Football's What-if Duos

Discussion in 'The Beautiful Game' started by poetgooner, Dec 20, 2017.

  1. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Putting two and two together, regarding Alan Sugar 'slip-ups' in the summer of 1995, Jurgen Klinsmann and Dennis Bergkamp at Tottenham.

    Zinedine Zidane in the same team as Alan Shearer at Blackburn could have happened if Blackburn's owner had wanted it seems. Maybe Shearer would have still gone to Newcastle before long anyway.
     
  2. Mmmm, remember that neither Roy Makaay and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink ever were considered good enough in the Netherlands. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink even contemplated giving up football alltogether.
    From underwelmers in the Eredivisie to murderers of defenses in La Liga, BuLi and EPL plus in the European Cup tournements.
     
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  3. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Henrik Larsson too, although as you, Puck and others will know about I think he was already showing signs of being a very good player in general without being a prolific scorer wasn't he?

    Interesting how later on the opposite happened with Alves/Kezman/Huntelaar perhaps to an extent too. Partly changes in the league I guess and partly just the fact some players careers progress in different ways as they develop.
     
  4. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    #29 PuckVanHeel, Dec 31, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
    Also at youth level this happens quite often. There are some Belgian youngsters who have moved early abroad (the last five years many more, because of the risen fame) and then cripple away. Those were rated just as high, perhaps even higher, than the ones who have made it. De Bruyne stayed in Belgium until the age of 21 and is at 26 maybe the best attacking midfielder in world football. But with youngsters/players who are full into their physical and mental development this is always hard to predict (see now that KDB was also born in June, thus quite late within his own age group).

    Unlike Roy Makaay I think Larsson was always a proper footballer and already very good in his movements while at Feyenoord (the type of footballer that is liked) but yes he is also a good suggestion. At Feyenoord he was often substituted or left on the bench. He was however more of a (very talented) support player than the main striker like at Celtic. Later at Barcelona and Manchester United (aged 35) he was a well versed support player again, and becoming 'man of the match' in that way at the 2006 Champions League final.

    Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is in that regard a odd one (compared to the style of Makaay, who was more like the Crespo's of his time). Indeed, he nearly gave up playing football but later became a proper striker at both the Primera Division (scoring and assisting against the big teams) and Premier League. He's 21th all-time in Premier League assists (excl. set piece assists he would rank higher) in just 288 games (21564 minutes, which converts to 240 full games). He is one of two players to lead the Premier League in both goals and assists (Andy Cole in 1993-94 the other one). If you look at the goals he scored - in particular against the top teams which are surprisingly quite a few - he drilled them in with his left and right foot, curved them in with his weaker left foot, laser guided the balls in from long ranges (over 20-25 meters). So that is the odd thing; it is unlikely that he learned all of that after he turned 23.

    For Van Dijk there are some sensible explanations, like how Groningen played man against man in defense. This did not suit his defensive, anticipating abilities in the best way (or made him look impressive in highlights) and it pulled a shadow over his footballing abilities. Furthermore, such scheme is vulnerable to movement (he is not particularly fast) and is prone to puncturing shape if dragged out of position (or prone to having the wrong bodily momentum). This explanation makes some sense - it nullified what makes him look great in highlights. Still, going to 0 "errors leading to goal" in 80 games for Southampton is a gigantic improvement (just as a quick juxtaposition: John Stones has in the league alone 7 "errors leading to goal" in 116 games). Like with Lukaku I am still somewhat skeptical but we'll see.

     
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  5. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    Zidane and Rui Costa at Barcelona.
     
  6. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Could have been great to watch.
     
  7. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    What made Hasselbaink also a bit of an odd one was that he was good in the duels, like VvD it seems.

    http://www.foxsportsasia.com/football/premier-league/767437/can-van-dijk-make-difference/amp/

    https://uk.sports.yahoo.com/news/virgil-van-dijk-numbers-suggest-192713038.html


    Yes, the football landscape could have looked different if Zidane had gone to Barcelona at the age of 21, 22, 23. Or to say it better, if the FCB chairman had cleared the deal.
     
  8. La-Máquina

    La-Máquina BigSoccer Supporter

    Mar 5, 2013
    Club:
    Juventus FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Italy
    ‘92 Ballon d’Or winning/Serie A top goalscorer Marco van Basten and ‘92 Dream Team playmaking extraordinaire Michael Laudrup.

    90’s Alan Shearer and Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United. Complete domestic dominance and goals galore playing alongside Beckham/Scholes/Giggs/Sheringham.

    Inter and Milan united! Late 80’s/early 90’s Franco Baresi and Giuseppe Bergomi. Or infact, Baresi and Jürgen Kohler. Probably the best pure defenders of their time. The best libero-stopper partnership I can think of.

    Two complete strikers from late 90’s Serie A, Ronaldo and Batistuta. Batistuta was sublime with Rui Costa, so I’d love to see a Zizou-Batigol partnership.
     
  9. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    #34 PuckVanHeel, Jan 1, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
    In the end their best years did not overlap, but imagine a world where Nesta and Rio Ferdinand both end up at Manchester United. Something that even (at a very small scale) continued when Rio Ferdinand was banned from playing football.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ferguson-restarts-nesta-hunt-1.429456
    https://www.theguardian.com/football/2002/mar/11/europeanfootball.sport2
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/m/man_utd/3336613.stm

    When Rio Ferdinand became the most expensive defender (overtaking Thuram), he cost as much as Nesta (#3 in the list) and Cannavaro (#5) combined, and almost as much as Nesta and Stam (#4 in the all-time list) combined.




    Rio Ferdinand is two-and-a-half years younger than Nesta.

    But again, when all was said and done their best years did not overlap. The injury free and/or most reliable years. Rio Ferdinand had his most impregnable years (with the criticized aspects muted down, the lapses of concentration, the perceived careless things) with Vidic next to him.

    By the time Nesta had his injury troubled periods behind him, both were past their (very) best years.


    edit: telling for the 'careless' criticism during Ferdinand's earlier years is that he's #2 all-time in own goals (#4 when including First Division of past 60 years). Jamie Carragher is #1. Ferdinand has as many own goals as Terry and Adams combined (or Terry and Campbell combined).
     
  10. poetgooner

    poetgooner Member+

    Nov 20, 2014
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    I'm not sure if Nesta/Rio would be as complimentary a partnership as Vidic/Rio, even if the talent level would be much higher.
     
  11. There has been a dream combo with Cruijff and Gullit at Feyenoord, making us champions. I was so sad Johan didnot want to play in the Euro Cup with Feyenoord the next season, as he decided it has been his farewell season.
     
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  12. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    When thinking about this I also thought about Ibrahimovic (to an extent). Which made me think that he could have played together with Shevchenko if he had moved to Milan instead of Juventus.

    Maybe I was a little bit harsh-ish too with Makaay (seeing this discussion here on Pes Stats, from that post on). Despite a number of seasons with a fairly low count, he does have two league seasons with more than 15 assists. Namely 1999-00 (16 league assists, with Depor winning the league) and then during 2004-05 at a customary championship for Bayern (transfermarkt and kicker say 14, OPTA says 16 in the league). It is correctly mentioned on pes stats that he was a second striker back in Holland (similar to RvN, who was an unremarkable central midfielder until converted into a striker - quite surprisingly Makaay has many, many more goals from outside the box than RvN managed in his career)

    Anyway, Shevchenko could have played together with Ibrahimovic. Strange to see that Ibra is only five years younger. Bit like how Xavi Hernandez is only two-and-a-half years younger than Raul Gonzalez, while it feels like an entirely different period in time.
     
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  13. tLB Odiseo

    tLB Odiseo Member

    Necaxa, Galatasaray, Real Madrid
    Dec 18, 2011
    México
    Club:
    NEC
    Nat'l Team:
    Mexico
    Ryan Giggs - Luis Figo
     
  14. Excape Goat

    Excape Goat Member+

    Mar 18, 1999
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    -- Sivori and Di Stefanio were the best players in 1958. What if they both payed for Argentina? I hhave a blog post about that team.

    -- What if Duncan Edwards played with Charlton at their prime? Manchester United won the European Cup without Edwards and England won the WC without him.

    -- What if the French-born Aubameyang played with Griezmann at Euro 2016?

    -- I put a Etoo who was co-owned by Real Madrid back to Real Madrid in 2004 and pair him with either Ronaldo and Raul. Ronaldo and Raul did not work out for certain, but Etoo can fit either one of them.

    -- Giuseppe Rossi wth Donovan and Dempsey for the USA at South Africa 2010 would have been great. Subotic was also eligible for the USA. Vedad Ibisevic probablu would be able to obtain US citizenship. Fabian Johnson and Jermanine Jones can be added to the team.

    -- Vieri was eligible with Australia. The twin tower of Viduka and Vieri would be awesome.

    -- Yildray Basturk was born in Germany. I meant to hook him up with Effenberg, but they are 10 years in age difference. Effenberg was in decline by 2002. Basturk was not ready for Euro 2000. Anyway, he did well with Ballack for Leverkusen. If they could link up with the German National team.
     
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  15. Edhardy

    Edhardy Member+

    Sep 4, 2013
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Club:
    Juventus FC
    What do you think Ibra meant by that quote. I remember during that season they played a 4-2-3-1 at times with Messi playing off Ibra. Was that part of the reason? I know in Ibra's book he talks about Messi insisting on playing in the middle and that having a negative effect for him?

    As for Cesc and Sanchez, I thought that Pep's initial ideas with them were good and they started off well as Michael Cox notes in this article

    http://www.zonalmarking.net/2011/08/29/barcelona-5-0-villarreal-tactics/

    He had Cesc, Iniesta and Thiago in the middle, presumably along with Xavi they'd have shared minutes. But injuries became a factor as the season wore on (Abidal's condition, Puyol became really injury prone too, and Iniesta couldn't play as much as in the previous season).
    The way I remember it, mostly from articles by the likes of Graham Hunter, Pep had in mind a line up of

    Pedro-Messi-Sanchez
    Iniesta-Xavi-Cesc
    Busquets
    Abidal-Pique-Puyol

    The idea was really good, and the few times he got them playing together in that setup or most of them anyway, it was a thing of beauty. Then of course he left after that season... I'm of the opinion that they both fitted his ideology and what he was trying to implement and even showed glimpses, Sanchez was capable of taking on players out wide unlike Pedro & Villa, and Cesc offered them verticality from the midfield. I believe given a second season like he has done with City (and specifically De Bruyne, Sterling, Otamendi, Stones who look to have gone up a level) both Sanchez & Cesc would have been considered good signings and a success
     
  16. poetgooner

    poetgooner Member+

    Nov 20, 2014
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Given all that has happened, I must wonder about the KDB-Salah duo at Chelsea, especially with Hazard there as well. It could easily be one of Europe's top sides today.

    Could also throw Lukaku in there as well, if one rates him.
     
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