in

    If strikers Romario and r9 are better than Van Basten then it definitely has to do with reasons outside of goalscoring (technique) because as pure goalscorers I don’t think they are in his league
    Many of his goals especially in Holland were laced with the kind of genius you simply don’t see in strikers

    To be continued
  2. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Real Madrid
    #2 carlito86, Oct 24, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
    Others include
    Michel Platini
    Johan Cruyff
    Karl heinz rumminge
    Franz beckenbaur
    Gerd muller
    Ferenc Puskas
    Xavi Hernandez
    Luis Figo
    Lillian Thuram
    Giacinto Facchetti
    Gigi Buffon
    Ronald Koeman
    Gheorghe hagi
    Arjen Robben
    Dejan savecivic
    Dennis Bergkamp
    Paolo Maldini
    Ruud Gullit
    Sándor kocsis
    George best
    Hristo Stoichkov
    Peter schmiechel
    Bobby charlton
    Thierry Henry
    Frank Rijkaard
    Zbigniew Boniek
    Dragan dzajic
    Lev yashin
    Luis Suarez
    Oleh blokhin
    Gianni Rivera
    Raymond kopa

    Players who almost made the cut
    László Kubala
    Rob rensenbrink
    Alessando Del Piero
    Francisco totti
    Kevin keegan
    Steven Gerrard
    Alessando nesta
    Andres Iniesta
    Roberto Donadoni
    Eden hazard
    Gianfranco zola
    Luigi Riva
    Eric cantona
    Zlatan ibrahimovic
    David de Gea
    Clarence seedorf
    Ryan Giggs
    Jean Pierre Papin
    Emilio butragueño
    Jari litmanen
    Zoltan czibor
    Andriy shevchenco
    Frank ribery
    Carles Puyol
    Wayne Rooney

    I hate to say because I could never stand him but Antonio Cassano despite his underwhelming career had more talent then 95% of these names but couldn’t translate that into results and consistency

    Technique and first touch:15/10
    Close control dribbling:10/10
    The perfect goal
    I haven’t a technical goal of such quality in Serie A by any player including Diego,baggio and ibrahimovic
    Maybe the nearest in quality could be Matt li tissiers multiple sombrero goal but I’m unsure about the general quality of the epl in the early 90s tbh

    Ricardo quaresma is another player who with the right application and career choice could’ve made the honourable mentions list at the very least
  3. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The second list has Xavi Hernandez and Thierry Henry who are also in the poll and Luis Suarez who isn't European.
  4. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    It'll be Luis Suarez Miramontes from Spain, but until a similar named player emerged recently, he was just known as Luis Suarez mainly, like here:
    (joint 50th in European vote in that case)
    EvanJ and carlito86 repped this.
  5. Perú FC

    Perú FC Member+

    Nov 16, 2007
    Lima, Perú
    Referred to my personal favoritism: Zidane

    But oriented to define the best in my criteria: Cruyff
    carlito86 and Edhardy repped this.
  6. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    My top 5 on the same basis, out of those mentioned on the thread....

    Favouritism: Savicevic, Laudrup, Cruyff, Shevchenko, Bergkamp

    Best: Cruyff, Platini, Beckenbauer, Best, Van Basten
  7. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    I just realised too curiously, that if I continue to 10 of each and stick to only players mentioned on the thread rather than including some other favourites if I think they could have been good enough to be included too (maybe Wilkes, Hidegkuti although I can only see a bit of them and learn about them retrospectively) or some others in the best list (like defenders Baresi and Moore who haven't been listed I think), then on the basis of enjoying their style first but factoring in likeability (to me) for favourites, and prime first but factoring in career for 'best', the only players I name twice end up being the two you named Peru!

    Favouritism (extended list): Rivera, Rensenbrink, Del Piero, Zidane, Figo

    Best (extended list): Eusebio, Puskas, Zidane, Charlton, C.Ronaldo
  8. Edhardy

    Edhardy Member+

    Sep 4, 2013
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Juventus FC
    Favourite: Baggio, Cruyff, Rivera, Del Piero, Figo
    Best: Cruyff, Platini, Ronaldo, Beckenbauer, Baggio
  9. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Real Madrid
    Johan Cruyff
    Forward/attacking midfielder

    400 goals (10 penalties)and 227 (known)assists

    The centre piece of the Dutch football strategy known as total football
    A graceful footballer blessed with close control,vision and an eye for a goal Johan Cruyff is widely considered to be the greatest European player of all time

    Between 1966 and 1973 Ajax won 6 league titles and 3 European cups with Cruyff the undoubted protagonist behind their period of dominance
    Cruyff was rewarded with 3 ballon dors and a golden ball for the best player in World Cup 1974 for leading his country to the World Cup final where they lost to a late winner by gerd muller

    His World Cup 74 performance is widely considered to be the best playmaking performance of all time
    (He created more chances than zico,platini and even maradona did in 86)

    Cruyff has to be the greatest player ever over the age of 35
    He’s my top 3 favourite ever player with Cristiano and zidane but putting favouritism to a side I would still lean towards Cruyff being the more impactful player than Cristiano in his prime
    (Certainly from a defensive and playmaking perspective and his ability to dictate matches like a Xavi but still be his teams main dribbling and scoring outlet is insane

    The only comparable player is Messi (I don’t even think maradonas influence was as such
    He had different phases in his career where he excelled at different things
    In argentinos juniors,boca and Barcelona he was his teams main dribbling and scoring outlet
    In Napoli where he actually ran games and was indispensable his physicality declined and was for large portions of his career in Italy not a outstanding dribbling at least when compared to baggio in Fiorentina/juventus or el phenomeno in inter Milan)

    I believe Cruyff was the most complete attacker of all time in 73/74 (Messi 14/15 is certainly in the same rank)
  10. Tropeiro

    Tropeiro Member

    Jun 1, 2018
    Favourite: Zidane
    Best: Puskas and Cruyff.
  11. Tropeiro

    Tropeiro Member

    Jun 1, 2018
    #11 Tropeiro, Oct 27, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018

    Cruyff is - overall - simply a better player than Maradona.
    Messi can be comparable or even better but just if you forget that he also plays with the Argentine NT and only played for such dominant team as Barcelona.
  12. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Real Madrid
    This is your opinion which your entitled to but besides Cruyff being a more well rounded attacker one cannot dismiss maradonas ability to change games singlehandedly
    You just have to watch games from his time in Argentina,Barcelona and early years in napoli.
    At his best he was unreal like an extraterrestrial
    Cruyff was phenomenal at doing things World class players could do but to a much higher standard

    Maradona did things I have never seen before or after.his artistry with the ball remains unmatched even if some have gone on to accomplish more in their careers
    Refer to his performances for argentinos juniors and boca
    For Barcelona check his performance vs red star Belgrade(if you can find it)
  13. Perú FC

    Perú FC Member+

    Nov 16, 2007
    Lima, Perú

    Top 5 Favorites: 1. Zidane, 2. Cruyff, 3. Baresi, 4. Ibrahimovic, 5. Iniesta

    Top 5 Best: 1. Cruyff, 2. Beckenbauer, 3. Puskás/Platini, 5. C. Ronaldo/Zidane
  14. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member+

    Aug 4, 2011

    Messi’s performances against the elite sides at NT level is way below many of the all-time greats and it’s not even close. I really don’t see how he’s been as impactful and how he is even compared to ghosts that beat the best ranked teams when in contrast he’s generally struggled in every conceivable way.
  15. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Real Madrid
    Okay but Maradonas record against Milan isn’t even remotely comparable messis against Real Madrid (and not just them you can also add Bayern Munich to that list)
    Messi showed his highest level against the best club teams of the day
    Maradona did not (of course he had good performances against Milan scored some class goals even a memorable dribbling run and fk against a depleted juventus in 85/86)
    Messi consistency against the biggest club teams of the day outweighs what he lacks in NT performances

    There is no rule that states a player can only be considered the greatest if he does it for his country
    The barometer for greatness has moved from international to club level(and rightly so)
    Too many players had their legacies inflated by isolated performances for the NT

    Zidanes 2006 World Cup performance wasn’t reflective of his 05/06 form
    Rossi’s Wc 82 performance inflated his otherwise average club career
    Winning the World Cup did wonders for romarios legacy even though he wasn’t the best player of that World Cup (it isn’t even conclusive he was better than bebeto in the KO stages let alone baggio)
    His golden ball (which he did not deserve) is presented as irrefutable proof that he was a better player than Thierry Henry or luis Suarez(and he wasn’t in my opinion)

    Bottom line Messi is where he deserves to be,
    at the top of the hill looking down on 99.999999% of people who have ever kicked a ball
    celito repped this.
  16. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member+

    Aug 4, 2011

    I don’t know mate I haven’t reviewed all of Maradona’s games vs those teams (much of which are not captured on film other than brief highlights). Also I think he faced Bayern Munich twice (I think) so those are really small sample sizes. It was also a more defensive era to distinguish yourself individually. What matters is how well they performed in the context of their time vs their contemporaries.

    In regards to Messi and the NT, the bottom line is that Messi has really come up small vs the top ranked elo teams of his generation and virtually has been a very disappointing challenger in major events or when points were involved.

    He really has no chance if compared to the best players in history at the NT level vs the elite or strongest ranked elo sides. Former legends were just so much stronger in impacting games and for Argentina alone, there’s a respectable list of guys that did it better than him.
  17. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Real Madrid
    #17 carlito86, Oct 27, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
    Okay maybe so but why have you conveniently ignored maradonas catalogue of failures for the NT
    Doing next to nothing in copa America tournaments
    Being largely anonymous vs west Germany in 1990
    Failing a drugs test in World Cup 94 which completely destroyed the morale of the argentine squad who were doing fantastically well in the opening matches
    (Batistuta even said that they believed they could go all the way with maradona in their ranks but when they lost him that conviction had disappeared)

    You ignore these catalogue of faliures for one success
    I’m a huge fan of maradona (probably not as big as you but hey )
    Messi has been a stronger performer than Diego in copa America tournaments
    This is a fact you simply can’t deny
    At world cups maradona has been much better for sure but what about the champions league,league and minor cups Messi has completely dominated over a 10 year span

    I agree maradona on his day isn’t just better than Messi but also Pelé
    However I did not see maradona consistently perform at that level over any substantial period of time
    I never saw maradonas goat dribbling used effectively against Milan
    I never saw maradonas dribbling being a factor against west Germany in 86 or 90
    Face it messis legacy may not be foolproof but maradonas legacy isn’t either
  18. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member+

    Aug 4, 2011
    I don’t know mate, because I’m not defending Maradona at any point in this thread. I didn’t even bring him up. All I know is that he did something that no Argentinian captain ever did, which was to beat/eliminate every single regional rival (Uruguay and Brazil) or European top ranked team’s in World Cups on his way to finals + bringing the exclusive WC trophy home, outside of the South American continent. That hadn’t been done before or since for Argentina. So that alone trumps anything that anyone produced representing the Argentinian NT.

    Then any other “failures” which all greats endure, can be addressed if you’d like to discuss that. But there is no doubt that Messi came up very small in every conceivable way when this hasn’t occurred with former Argentinian legends covered in silver and gold. So there is a Messi at Barcelona and another Messi at Argentina. This was never the case with other Argentinian greats that played well for their clubs and country.
    carlito86 repped this.
  19. Tropeiro

    Tropeiro Member

    Jun 1, 2018
    #19 Tropeiro, Oct 27, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
    It is just your biased opinion....

    Romario had very arguably a more clutch performance in La Liga than all Cristiano Ronaldo's seasons with Madrid... 30 Non-PK Goals and 9 Assist (14 according to other member here) in 33 Matches (1993/1994) being easily more determinant for Barca title than Ronaldo in Real's title in 2011-2012.

    Also if you compare Romario with let's say Van Basten, they had the same % of Non-PK Goals/Match (0,83) in the Eredivisie. But the PSV of Romario had between 1988-1989 and 1992-1993 a average of 2.46 Goals/Match and the Ajax of Van Basten had between 1982-1983 and 1986/1987 a average of 3,01.

    Point is that Romario's participation in the Brazilian NT seems to be at least slightly better than the Dutch with his NT.
    To be honest I don't need to say more, it speaks for itself:ário#Individual

    Nice vids:

    and more this thread is about European players, not South Americans, you need to stop your off-topic.
    greatstriker11 repped this.
  20. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Real Madrid
    @Tropeiro i refuse to fall for your bait
    Let me assure you that Romario the penalty area striker is not and never has been comparable to Cristiano Ronaldo at any stage during his prime
    This is a no brainier and I don’t care about any Brazilian voodoo you will conjure up to manipulate stats to make Romario better than he was

    Van basten,gerd muller and Eusebio will all rank above Romario and Thierry Henry was a greater domestic performer than Romario ever was in Europe
    Accept it and move on mate
  21. Tropeiro

    Tropeiro Member

    Jun 1, 2018
    #21 Tropeiro, Oct 27, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
    You - and your close friends who surely licks CRonaldo's ass as well - that should be familiar with vodoo or something. I use data and stats to prove my points, you use lies and... more lies.
    And please you don't have a rational argumentative line and all people here in Forum Big Soccer know that... so calm your ass and stop talking about the Brazilians GOAT's here - that you are not in position to do so.

    Foremost I find hilarious as you claim as the standand, the paramater of being a all-time great player has moved from the NTs to club levels, this is very convenient when you see Messi's or even Ronaldo's playing in superclubs with lots of money and at same time struggling, missing, failing with their NT's against elite sides, in decisive games or in major tournaments.

    For example, not too long ago:


    and please don't make me have to troll around here. lol
    greatstriker11 repped this.
  22. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011

    I'd say he has a good argument to be the best European of his generation... The 1955 to 1965 era. As you know I have my doubts about his euro 1964 contribution, but anyway. If you look at his ability, his scoring record (if used that way), sort of confirming at all levels, and number of good years he has a good case.

    1950 - 1960: Puskas
    1955 - 1965: Suarez
    1960 - 1970: Eusebio (if he's seen as African then it becomes Rivera/Charlton)
    1965 - 1975: Cruijff
    1970 - 1980: Cruijff
    1975 - 1985: Platini
    1980 - 1990: see comment below
    1985 - 1995: Van Basten (see also things as 'Super Onze d'Or', FFT in 1995 for evidence)
    1990 - 2000: Baggio or alternatively Maldini or Bergkamp imho
    1995 - 2005: Zidane
    2000 - 2010: Henry
    2005 - 2015: Cristiano Ronaldo
    2010 - 2020: close so far. I wouldn't rule out Hazard if he can confirm at UCL level :cautious:

    1980 - 1990 by far the most difficult one. Maybe Baresi, Schuster, Rush, Gullit, even Elkjaer. wm442433 wrote Gullit was among the best players in Europe since the first half of the 1980s, and there is at least a case to be made he had significant years for the totality of his entire career in both halves.

    1990 - 2000 can be problematic in the sense that Marcotti et al. have serious doubts about Baggio for post-1994 (or 1995), and it must be concluded he did not convince/fit within top teams like Milan and later Inter, and not just because of injuries.

    And of course for 1950 - 1960 we are limited in footage/knowledge.

    The most clear and/or obvious calls are 1960 - 1970 (Eusebio), 1970 - 1980 (Cruijff), 1975 - 1985 (Platini), 1985 - 1995 (MvB), 1995 - 2005 (Zidane), 2000 - 2010 (Henry), 2005 - 2015 (Cristiano).
  23. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member+

    Aug 4, 2011
    The same Marcotti that once wrote that Zico was the best player in the world in the early 1980s with Maradona and Platini fighting to remove his crown — what crown ? If he never was a king in football! He never was officially crowned the unofficial tag of best in the world. The same Marcotti that forgets a German fellow by the name of Rummenigge that was more in the position to challenge the unofficial throne of Maradona in the Western European media’s views.

    I think Marcotti had fallen for the propaganda that this internet age of revisionism pulled over the past 20 years. His information of a particular article of Brazil in 1982 is full of holes and poorly researched, worst of all, misleading for the younger generation of followers.
  24. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Real Madrid
    #24 carlito86, Oct 27, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
    Troll you don’t belong on this thread
    This is a European player only thread yet your persist with your South American propaganda
    Posting videos of a player (ie Romario) nobody gives a damn about

    Btw your bogus statistical chart is wrong
    Ronaldo has 4 goals+1 assist against Spain including a wrongly disallowed goal in 2010/11

    Against the greatest national team of all time at the peak of their powers (2010)

    Against france in 2006 he has a MOTM performance in a World Cup semi final(and he did not score or assist yet outperformed zidane,figo,ribery,Henry etc)
    If I’m supposedly a ronaldo ass licker than explain why you have Pelés wrinkly balls firmly lodged in your throat;)
  25. Tropeiro

    Tropeiro Member

    Jun 1, 2018
    But what? He is probably right, Zico between 1974 and 1983 had surely the level to be the best in the world, that he didn't played in Europe is another question.
    Now if you think that Zico didn't have this level in his peak [to be at least one of the best players in whatever European League], then your case is more serious than I thought.
    Zico playing in Barcelona or Real Madrid what he played in Flamengo or even after his peak at Udinese between 1974 and 1988 would be a much bigger legend than he already is.

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