Greatest European footballers In football history

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

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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. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    He was clearly a multi-faceted and therefore almost automatically a complex person, leading to many contradicting descriptions about his personality.

    Of course there are also some things that are the same in most descriptions: that he was confident about the things he could do well, had a strong moral compass, (unintentionally) helped many people moving forward, disliked theoretical ideas without a practical application.

    He had his opinions but also knew when to take a step to the background "in order to let trees grow". If he then said Neymar can't really play together with Messi and Suarez, he meant that as a warning sign and motivational tool. But he didn't always wanted to be on the forefront and knew he could be more useful by not always cutting grass away for others (I think).

    As the 'spielverlagerung' article on him says, he was very good in delegating tasks. Because as good as he was in understanding and grasping many different things, step in when problem arise, nobody can do it all alone.

    -------------------------------------------




    Bojan Krkic: "He was one of the nicest people I met in football. Before I went to Ajax I spoke to him and he spoke with Ajax and helped me. He was important for me. He didn't show to you: 'you are talking to Johan Cruyff'. He was a really nice guy, with honest conversations. I felt human when I spoke to him, one of the most honest and emphatic men I met in football."
    https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/football-daily/how-bojan-found-happiness-in-kiQUNgnDcob/


    Obviously he had sometimes also unpopular/polarizing opinions:

    When the three-time Ballon d'Or winner heard that Franco's police had arrested 13 members of the Catalan opposition, he sent an autographed photo to his friend and journalist Xavier Folch in prison saying: "Xavier, I am hoping to see you again soon at Barca."
    "Probably because I was Dutch and famous I thought nobody could touch me, that's why I said: 'Well, you can do it'," Cruyff said in the documentary.
    "Cruyff began to realise that in Barcelona there is a different language, a way of being different. This then permeated his personality," Ramon Miravitllas, author of The Political Function of Barca, told AFP.
    When Cruyff arrived at Barcelona the team were second bottom in the league. But they won 17 games in a row – including 5-0 against Real Madrid – to win their first La Liga title in 14 years.
    "Once we were champions, instead of saying 'congratulations', everyone said 'thanks', and it was then that I realised that it was not just about the title, it was more than that," Cruyff recalled.
    "He always said that he was a Catalan Dutchman, he identified with the people, the culture and customs of Catalonia," journalist Jordi Finestres told AFP.
    He was the first club captain to wear an armband with the colours of the Catalan flag.
    Cruyff was an advocate of the right of the Catalonia people to vote on their own independence in a referendum, a view which even now is only backed by one Spanish political party at a national level, the far left Podemos.
    "I think that Catalonia should always decide for itself," Cruyff said.
    "There can be no other person who decides for you to do things a certain way."


    His autobiography is a very mixed and incomplete work, but he explains well there why he stopped with being head coach after 10 years.

    "I'd stopped being a player and I'd stopped being a coach. But after that I didn't get bored for a minute. I'm determined to go on evolving; that's always been part of my motivation. As a footballer and trainer I was always an idealist, so I wanted to apply my experiences to new challenges. That idea worked from day one. Pretty much everything I came into contact with had something to do with the things I'm good at.[...] That's why I actually never missed daily coaching, not least because it didn't feel good doing something I'd done before. I didn't want to repeat myself, I wanted to move on."

    Of course he also evolved a bit as a coach over time, which is necessary for making a difference in very different settings, but there's some truth in that eventually it can become a repeat of previous work.
     
  2. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    carlito86 repped this.
  3. Ariaga II

    Ariaga II Member

    Dec 8, 2018
    Cambridge definition of arrogant: "unpleasantly proud and behaving as if you are more important than, or know more than, other people":

    Let's face it, Cruyff was just about the most arrogant personality in soccer history. I'm thinking of his time as manager, specifically, when he was Mourinho x100. Every team played terrible football except his team. When his team was playing well, it was thanks to him, when they were playing poorly, everyone got thrown under the bus. Was there a single player (except maybe Jordi :D) who didn't fall out with this guy? He went out of his way to talk trash about all his opponents, many of whom had maybe a fraction of his resources at their disposal. Maybe the best player/manager combo in history, but sadly a very tiny person.
     
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  4. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    I don’t know if he was such a volatile person but what I do know is he was respected

    How many people do you reckon could ridicule stoichkov to his face in front of his teammates and get away with it
    https://www.marca.com/en/football/barcelona/2017/03/14/58c7f6ace2704eff4a8b4629.html
    The only “opponent” I thought he maybe treated a bit unfairly was Van Gaal(he did shit talk him at every given opportunity)
    I think here there is a clear cut case of him being jealous of a man who viewed to be clearly inferior to him

    Van Gaal he recalls the root of their fractious relationship way back to 1989
    Van Gaal, along with the Koeman brothers, had taken up an invitation to have dinner at the Cruyff family home. "The phone rang, it was for me," recounted Van Gaal in his 2009 autobiography. "It was my family, ringing to tell me my sister had died. I rushed out immediately. Later I heard that Johann was angry I didn't thank him for the meal."

    Cruyff rubbished this claim, countering: "Van Gaal must have Alzheimer's if he wrote something like that."
    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2012/oct/11/footballs-greatest-rivalries-cruyff-van-gaal
     
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  5. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    He clearly wasn't the easiest nor most humble person but what you say here is quite imho harsh and unbalanced;

    Of course he complimented various other teams, including those that beat him. When Sao Paulo won the Intercontinental Cup against his team, he famously said it is better to lose against a Ferrari.

    He was also very complimentary and positive about the IFK Goteborg team of the 1980s.

    Imho the idea that he wasn't complimentary to opposing players and teams on a regular basis is an odd one.

    He wasn't the type of guy to give falsely polite compliments, that is right.


    He said ad infinitum football is a game of mistakes and the manager is not an exception.

    When Barcelona was ousted by CSKA Moscow in 1992-93 he admitted some players made costly individual mistakes, but that he could have known beforehand and the manager is there to take it into account.

    He has been ridiculed for the opposite, too, for example by the well known 'Beyond The Last Man' guy. I cite: "I used to like how he adored Richard Witschge & the poorer he played for Barcelona then the more Johan would claim he was actually getting better all the time & journos just couldn't see it."

    He has been ridiculed/criticized for standing behind players until the sun falls, and he has been ridiculed for the opposite.


    Van Basten, Koeman, Blind, Guardiola, Bakero, Figo.....

    Yeah, he did fall out with Rijkaard, Laudrup, Stoichkov and Romario but let's be real here: the last three have all a history of falling out with various other managers.

    And all of those four talk with the greatest respect about him.

    For example here Michael Laudrup:
    http://www.fantasista10.co.uk/laudrup-the-secrets-behind-coach-cruyffs-success/

    Romario said against FourFourTwo: "Diego Maradona at the peak of his powers is the best player ever, but Johan Cruijff was the most intelligent. He was the best coach there has ever been, with distance, we became good friends and was very honest. Some players complained about that character trait, but I loved it, I could understand and it made me better."


    He most famously talked thrash about Milan, Juventus, Real Madrid and the iron eating manager Javier Clemente when it came to direct opponents (+ Van Gaal, who wasn't a direct opponent except for one friendly match that JC14 won).

    The first three had actually more resources than him. The 'feud' with Javier Clemente had something childish, but was also rooted in Clemente his distrust for modernist fads.

    See this great article:
    "For the already established managers, this innovation threatened not only their jobs, but more critically, the community’s control over football knowledge. If abstract thinking could defeat the players’ innate technical abilities and the managers accumulated experience, then the footballers’ and ex footballers’ position as the legitimate experts on football was at risk. Their answer, led by the then National side manager, Javier Clemente, was to cast doubt on the superiority of this tactical evolution, saying that the real reason for success were his players."

    http://www.bigsoccer.com/threads/a-brief-history-of-tactics.1269077/page-15#post-36294380
    https://www.cairn-int.info/abstract-E_STA_114_0035--fighting-for-legitimacy-the-zonal.htm

    It was Clemente (of Bilbao, Espanol, Atletico and the national team) who fired the first shots, but I agree this episode doesn't show 'El Salvador' in the most positive light. The relationship with Van Gaal is also fundamentally rooted in professional differences about how to run a team.
     
  6. JoCryuff98

    JoCryuff98 Member+

    Barcelona
    Germany
    Jan 3, 2018
    Stoichov literally loved Cruyff. They had a brief fight, but he praised him a lot and in fact was heartbroken when Cruyff died.
     
  7. JoCryuff98

    JoCryuff98 Member+

    Barcelona
    Germany
    Jan 3, 2018
    That’s cock and bull. Guys like Pele, Maradona, Cristiano Ronaldo, Beckenbauer, Ibrahimovic, Mourinho etc takes the cake.
     
  8. Ariaga II

    Ariaga II Member

    Dec 8, 2018
    When I mentioned trash-talking teams with less resources, I was thinking of Cruyff's mind-games with the pretenders in La Liga at the time, Deportivo and I don't know, Espanyol? Pretty petty to start putting down some village teams that finally have a decent team for the first time in their history.

    The height of arrogance of course was the 1994 CL-final, and his remarks before the game, which of course backfired gloriously. And how does Cruyff deal with this embarrassment? By firing Andoni Zubizarreta on then bus ride home. Does it get any less classy than that? Kudos to Zubi and his restraint for not literally throwing him under the bus that time. :D
     
  9. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    What have many of those names like Ibrahimovic in common? It is that they time and time again claim they are the best and are special.

    They do that on (extended) video so it's clear their words and contexts are not twisted.

    If there is one thing Cruijff didn't do continuously, it was saying and emphasizing he was the best.


    Espanyol was a team fighting in the relegation zone those years. Deportivo was the only 'village team' that came close to winning the title or a top three position.

    Yes, he tried to deflect pressure away from his team, but that he thrash talked Depor is rubbish. Most famously he said: "Deportivo can not do more than this [winning against Atletico], it has reached its potential, with less physical and psychological effort it will not win, we, unlike them, win our matches without maximum effort." He also said and emphasized that "small Depor" is on course to reach a points total with which Real Madrid and other big teams have won championships. That is hardly thrash talking.

    What we know is that he wasn't a man of false politeness and saying nice things just to be nice.

    We also know that he was - alongside many, many dimensions - a real and true outsider (not by just one dimension, like, say, Maradona of FIFA darling Argentina was a fake-ish outsider, artificially created by the corporate media).

    Many sections of the domestic and international media had a vested interest to cast him in that role and twist his words. From malicious conservative/traditionalist germanophiles as Eric Batty to other mouthpieces of the establishment forces. Jonathan Wilson himself has said/admitted it works that way.

    See also that above article (with Clemente) on the 'zonal marking controversy' and the 'fight for legitimacy'.

    Years later he got the plaudits, but it is understandable him helping to upset the natural order wasn't welcomed with open arms by everyone (natural order in a tactical sense, see that article, but also how Real Madrid won once in two years the title).


    That whole Zubi thing has also developed in some sort of myth.

    Zubi was already making regular mistakes, was 33 years old, and did not fit in the sweeper keeper ideal type (this is btw an interesting facet: Cruijff could handle less-than-ideal circumstances and use and improve successfully what was thrown at him; Zubi was already there when JC14 arrived, while he previously worked with ball playing sweeper keepers as Stanley Menzo). Zubi was still making mistakes at the 1998 World Cup.

    Zubi wasn't fired on the bus ride to the airport, not to mention also the club president had a say in contractual matters (a source of tension). Football clubs aren't run that way. Not now and not then. It is clearly a myth that is 'sadly' propagated by folks as Sad Lowe. Lowe, who is conscious about what are easy targets and how the markets work.


    Cruijff thrash talked Milan, I agree, clear as daylight, but Milan had actually more resources than him and not less. Milan had also many more rest days (not just two) and successfully replaced the referee for someone they liked (this ref replacement for their own desired choice is a hard fact!!). Cruijff suspected that by that stage Milan was buying referees and an easy path to the final, and of course he was later proven right on that one also.

    But what was exactly his main beef with Milan? It was that in playing quality they were a shadow of their former selves, had "betrayed" Sacchi's work, and had an easier path as before to the final. Both were arguably true and far from truly bizarre observations.

    A clear big mistake was to pose with the trophy before the final was played. Capello did the same, but not with a big smile. Cruijff his body language on the photo, with a joyous smile, motivated Milan. They hang the picture in the dressing room. That is not a myth.

    edit: let's not overlook how in 10 seasons as coach he reached 6 European finals plus a semi final, too.
     
  10. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    Yes you are most probably right about this; I was playing the devil's advocate a little bit. :) Practically all of the former players he coached remember him in a positive way & say he improved them (he in turn said the coach also learns from the players). The ones he clashed with like Rijkaard or Laudrup (will) say he did it with the best and sincere intentions for their own well-being.

    In the main I agree he wasn't the easiest nor most humble man, but to say he was the "most arrogant" is the opposite. He clearly wasn't the person to emphasize he is the best all the time, in the way Ibra, Cristiano or Mourinho like to do. That is one example.

    A couple/handful exceptions aside, who should not be ignored (Van Gaal, Van Beveren), most people in the world of football talked with the greatest respect about his (range of) qualities and character traits. This includes folks as Trapattoni and Capello who have both went on camera several times, and explained what made him special. Capello has called him "the biggest football talent of the 20th century" on multiple occasions (I don't say Capello is categorically right and infallible, but it illustrates the 'respect').


    Even Van Gaal has sometimes shown his 'respect'. When he died, Van Gaal called him "one of the true legends of the game."

    And he has also paid from his own pocket (!!) for an advertorial like this:

    [​IMG]

    That I am the one who congratulates Johan Cruijff on his 65th birthday is not so obvious. I will tell you why I am the right man.

    We had and have our differences of opinion, but we also have a lot in common: the affection for Ajax, Barcelona and offensive football.

    Johan placed Dutch football on the map and he also showed himself socially on multiple fronts. This deserves respect.

    In top-class football it can sometimes go tough on the field, but outside the lines the hands are shaken.

    On behalf of all Dutch football fans I wish Johan a wonderful birthday.
     
  11. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    when I talk about Cruyff ,sometimes I forget he is no longer with us(alive)
    The feeling that he passed away way too soon I’m sure is sentiment shared by all football fans

    It’s not a thing I’d wish on anybody but even a all time legend like Pele has been suffering from many complications(health related) in
    Recent times
    He is actually quite old now so when he eventually goes that will leave a huge void with only maradona/platini left from the old guard
    (Eusebio,ADS,Cruyff, George best,puskas were all
    Alive at the start of this century which wasn’t THAT long ago)

    It’s good in a way that Pele has managed to stay relevant(even if his attention seeking methods are questionable)
     
    PuckVanHeel repped this.
  12. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    Well said :thumbsup:

    Yes I think it is a shame he couldn't finish his project and 'dream' at Ajax (he and his buddies believed it was still possible to win the CL with Ajax), while we have already seen some marked improvements since then.

    Four domestic titles in a row (after a 8 year drought), Europa League final with a relatively limited budget (compared to the other EL finalists, including those with TPO constructions), improved Champions League form (this year, but also group stage wins against Barcelona and ManCity previously, incl. when he was still alive) and also improved 'talent production'.

    One of their players (F. de Jong) has just become the most expensive player from outside the Big Five leagues (86 million euros).

    https://www.sueddeutsche.de/sport/fc-barcelona-transfer-de-jong-1.4301019-2
    http://www.espn.com/soccer/blog/esp...be-a-killer-for-ajax-its-their-business-model
    https://www.theguardian.com/footbal...ax-manchester-city-barcelona?CMP=share_btn_tw


    Pity that JC14 fell away when he was only "at 30%-40%" per his own & buddies comments.

    I'm happy my team (Feyenoord) demolished them 6-2 yesterday, but that does not take away the improvements over a longer period of time, once again proved he isn't a myth and stayed relevant for five/six decades.
     
  13. JoCryuff98

    JoCryuff98 Member+

    Barcelona
    Germany
    Jan 3, 2018
    I’m quite pissed considering I like Ajax:mad:. Looks like Feyenoord will win the league again:cry:
     
  14. schwuppe

    schwuppe Member+

    Sep 17, 2009
    Club:
    FC Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih
    You should take a look at the league table...
     
  15. JoCryuff98

    JoCryuff98 Member+

    Barcelona
    Germany
    Jan 3, 2018
    LOL I thought Ajax was 3rd. Now I’m relieved
     
  16. celito

    celito Member+

    Palmeiras
    Brazil
    Feb 28, 2005
    USA
    Club:
    Palmeiras Sao Paulo
    Nat'l Team:
    Brazil
    Geez man ... if you're that bummed I'd imagine you were at least following the league ... WTF !!! :ROFLMAO:
     
  17. JoCryuff98

    JoCryuff98 Member+

    Barcelona
    Germany
    Jan 3, 2018
    I haven’t been following that much this season. In fact, football in general tbh.
     
  18. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    Bummed LMFAO
    you Americans certainly have some interesting colloquial expressions(I thought that was a word generally used to describe what inmates did to/with each other in the US penitentiary system)
     
  19. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord

    One other thing worth saying (and this connects well to what @PDG1978 said to me), which I've said once - one time - before.

    Jordi - Johan's only son - occasionally gets ridiculed, frowned upon and joked about in his own country, but he actually achieved more than close-to-all other sons of great football players. As evidenced by;

    Despite twelve (!) knee injuries and operations, he managed 112 appearances for Barcelona and Manchester United. And over 200 appearances in EPL + PD.

    They're the only father-son combo to score a goal in a major UEFA final (don't know for CONMEBOL; Forlan, Veron did not at least).

    They're the only father-son combo to score a goal in a major tournament (that is: World Cup + European Championships). Also notable is Chicarito (Javier Hernandez) his grandfather scored in the World Cup, like himself.


    @PDG1978 sent me a good comment and drew a parallel without another complex, 'deep' and impactful character, Brian Clough (who had a footballing son too ofc, making the euro 1992 England squad), and said he didn't mind if I shared it.

    "I remember [...] his work with disabled kids etc, that was also part of his Football's Greatest episode I think wasn't it. Maybe he did seem more 'mellow' in terms of general attitude in his latter years, but he would be in a less pressurised situation of course, compared to when managing Barcelona.

    The Laudrup comments were kind of interesting, in that Cruyff has sometimes said things about the style of play being remembered even in defeat (eg Netherlands 74) and Laudrup also said "that was football as I enjoy it" about his Barcelona time I believe, upon departure. It's kind of similar with Clough though - some say he was very idealistic and favouring pure football (with comments supporting fair play from him, like re: :Leeds, and other comments about God not intending football to be played in the air otherwise goal posts would be up there!) while some say he was mostly focused on winning (and pointing to comments about importance of clean sheets, plus the manner Forest won vs Hamburg and suchlike). Character wise also he has some contrasts I think, and while a different guy to Cruyff (different in football philosophy too - less training, less of a pressing game....although still a passing game and still a skilful game) there is also some similar aspect in terms of "he could be hard/harsh" but "he could be generous/kind" (he was very much a left-winger in ideology, and also apparently talked some fan out of committing suicde one time) I think."

    P.S. I saw not too long ago this match, with Laudrup playing for the opposite team of course, and with the score still 1-0 they shared pleasantries (mutual appreciation) it seemed after Laudrup had made a nice pass for Real Madrid.
     
  20. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    Re: 'arrogance' and such, I came across a fine column that I tend to agree with (by Jacques Sys).

    https://sportmagazine.knack.be/sport/magazine/johan-sebastian-cruijff/article-normal-1360683.html


    "With a lot of lyricism and fanfare the last few days have tried to describe the qualities of Johan Cruyff, but the genius of the Amsterdammer can hardly be summarized in words, let alone a column. When Cruyff made his debut in Ajax's first team at the age of seventeen, his name was still written with a K and no one in this frail attacker saw an avant-gardist of modern football. In the turbulent sixties, Cruijff grew into an artist on the field, into a rebellious innovator, a link between an old and new way of playing football. In an attempt to compare him with a composer, Cruijff's biographer, the virtuoso Dutch journalist and columnist Nico Scheepmaker, called him 'Johan Sebastian Cruijff' and referred to Johann Sebastian Bach, who provided two entirely different styles in music. Just as Bach was important for the evolution of the music, so Cruijff will be for the evolution of football, Scheepmaker wrote in 1972.

    They were poetic but especially prophetic words, from a writer who besides claimed "Cruijff is the best, but Keizer is the better one”. Cruijff designed a kind of total football at Ajax, where the opponents were already locked up and controlled on their own half. He came up with a position for himself, a center striker, who headed back to the midfield in a controlling and directing way, and discussed the tactics very detailed with his left winger Piet Keizer. Rinus Michels built his status as a trainer on Cruijff's ideas and let it shine through that he was the inspirational thunder behind the triumphs that Ajax celebrated at the time, while executing what Cruijff told him.

    An aura of integrity and uprightness always seemed to be hanging around Johan Cruijff, but amidst all the hymns it is a bizarre conclusion that not everyone in the Netherlands granted him the success. For example, Rinus Michels developed a jealousy towards Cruijff and refused to sign a trainer's diploma, for a part because his pupil violated too many conventions and established wisdom. Despite the unmistakable respect for persons who helped his curriculum vitae, Cruijff refused to listen to teachers, he felt that they could learn more from him.

    That unshakable belief in himself was the thread throughout Johan Cruijff's career. As a footballer, as a trainer and later also as an analyst, in which he sometimes spoke elusively and inimitably about football, with his well-known aphorisms, without anyone daring to interrupt him. He came over smart, he gave the impression not only of knowing the truth, but of being the truth, but was usually not really associated with arrogance. It is a strange dualism that Cruijff, despite his stubbornness, seldom emphasized his achievements. He remained a well-behaved boy from a middle-class environment, with old-fashioned principles. If his children wanted to go on holiday, they had to work for it. Rarely in his career Cruijff publicly attacked someone, more often he showed his generous side away from the spotlights.

    Football had to be a wonderful attack game for Johan Cruijff. In his ideal image you could plant every player in any position. He dared to put an attacker at right back and vice versa. At one point he became more extreme and reckless in his offensive ideas. As coach of Barcelona, Cruijff once considered a league game without a goalkeeper, he wanted the last man to put on a goalkeeper's jersey and just let them play football. With the help of a few intimates his then assistant Tonny Bruins Slot succeeded in talking that out of his head. It must have been the only time that Cruijff returned to a thought-out idea.

    After his lung cancer was diagnosed, Johan Cruijff withdrew in silence. He actually did not need attention. When he turned sixty, seven books in as many languages appeared about him. Friends know that he has not read one, but that he sometimes browsed in some of those works. He found the buzz around that birthday an abomination, all that fuss did not have to be for him. But to proclaim wisdom, he did not get enough of it.

    In this way he will also be remembered: as someone who has written a chapter in the football history, who helped to bend the trajectory. Or better: as someone who personified the beautiful side of the sport."
     
  21. benficafan3

    benficafan3 Member+

    Nov 16, 2005
    If the Ballon D'Or was still only attributed to European players, as it was in the days of Cruyff and Platini, it wouldn't even be a question as to who is #1. Even with all global players considered in the equation, he still has more Ballons than both Cruyff and Platini.

    As it currently stands, he has 5 Ballons, along with 6 2nd place achievements, losing 4 of them to Messi, 1 to Kaka and 1 Modric.

    So, if things were all equal, Cristiano Ronaldo would currently have 11 Ballon D'Ors, with the nearest competitor in number of titles being Platini, Cruyff & Van Basten with 3 each. With respect to Platini, a number of those would have gone to Maradona had the same rule been established then.

    IMO, it is C. Ronaldo & Cruyff above everyone else, with C. Ronaldo #1 best European Player of All Time.

    Anybody stating they'd rather have another player in their side over C. Ronaldo, given the chance is lying to themselves. He makes every modern defense, athletes with the utmost physical and footballing preparation known in history, crap their shorts. Throw him back in the 1970s and he'd be running absolute circles around anyone and everyone.

    I saw a post from @Gregoriak mentioning how CR7, if transplanted back a few decades, wouldn't be allowed the benefits of the modern game that he has enjoyed, and would be tackled consistently, with no mercy from the ref along with having to play on crappy fields.

    Doesn't matter. Ronaldo has been able to achieve anywhere and everywhere because he adapts to every and all situations thrown his way. He came from extreme poverty in a secluded Portuguese island, not privy to any footballing benefits by any means. It would be absolutely no different if he was transported decades back. This is without mentioning that his formative years were in the extremely physical EPL, where he was lunged at and tackled repeatedly without mercy and still dominated for fun.
     
  22. poetgooner

    poetgooner Member+

    Nov 20, 2014
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    It's an interesting topic for sure.

    There's a discussion on the other thread about how someone like Garrincha would fare in the modern world. My theory is that he wouldn't do so well (ie. not being one of the best wingers in the world, let alone one of the best players in the world) because his lack of professionalism is something detested by so many of the top managers today, and his casual style doesn't fit in with the hyper-aggressive styles of modern football.

    With Ronaldo, it would be fun to hypothesize.

    First of all, I don't think Cristiano Ronaldo is a unique physical specimen like a Lebron James, Bo Jackson, or Herschel Walker. I only started seeing Cristiano Ronaldo at the age of 18, when he moved to Man Utd. I don't remember being as impressed with his athleticism as I was seeing Ronaldo Luiz at 18 or even Mbappe's pace and power at 18 (I could be wrong here, as it was 15 years ago!). Having said that, Mbappe probably benefited more from superior training facilities during his time in Monaco than Ronaldo in Portugal. The athletic attributes that stood out for Cristiano Ronaldo at 18 were agility and balance, imho, and even then, I don't think he had more of it than Ronaldinho at 18 (chose Ronaldinho because they were both dribblers of similar stature).

    Somewhere along the line, Ronaldo developed into one of the most complete athlete in the game's history. I have no doubt that he is more athletic than Ronaldo Luiz ever was, even if he's not as physically gifted. At the peak of his physique, while Ronaldo was not the number one in strength, speed, acceleration, agility, balance, stamina, conditioning, or jumping height he was arguably world-class in all these attributes. Taken together, he was one of the most complete athletic package football has ever seen.

    To me, this suggest that his athletic dominance is a combination of his professionalism (something every coach he's worked with has praised him endlessly for) and modern training (best practices, state of the art facilities, and sports science).

    I don't have much doubt over his technical ability. There was really nothing stopping Cristiano Ronaldo from developing into a world-class athlete back then as far as I'm aware.

    A question I do have, and this is more of a general question, is how influential coaching was back in the days? We know they are extremely important now. Good example is Pep Guardiola and his ability to drastically improve players pretty much everywhere he manage. Maybe we just have better record of things nowadays, and a lot of coaches back in the old days are underappreciated because of it. I don't think it's a coincidence though that Ronaldo improved to become a world-beater at Manchester United under Alex Ferguson.

    I think he's been fortunate to receive very good guidance. An ultra-professional working for one of the most demanding legendary managers of all time is a match made in heaven, at least on paper. Ronaldo has a lot to thank Rene Meulensteen, Ferguson's no.2 at the time, as well, for helping him evolve into the world-class wide forward he is today.

    It has allowed Ronaldo to develop his game into the most complete goal-scorer of all time. I remember when people used to say that 'killer instinct' is something you either have or you don't. People are just born with it somehow? You can't teach someone to smell out a scoring chance like a Gerd Muller. What if that's only true because the coaching institutions were simply not there to accomplish such a thing? But now it is!

    My theory is that someone like Cristiano Ronaldo makes full use of the modern day advantages. The level of coaching and training players receive today is unmatched by anything before. Not everyone benefit equally. I think an ultra-professional like Cristiano Ronaldo benefit more from these advances.

    How would Cristiano Ronaldo have fared without these advances? Would he be more athletic than say, Eusebio, if he didn't benefit from state of the art facilities and sports sciences? Could he match the goal-scoring prowess of Gerd Muller without modern day coaching? Really, the overlying question is: Would Ronaldo's ultra-professionalism had been wasted in the old days, leaving his GOAT-level potential untapped?

    I genuinely don't know. It is fun to think about though.

    P.S. The poor background isn't really a 'negative'. The vast majority of footballers came from poor or working-class background.
     
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  23. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    #173 carlito86, Feb 12, 2019 at 6:02 AM
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019 at 6:16 AM
    I agree with a lot of this and the rule change in the ballon dor post 1995 allowing non Europeans to win is a point I have raised previously

    The only way detractors can explain this reality(of ronaldo being a 10 time ballon dor winner under previous rules)is to say he faced hardly any competition or this is a weak era of European players
    The fact of the matter is Xavi according to many here is the best CM ever or just behind Didi
    Iniesta is allegedly better than Zidane
    Lewandowski is IMO as good as shevchenko
    Robben at his prime was not inferior to figo,nedved,ADP 97/98 amongst others
    There is also ibrahimovic,hazard etc

    In any case this is a thread purpose made for fans to list their favourite European players
    Favourite doesn’t have to be the best could just be your childhood hero
    If some comes along and tries to make a case that Zidane is better than CR based on 5 games
    Or platini who retired at 31 years old and pre 82 wasn’t even at the level of KHR is somehow at CRs all time level than that’s something totally different

    Personally and it’s definitely no secret CR would be my favourite.
    As for the best player at his ultimate peak I would go with Cruyff even though I recognise they are both top 5 all timers and there isn’t a huge gulf between players at that level

    Also as I have previously expressed ronaldo is still playing at the highest level and still going strong
    Juventus are unbeaten in the league if he helps them maintain that position for the duration of a season and wins the CL he will be a all time legend of juventus,Manchester United and Real Madrid and at that point I’d be hard pressed putting anyone above him
    Even for a player of CRs calibre that could possibly be a step too far but we will see if he comes alive in the KO stages
     
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  24. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    I agree there is a good argument to be made for Cristiano but the BdO dynamics weren't always the same. That's quite obvious.

    This was the BdO commentary in 1973:
    http://www.bigsoccer.com/threads/best-football-players-of-all-time.2011432/page-43#post-35772088

    http://www.bigsoccer.com/threads/best-football-players-of-all-time.2011432/page-44#post-35775544

    http://www.bigsoccer.com/threads/best-football-players-of-all-time.2011432/page-44#post-35778303

    For contrast, 1976:
    http://www.bigsoccer.com/threads/best-football-players-of-all-time.2011432/page-51#post-35994393

    Cristiano is widely recognized as Europe's best player for about 11 years. Cruijff was widely recognized as the world's best between 1970 and 1978 (approximately, yes even by Brazilian publications as Placar when they saw and reviewed him). Of course there are always detractors and critical voices.
     
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  25. benficafan3

    benficafan3 Member+

    Nov 16, 2005
    I was framing it as a positive, in that nothing was ever just given to him in his life. He reached where he did and achieved what he did through his own determination, building himself up from the bottom, and overcoming any and all obstacles. And I have no doubt he'd do the same regardless of which decade he was born.
     
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