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)
    27.8%
  2. Marco Van Basten

    3 vote(s)
    16.7%
  3. Roberto Baggio

    2 vote(s)
    11.1%
  4. Johan Cruyff

    9 vote(s)
    50.0%
  5. Cristiano Ronaldo

    6 vote(s)
    33.3%
  6. Micheal laudrup

    2 vote(s)
    11.1%
  7. Michel Platini

    5 vote(s)
    27.8%
  8. der Kaiser

    2 vote(s)
    11.1%
  9. Gerd Muller

    4 vote(s)
    22.2%
  10. George best

    1 vote(s)
    5.6%
  11. Dejan savicevic

    1 vote(s)
    5.6%
  12. Xavi Hernandez

    4 vote(s)
    22.2%
  13. Thierry Henry

    3 vote(s)
    16.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Some ideas I had already for closest to fully optimised version of themselves (not to claim even for Platini, despite him being among the best ever players, that that made him the most complete or best prime version player ever, or even that he wasn't close to these capabilities quite a while before and for a while after too, in essence):
    Platini (minus a bit of pace from earlier perhaps, or even experience/ingenuity h'd still benefit from later...?)

    Shevchenko (minus a bit of power from later, and in essence already this player before his summer transfer I think)

    Nedved (around this time generally speaking, as in the 90s I think he was similar but without quite the same impact and influence probably)
     
  2. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Sorry, to add too: Van Basten had had injury issues since his Ajax days, so it wasn't only his career-ending one that complicated matters. Maybe even at Euro 88, although a great player in great form, he wasn't free from all aspects of his injury problems (or the after-effects).
     
  3. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    #103 carlito86, Nov 27, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
    What Messi used to do to defenders went against the Geneva Convention LOL:laugh:
    @poetgooner

    yea many defenders including cannavaro and boetang have required counselling and have been suffering from flashback episodes ever since
    You know my favourite Messi goal is an unusual choice many fans opt for his solo goals vs Madrid,getafe or against Bilbao 2015 Copa Del Rey
    My favourite is his goal in a inconsequential La Liga encounter vs Bilbao 2012/13

    It is a goal that imo proved he is the greatest close control dribbler of all time
    It is the type of goal that we are lucky is recorded because if it wasn’t many later fans would have problems believing he was able to manoeuvre himself around 3 defenders in an area the size of a telephone box
    Never seen anything like it before or since

    Pure technique,
    the day he retires he’s going to leave a void in the game that will probably never be filled
     
  4. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    Pretty sure that had an effect for both, especially since it were bones, ligaments, cartilage, sinews. Also for Baggio you can see that his technique and trapping was not quite always at the same consistency while in other games it was 'flawless'.

    That's also true for someone like Robben with his muscle problems, since that bars him from training and refining things (he said also himself) as well as playing with a clear mind (although it can be argued he was/is nevertheless among the better North Europeans technically speaking, with some effective flicks too, in his execution at that level). Or Ronaldinho when he stopped bothering; his touch and control was not quite the same when he fell of his perch.

    (I've promised carlito to be more specific/concrete about how I see DB10 in comparison to Robben - sorry for the delay)
     
  5. poetgooner

    poetgooner Member+

    Nov 20, 2014
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    I think a player that is underrated in the all-time ranking is Rio Ferdinand, and I think he came very close to being the 'optimal version' of a defender. He had the physique of a stopper (although, obviously not quite as dominant as a Sol Campbell, but also faster than most) if not the mentality of one, and the skillset of a libero.
     
  6. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    I kind of feel like he lost something from his game (from his skillset or capabilities it's more difficult to say) going forwards as he got older, but then a defender doesn't have to be particularly effective in the opponents half and he maintained generally speaking good control over the ball and suchlike.

    Arguably his Leeds/England version is the closest he came to complete player (was gaining experience while still being the player that came through at West Ham who was often dribbling forwards and suchlike and playing under the 'it's ok to make a mistake trying to play football' instruction of Redknapp - of course it's true that West Ham were not a title challenger), but his Man Utd version for complete defender (and the Rolls Royce next to Vidic as bulldozer we could say?!). I guess his physique changed as he got older as initially he was more 'skinny' which might help dribbling runs if anything but being 'stronger' would help as a defender. Plus his attitude to the game adjusted a bit, while Ferguson (while noted correctly in general as an attacking manager) wanted him to focus more on defending and even curb his attacking instincts I believe a bit. He never turned into a Beckenbauer type defender/libero, although I'm not suggesting he had quite the capability, and I suppose there was merit to making sure he was first and foremost doing a good job defensively. At Man Utd though, even Pallister had probably made more forays forwards with the ball in earlier teams.

    But even for Franco Baresi, this transition happened to an extent probably - he wasn't quite as much a libero type in his later days or even at the height of his fame (and effectiveness as defender) perhaps, when compared to a few years before. But he did start playing in a flat back 4 rather than being a proper sweeper too. I think Ferdinand's game did change a bit more than Baresi's over time all in all, probably, although he'd never been a true libero in a back 4 IIRC and neither been made sweeper in a back 5 for England or anything like that (I would think that had seemed a reasonably likely occurance, at least as an experiment, given England did play with 3 CBs when he started to break through).
     
    Gregoriak and PuckVanHeel repped this.
  7. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    I remember in early 00s FIFA video games he already seemed an impossible defender to face at times! And even though I agree he was relatively (and deceptively) quick, he even seemed quicker on that than in real life IIRC!

    It was quite hard to try to play the game against a team including him. It was like "damn, Ferdinand has got back and tackled me again" lol.
     
  8. poetgooner

    poetgooner Member+

    Nov 20, 2014
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    True, Ferdinand was never a true Libero in the form of a Beckenbauer. He's more of what the English pundits would call 'cultured' or 'ball-playing defender.' You see it now with someone like VVD and Vertonghen.

    Back before the likes of Pep came to England, and everyone looks to have two CBs (and even a keeper) who can play the ball, there usually was one defender who was tasked with bringing the ball out of defense. Remember that he was flanked by Vidic and Brown, so it wasn't like he had a lot of alternatives (although Carrick, like his England self, was of great help here.)
     
  9. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    #109 PuckVanHeel, Nov 28, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018
    Good summary @PDG1978

    I remember this is a quite good discussion about him by Manchester United fans a year ago - I read the first page and last two pages in detail. It is worth a read.
    http://www.redcafe.net/threads/how-good-was-rio-ferdinand.427499/

    What is maybe underrated is what a good ball player he was (with pace in his actions!) and I'd think Nesta (who was arguably the best defender of the first half of the 00s) was not quite at that level of construction. It's that ball playing skill that made him twice the world's most expensive defender. He was also a particularly clean defender, certainly cleaner than the nasty Nesta, making him very useful for European games.

    In the 'The Mixer' book I read the claim by the end of his career his ball playing wasn't special for a defender any more (i.e. others got better at it), and the book illustrated it with a long ball example (+ pundits reaction), but was thinking indeed that Ferdinand altered his style and also that Manchester United wasn't quite so dominant in spreading play/wing play any more so that a defender can spread the ball around. I'd say the team wasn't so great for that any more either.

    My impression was/is he's particularly liked in Holland (compared to Terry, Carragher although I saw VI opted for Terry as an EPL icon and not included Ferdinand), but if I type in google 'top 50 english players' then the most popular hit, by 'goal.com', included Ferdinand among the top 50. The 2nd hit, by The Independent, ranked him 9th among all EPL players and above Terry (I also saw their 'greatest central midfielders' list of this week, and searched for a defenders version). But yes, someone like Jimmy Greaves (with a less short-term sight) rated him not particularly high.

    When he hit his zenith, he was summarized in this way:

    Best players of 2008, #18 - "Former West Ham stopper, Tony Gale recently described Rio Ferdinand as the Rolls Royce of defenders, a description most fitting of a man who, despite his talent, has always been somewhat sold short throughout his career. He is the world's most expensive defender, yet often finds himself being considered second best: whether to John Terry at international level, or now Nemanja Vidic alongside him for Manchester United. In truth, 2008 was a year in which he proved he is superior to them both and has that extra dimension to his game, with not just the physical presence and athleticism of a top class defender, but the anticipation, awareness and leadership required in any backline if it is to be as successful as United's was last year - the best in Europe, no less. And speaking of Europe, it was Rio who captained the Red Devils in the Champions League final and lifted the trophy in Moscow after a hard fought victory over Chelsea on penalties."

    I'd say his defending clearly peaked when Vidic arrived, and you can also see that in the 'Vidic years' he has only two errors leading to goal (in the league) while before that rate was a lot higher (and with 'a lot' I mean >500%). He got positionally better and sorted out weaknesses in the air and at set pieces, his concentration got better.

    Some argue Vidic was the more indispensable, universal and irreplaceable piece in the backline (resulting in that Vidic was once ManUnited player of the year, twice league player of the year while Ferdinand did not receive that type of 'player of the year' honors) but Ferdinand should rank higher as a footballer and was class in how he solved defensive situations (and was seemingly also more class as a person as for example Terry and Carragher, lol). I wouldn't exactly say he had the strength of a stopper to deal with a Drogba or Ibra, but was of course not an old style libero either (Blanc, Scirea etc.).
     
  10. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    It is no coincidence as Rio Ferdinand started his career as a more advanced/creative player
    “He had been an attacking midfielder in his youth, encouraged to move into the centre of defence by his towering frame”
    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www....ed-to-deliver-on-its-promise-8617043.html?amp
    For me this is the main difference between him and vidic who’s distribution wasn’t as impressive
    I didn’t follow him at West Ham even though I’m aware he was highly rated

    Manchester United 2006-2009 was arguably the most tactically complete team in PL history
    A rival for Saachis Milan from back to front
     
  11. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid

    HOLY SHIT!!!
    @PDG1978 i know your familiar with the old English division.i just never new Rush was THIS good
    I only saw highlights of him in his 2nd stint with Liverpool.he came across as more of a poacher(like a papin for example)
    He seems here to be quite devastating with both feet from pretty much any angle no matter how difficult
     
  12. ko242

    ko242 Member+

    Jul 9, 2015
    I'm pretty sure everybody says that every 20-25 years in a sport. I'm sure in another 50-75 years, someone will rival him. It might not even take that long.
     
  13. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    #113 carlito86, Nov 28, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018
    Match footage highlights go back to the 50s and I have never seen a player with the quality of Messi in his best moments
    That is at least 60 years and if another player comes along in another 60 years that is as technically gifted as he is I’ll probably be too old (or even dead)
    Hence the saying
    “Once in a lifetime talent”

    No player ever had Messi’s overall technical skillset in 2010/11 and January-May 2015
    Not garrincha,Di Stefano,maradona,Pele,Cruyff,Cristiano NO-ONE

    Who is this player that was the best finisher+dribbler+playmaker at the same time and not just in his league but In all of Europe’s top 5 leagues

    I’d wager that Pele in his absolute peak years was never more than one of these things
    1958-1965 he was the best scorer but Eusebio was VERY close
    As a pure dribbler he CLEARLY wasn’t better than either garrincha or Omar sivori this is non debatable
    “When garrincha stood and faced you his legs went one way and his body the other, there's no doubt about it, he could have been declared a cripple. But my God could he play," said Hopkins, who also won the League and FA Cup double with Tottenham in 1961.



    [​IMG]
    Garrincha takes on Hopkins in the 1958 World Cup quarter-final


    "He attacked with such pace and I believe he was more of a danger than Pele at the time - he was a phenomenon, capable of sheer magic.”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/7197754.stm


    You can see from peles 1970 World Cup his chances per game and general passing was up but he wasn’t even the best goalscorer or finisher on his own team
    Lato ,Cruyff,littbarski, a 31 year old robben are the European players I know dribbled more than him in their respective best World Cup performances
    Garrincha probably made as many dribbling runs vs Spain 62 as Pele did in the whole World Cup 70

    Maradona is just really a mediocre finisher from open play at best imo
    A phenomenal playmaker+dribbler but did he ever combine the two in any of his golden years for Napoli 87-90
    To me he looked to be one or the other (never or hardly both for the duration a season)
    Messi at his absolute peak was a complete phenomenon
    UNMATCHED
     
  14. poetgooner

    poetgooner Member+

    Nov 20, 2014
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    #114 poetgooner, Nov 28, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018
    I'm not convinced Rush was the better Ian than Wright, but maybe that's just my Arsenal bias :p

    If nothing else, Wright was much faster than Ian, and at the very least just as good a finisher, although Rush was probably the better header.

    Wright was very prolific in Europe as well. He only had two campaigns in it though being the 93-94 and 94-95 Cup Winners Cup, which he helped the team reach the finals in both cases, the highlights being beating the Italian clubs Sampdoria and Parma. He was top scorer in 94 and one goal off the top in 95.

    Ian Wright was actually my first Arsenal hero, but he was soon replaced in my heart by Tony Adams.

     
    carlito86 repped this.
  15. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    Wrighty was a solid league scorer who blossomed pretty late
    For the NT he was amateur night though and he did nothing in the European Cup

    I don’t think Ian rush’s record in front of goal at his peak is bettered by anyone in England except jimmy greaves and he is one of the best strikers ever IMO not just from England or even Europe
    I think wright was better at finesse shots than rush ( probably learnt it from bergkamp tbh)
    But that’s it.i know you will say Rush played for a more dominant team but it’s not like any guy could lead the line for one of the most successful clubs in history and arguably at his best outshine GREAT players Dalglish,Barnes,Hansen
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/wales/2525091.stm

    He deserves huge credit and I think at his peak was the 2nd best striker in the world behind only Hugo Sanchez
    Ian Wright wasn’t better than Andy Cole let alone shearer or prime Fowler


    it seems from that 5 min comp I posted Ian Rush was a more versatile finisher with both feet and from anywhere up to 25 yards
    I have the feeling that Daniel sturridge without injuries is a match if not better than wright(certainly technically and in terms of his versatility he could play of the main striker as he showed in 13-14 and lead the line as he did relatively well during 14-16 scoring some class goals including vs Seville in the europa Cup final with that fantastic out side of the foot finish)
     
  16. ko242

    ko242 Member+

    Jul 9, 2015
    This is interesting. I saw some Pele games in the early 60s for Santos and he was crack. He had it all. Even that 62 game in the World Cup before he got injured was a huge presence.
    Pele's passing and playmaking abilities in the santos games I have seen from him are top notch. We can debate the amount of legitimate goals he has, but he is still an elite goal scorer, with both feet, and a good header of the ball.
    HOWEVER, in terms of dribbling, you're right I think. Messi has scored so many fu&*in times where he dribbles 3+ players. It's unbelievable. Even the amount of times Messi has dribbled 3+ more defenders and not scored is more than I can remember. I have never heard Pele or anyone else make a claim that Pele has scored so many dribbling goals.
    As a pure dribbler, I would also put Garrincha and Maradona in front. As well as Messi. So you may be right. It is possible that no one player hasn't perfected so many attributes to his game.
     
  17. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    I’m sure some Pele enthusiasts will be able to present “evidence” of Pele dribbling up to 5 players and scoring
    TBH with you I’m not convinced by the level of defenders in many of his matches that I’ve watched
    I’ve noticed Pele regularly loses control of the ball when dribbling at top speed(check his solo vs Mexico 62)
    It seems he loses control then bulldozes the remaining defenders
    That is not pure/refined dribbling IMO
    Pelé was a complete athletic package with great feints but close control dribbling like a Mane or George best I’m not convinced at all

    I was surprised at how electrifying Eusebio was even on the grainy footage he was just so unbelievably fast and had dynamite in his boots
    If he could kick a ball as hard as those leather ones he might accidentally burst these modern day footballs(he seemed to be a precise shooter aswell but it’s hard to tell from just a 5-7 min compilation)
    A guy with these qualities would succeed as a striker in any era

    (Just imagine a physically strong version of prime Henry but with great heading ability I think that would be Eusebio or at least close to it)
     
    ko242 repped this.
  18. poetgooner

    poetgooner Member+

    Nov 20, 2014
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Very hard for Wright to make an impact for the NT considering he only started 17 games. Shearer was by far the better striker, so of course he had the starting spot.

    Wright also never played in the European Cup, so it's impossible for him to make an impression there. In the European campaigns that he did participate in, he won top-scorer in one and was one goal off the top in the other. Rush played no part in the 1981 victory, but he was very good in both 84 and 85.

    Wright was banging in them goals before Bergkamp arrived in England.

    What makes you think Rush was the only one capable of leading the line for Liverpool? People thought the same about Keegan until Dalglish came along.

    Rush at his peak is still behind Dixie Dean as well. If it's one year peak we're talking about then his record in front of goal was no better than Andy Cole or Alan Shearer. If we're talking about peak 3-5 years, then Rush can't can't even come close to Shearer's 3 consecutive 30+ league goals season. In fact, Harry Kane's record is already a match for Rush. Neither Shearer nor Kane played for as good a team as 1980s Liverpool.

    I don't think it's clear cut that Rush was 2nd best behind Sanchez either. It wasn't obvious he was better than Careca or van Basten, for example. Basten was already dominating the Dutch league by the mid 80s. Within the same league, I'm not so sure that Rush was superior to Lineker.
     
  19. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Yeah, to be honest quite a few of those goals are from when he was relatively old, so it shows he could still be a very good finisher (I think he was maybe never the most reliable from a technical point of view in that way, but what he was was capable of scoring impressively and/or efficiently on both sides). The Liverpool shirt with white stripes on the main part of the shirt was early 90s for example.

    But yes, like Papin actually, he was at times ridiculed a bit harshly in his later career I think. Maybe it's inevitable that when a famous player loses form or capabilities fans will be saying they are 'rubbish' etc.

    It's hard to be sure, but I'm actually thinking that he might even have been quicker than Wright if anything for most of the time when he played at Liverpool the first time (early to mid 80s). He was extremely quick at that time anyway, and renowned for it. The Dalglish-Rush partnership was a famous and very productive one. The most famous Dalglish to Rush goal is the one on the video vs Watford (in white) where Dalglish turns with the ball on half-way and plays Rush in behind the defence, and Rush scores left-footed.

    His Juventus spell doesn't help his overall legacy I suppose, but it's evident from some things Vegan posted (predictions about top scorers, stars of the season etc, plus earlier Guerin Sportivo world XI voting from his Liverpool days) that a lot of Italians expected he would do well there, and rated him highly among the strikers of the world. Perhaps Van Basten would be seen as having more potential though, by the mid 80s, if people saw enough of him.
     
    carlito86 repped this.
  20. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    Dixie dean was from ancient times I believe pre war
    He is excluded from this conversation even if on face value his record in that one season looked tremendous

    Dalglish is a top 50-60 all timer ,in my opinion the best British forward since George best(arguably even more complete but lacked his ingenuity and genius)
    So if he could also lead the line for that great Liverpool side that really doesn’t detract anything from Ian Rush’s record
    I’m actually not an expert on the guy although i knew he was part of that great Liverpool team he isn’t a striker I gave much attention except from some Premiership matches I watched in his 2nd stint for Liverpool but he was already old and past it by then

    Careca was only arguably the best striker in the world in 1989/90 before that he was behind many including in his own league(even excluding Van Basten I would put vialli ahead of him aswell
    From Spain definitely Hugoal and maybe butragueno
    And then in Holland there is also Romario but he couldn’t even get a seat on the plane for Italia 90 so maybe Careca was better than him throughout the 80s

    Anyways this is not something I’d really argue either way
    I’d just thought I would post the comp because it is clearly a good share and Rush was undoubtedly one of the foremost strikers of the 80s
    And a European player so relevant to this thread
     
  21. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    Yes I did notice that his stint in Italy wasn’t impressive (unlike greaves who averaged a goal a game in his short time in Italy)
    However it’s not like Rush went back to England and started banging in the goals straight away.maybe he was just going through a rough patch of form in his career (an extended period of bad form which was more common in his era than it is now)

    For example many people claim alexis Sanchez dramatically declined as soon as he joined Manchester United but many Arsenal fans I’ve spoken to said the signs we’re already there in his last season for Arsenal(his formed had dropped in terms of overall influence and not just G+A)

    I think it’s just to simplistic to conclude Rush not scoring enough in Italy proved he couldn’t hack it in the “ultra defensive” Serie A of the mid to late 80s
    There must be more to it than that
     
  22. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid

    From 5:00-
    @PuckVanHeel @ko242

    What a completely underrated legend David ginola was
    I never knew all of Manchester United’s players voted him player of the year in 98/99 the same year they won the treble.
    How David beckham won 2nd place ballon dor is anyone’s guess (he even lost the Manchester United player of the year award to Roy Keane)
    I believe Johan Cruyff considered ginola to be either the best winger or best player in the world during his prime but can’t seem to find the source
     
  23. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    #123 PuckVanHeel, Nov 29, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018


    Interesting to see this @PDG1978

    On best players, best team mates etc
     
  24. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Yeah, so he only scored the 'Maradona goal' in training!

    Peterhrt posted his top 10 players in the heroes thread of course too (including Baresi in 10th, but MvB and Rijkaard higher up).

    I don't think I'd have guessed Wright (based on West Ham period - but of course he can be influenced by the Arsenal time too) or Kluivert (given he must've played against a lot of top PL players by then).

    His voice got a fair bit deeper as he got older I think (maybe the way he talks as much as physical reasons)!
     
    PuckVanHeel repped this.
  25. wm442433

    wm442433 Member

    Sep 19, 2014
    Club:
    FC Nantes
    From memory, Cruijff said : "on his day, he's as good as anybody".
     

Share This Page