Old great players lists (esp. 1950s - 1970s) ?

Discussion in 'The Beautiful Game' started by PuckVanHeel, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011

    Yes it is interesting and it is from a time where not much is available (as opposed to various 1990s attempts).

    Just sad and depressing though that so many people fail to see through the nazi censorship and nazi media strategy - not the least since it was written by the diabolical antisemite Otto Nerz (this newspaper - understandably - left out the worst vitriol, but please google if you don't believe me, in particular the article titled "European football liberated from the Jews").

    It is good testing ground, that thread, for spotting susceptible opponents of truth and reason (and, in utmost extremis, glorifiers of civilian murdering U-Boat captains). Fascinating and a very revealing focus group testing.

    This censorship also explains the talking up of Orsi and Monti (the Europe wide admiration of Monti also tells something about the time itself, which then becomes set in stone); the censoring of Britain and British footballers from the story; the complete removal of Jewish footballers; the claiming of Dutch goalkeeper Just Gobel as 'Germanic' and who else are Germanic (and yes, the 'Financial Times' recently wrote that Holland's natural place is one as a "satellite" of Germany...); the talk on Germanic and Roman "races" (sic).

    Bold claims by me? Absolutely not. Rather the contrary. For further backing, and seeing where they were 'ahead of the trend and curve' (or not):


    On the censoring of British football:


    Because of the overall censoring and editorial strategy of the time, and that Nerz doesn't make a comment on why they're left out, I had that suspicion.

    More famous (and an ever-repeated strategy) is the damnatio memoriae of Jewish figures, with Gottfried Fuchs as most famous example since.


    This is quite famous. Click this.

    So yes, I'd say it is "excellent info" given dearth of information, and an extra data point in the genealogy and etymology of these lists (and the evolution in thinking), but it is not so "excellent" given the hidden but real-existing media strategy and censoring. Not all propaganda is automatically loaded with 'totenkopf' lingo, or the like.

    It is maybe uncomfortable to point this out, and it is near impossible to give it a full scope (it is also beyond the scope of this thread); but the uncritical eating of this censored junk with many mindless reps on top is close to depressing. Some just can sell it better.
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  2. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    You might post your thoughts in the actual thread as well.
    PuckVanHeel repped this.
  3. msioux75

    msioux75 Member+

    Jan 8, 2006
    Lima, Peru
    Thanks for the info about the context.

    It's very difficult to see older lists like this. The list posted by me is from the 1970s and have a clear spanish bias.

    I see some notable absents (apart from british players), but overall is an interest article, many new names, some stars confirmed in their status.

    I take it as another piece in the puzzle of old times.
    PuckVanHeel and Gregoriak repped this.
  4. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011

    Yes that 1970s list has a bias as well and though likely being voluntarily made, we know the circumstances (even today Spain has not exemplary press freedom perse - and they have come a long way). 'Funnily' this bias seems to be better noticeable somehow, despite the lesser ideological fanaticism behind the list.

    It's also that for this censoring & promoting simply a lot of research has been done (here other example).

    Even then not every 'decree' can be fully deciphered and proven but - for example - is safe to say there was a policy to praise Monti and Sindelar (the latter might be surprising - that's a story on its own), while on Meisl there was total silence.

    The esteemed writer Dietrich Schulze Marmeling notes: "The two editors of the "Kicker", Hans Joachim Müllenbach and Friedebert Becker, managed it to not name Hugo Meisl in their 1941 released 48-page publication "The Wunderteam: Rise and Glory of the Most Famous European Football Team". Because Meisl was Jewish."

    This can be found in above link too (just search on Mullenbach or Becker, although one also gets other references to similar instances). Meisl is not mentioned by Otto Nerz either, while there is a 'great figures' category in the piece.


    That is of course absurd. Meisl was maybe the most effectual football person of the first half of the 20th century (or entire 20th century). Designer, catalyst, administrator, trainer, coach, manager andsoforth. Had a hand in designing the Mitropa Cup and the World Cup, was really a (rare) difference maker in his profession.

    But biases are not equally worse, or avoidable. That 1999 L'Equipe list for example (on previous page) mentioned explicitly that Ballon d'Or winners Belanov, Sammer and Baggio don't feature in their top 100, and they only included 10 defenders. But just being silent all-together is a completely different level, that there is a policy to be silent on individuals like Meisl or whole groups as Britain after 1940 (not even mentioning they're left out). There was also a difference between the fanatical Nerz/Mullenbach and Becker apparently.

    One of the best guarantees of a free press is a decently schooled and somewhat critically informed public, but it is not easy to be optimistic these days (although in NL the formerly anti-semitic 'De Telegraaf' - another Luis Monti glorifier in their time, in line with the ideological Italian papers - is the by far fastest declining newspaper, YES :thumbsup: hope is not lost). One just hopes people would notice "hey, there is not even a single mention of the Brits (and why they are left out)".
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  5. peterhrt

    peterhrt Member

    Oct 21, 2015
    Leeds United AFC
    #130 peterhrt, Jan 31, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
    Most articles on football are biased in some way, as posters here often point out. Even the more biased pieces can sometimes provide valuable information. These extracts are of particular interest because they cover a time and place that football historians have largely ignored. There are omissions, but profiles of some of the lesser-known players are not readily available elsewhwere. My understanding of the background of the time is not all that comprehensive. Others will no doubt know more.

    There has always been politics in football but never more so than during the 1920s and 1930s. The British associations in the 1920s refused to have anything to do with their counterparts in the former German and Austro-Hungarian empires. They also shunned Mussolini's Italy. British coaches working in these countries were frowned upon by the authorities back home.

    When Central European associations and Italy set up the Dr Gero and Mitropa competitions, Germany was not involved and remained somewhat isolated from the mainstream. Attempts to introduce professionalism were scuppered when the Nazis came to power. Unlike Mussolini, Hitler was not interested in football and did virtually nothing to support the game.

    The national team manager Otto Nerz had watched a lot of football in various countries, as his detailed observations in Kicker confirm. [Wikipedia claims he sought advice from Hugo Meisl so the decision not to mention the Austrian may not have been Nerz's]. How good a manager Nerz was is open to debate. Around 1930 he became convinced that the way forward for German football was to adopt the new British WM system with a similar emphasis on discipline and physical play. He then set about imposing the system on German clubs.

    Most followed his instructions. The Schalke club refused and continued with their 2-3-5 short passing game. They became the best team in the country. Several of Schalke's players had Polish ancestry, including star inside-forward Fritz Szepan, a free spirit not inclined to follow orders.

    Nerz's response was not to pick Schalke players for the German national team. When the 1934 World Cup came around an exception had to be made for Szepan because he was too good to leave out. So Nerz moved him to stopper centre-half to restrict his influence. It seemed a silly decision, but Germany reached the semi-finals. My reading of German is poor, but in one of the Kicker extracts Nerz seems to be praising Szepan as a centre-half. This looks rather like self-justification. The translation will make interesting reading.

    Nerz's luck would soon run out. The only football match Hitler ever attended was at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. Germany lost two-nil to Norway and Nerz was out of a job. Successor Sepp Herberger placed Szepan in his natural position, added some of his club teammates and based the national team's style on Schalke's.

    All worked well until further political pressure from the Anschluss obliged Herberger to include Austrians in the German team. Integration was far from smooth. Sindelar refused to play, Bican applied for Czechoslovak citizenship, and the team got knocked out in the first round of the 1938 World Cup.by Switzerland.

    As far as the Kicker selections are concerned, I would think the absence of British players is down to censorship. Kicker does say they have not been included. Germany and Britain were at war in 1941. Any British publication at the time featuring German players would probably have been censored.
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  6. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    You mean Jimmy Hogan in particular, right? Who was ignored by FA chairman Frederick Wall, telling him that the postwar grants were intended for who had fought. Are there also other less famous examples?
  7. peterhrt

    peterhrt Member

    Oct 21, 2015
    Leeds United AFC
    Hogan certainly. He took over MTK from Robert Holmes. Also the Scots Jake Madden (Slavia Prague) and Johnny Dick (Sparta).

    Steve Bloomer, John Cameron, Fred Spiksley, Fred Pentland, Sam Wolstenholme and John Brearley all spent the war in Germany, having been coaching there when fighting broke out. They were interned in a civilian camp but encouraged by their captors to carry on with the football regardless.

    Frederick Wall was a key figure when the British associations pulled out of FIFA and refused to participate in the World Cups of the 1930s.
  8. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Sorry, I meant examples of being frowned upon in the home country (Britain) and if there's a work where that is noted. About Hogan that is known.

    Here an interesting article featuring Frederick Wall. It is a bit long but worth the read.

    peterhrt repped this.
  9. peterhrt

    peterhrt Member

    Oct 21, 2015
    Leeds United AFC
    Good piece on the 1930s thanks.

    Quote from Norman Fox's biography of Hogan:

    "To put Wall's attitude into perspective, he had lost several close relatives in the war and that must not only have dictated his behaviour towards Hogan but led to his distrust of anything Continental. In international affairs his attitude was that FIFA needed England more than England needed FIFA."

    And another from Phil Ball's Morbo:

    "Pentland was clearly a maverick, a type never comfortably accepted in the English game. 'Lo de Pentland' was obviously not 'lo de Inglaterra'..."

    Links to Madden, Dick and Pentland below. There is mention of Madden fearing he would lose his pension if he returned to Scotland, and of Dick's death being unreported in the English press.

    All were good coaches who would have thrived back home, but they were never offered the opportunity, apart from Pentland's couple of years at Barrow at the end of his career.



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  10. Saeed SASA

    Saeed SASA New Member

    AC Milan
    Aug 6, 2017
  11. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    #136 PuckVanHeel, Mar 12, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
    A couple of things I've figured out the past months with regards to FIFA stamped selections.

    One 'known' all star team was this one from 1998, with a FIFA stamp on it:

    It seems that 'Mastercard' (who organized this) didn't release the points tally, but by seeing the continental teams one can spot who missed out, the ones in bold and underlined:

    Goalkeeper: Lev Yashin (Soviet Union).
    Defenders: Franz Beckenbauer (Germany), Bobby Moore (England), Paolo Maldini (Italy), Franco Baresi (Italy).
    Johan Cruyff (Netherlands), Michel Platini (France), Bobby Charlton (England).
    Forwards: Eusebio da Silva Ferreira (Portugal), Ferenc Puskas (Hungary), Marco Van Basten (Netherlands).

    South America
    Goalkeeper: Ubaldo Fillol (Argentina).
    Daniel Passarella (Argentina), Nilton Santos (Brazil), Elias Figueroa (Chile), Carlos Alberto Torres (Brazil).
    Midfielders: Alfred Di Stefano (Argentina), Roberto Rivelino (Brazil), Didi (Brazil).
    ForwardsPele (Brazil), Diego Maradona (Argentina), Garrincha (Brazil).

    Goalkeeper: Thomas Nkono (Cameroon).
    Defenders: Ali Shehata (Egypt), Ibrahim Youssef (Egypt), Emmanuel Kunde (Cameroon), Illunga Mwepu (Zaire).
    Midfielders: Segun Odegbami (Nigeria), Theophile Abega (Cameroon), Abedi Pele (Ghana).
    Forwards: Laurent Pokou (Ivory Coast), Roger Milla (Cameroon), Rabah Madjer (Algeria).

    Goalkeeper: Chow Chee Keong (Malaysia).
    Defenders: Kim Ho Kon (South Korea), Masami Ihara (Japan), Soh Chi Aum (Malaysia).
    Midfielders: Chen Chi Doi (Taiwan), Karim Bagheri (Iran), Kim Joo Sang (South Korea).
    Forwards: Majeed Abdullah (Saudi Arabia), Kunishige Kamamoto (Japan), Khodadad Azizi (Iran), Cha Bum Kun (South Korea).

    Goalkeeper: Antonio Carbajal (Mexico).
    Defenders:Marcelo Balboa (United States), Gilberto Yearwood (Honduras), Bruce Wilson (Canada), Gustavo Pena (Mexico).
    Midfielders:Ramon Ramirez (Mexico), Jorge Magico Gonzalez (El Salvador), Tab Ramos (United States).
    Forwards: Julio Cesar Dely Valdes (Panama), Hugo Sanchez (Mexico), Hernan Medford (Costa Rica).

    The 2002 version (also in RSSSF link) is not as interesting, since it was voted by the internet public, with Maradona, Pele and Zidane on top.
    The three with the lowest number of votes to make it were Romario, Cruijff and Yashin.

    For the 1994 version (published January 1994), further back in time, they did release the points tallies. Pelé received 991 votes (interesting to compare this with the 1995 FFT vote, where one-third didn't have him in their top five - maybe more skewed towards likability and other factors - the landslide is more similar to the 1990 France Football version).

    1) Pelé, 991.
    2) Beckenbauer, 954.
    3) Cruyff, 911.
    4) Maradona, 907.
    5) Platiní, 872.
    6) Garrincha, 862.
    7) Bobby Charlton, 850.
    8) Bobby Moore, 814.
    9) Matthaus, 727.
    10) Gerd Muller, 705.
    11) Puskas, 659. 12) Eusebio, 642. 13) Yashin, 642. 14) Djalma Santos, 588. 15) Rivelino, 549. 16) Paolo Rossi, 538. 17) Kempes, 535. 18) Didí, 522. 19) Breitner, 495. 20) Passarella, 484. 21) Jairzinho, 483. 22) Gordon Banks, 478.

    Next in line were Neeskens, Fontaine, Facchetti and Scirea (though couldn't see the votes tally).
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  12. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Updating it with what was already posted elsewhere.

    peterhrt shared this (I think I've all of what he showed, except Planete Foot 1996 which is also on RSSSF)

    Finally, the largest quality paper (the newspaper of record) in Belgium 'De Standaard' came with this top 30 in 2004. When FIFA existed 100 years and UEFA 50 years. Certainly discernible is a preference for French players and their northern neighbors. It was written by François Colin.

    (30) Eric Cantona
    (29) Ruud Krol
    (28) Dino Zoff
    (27) Stanley Matthews
    (26) Nandor Hidegkuti
    (25) Gerd Müller
    (24) Daniel Passarella
    (23) Arthur Friedenreich
    (22) Michael Laudrup
    (21) Romario
    (20) George Weah
    (19) Zico
    (18) Paolo Maldini
    (17) Bobby Moore
    (16) Just Fontaine
    (15) Matthias Sindelar
    (14) Ronaldo
    (13) Lev Jashin
    (12) Garrincha
    (11) Michel Platini
    (10) Eusebio
    (9) Marco van Basten
    (8) George Best
    (7) Ferenc Puskas
    (6) Zinedine Zidane
    (5) Franz Beckenbauer
    (4) Alfredo Di Stéfano
    (3) Johan Cruyff
    (2) Pelé
    (1) Diego Maradona

    The text for the top three was (all 30 had text)

    (3) Johan Cruijff wore the shirt of Orange only 48 times, but that was in part his own choice. The Dutchman is the most talented European football player of all time. He was not really a gifted athlete, but thought much quicker than his opponents and was a phenomenal thinker. Cruijff saw and still sees things that others have missed and was very versatile and effective as a footballer. 'JC Superstar' was the main factor to put the Netherlands on the map as a consistent top football nation.

    (2) Pelé debuted at Santos as a 15-year old and two years later in the national team. The black pearl participated in four World Cups and when he canceled the World Cup '74, the whole of Brazil mourned. Pelé was not only technically superior, but also a true athlete who often went for the fight. He grew into the first ambassador of what he himself dared to call 'the beautiful game'.

    (1) Diego Maradona is not an example for youth, but the only player in history who won the World Cup almost on his own (1986), 'single-handedly' as the English say. He almost did that again four years later, on one leg. A genius on studs, but some of his buttons were wacky. The best footballer is not the best collector of trophies, with genius and insanity as close twins.
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  13. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    On the RSSSF website I read this comment:


    It triggered my further interest when I saw it referenced below many wikipedia pages. For example:

    Although it was published early 1996, I think it was written before that since it mentions Weah winning Africa's Footballer of the Year in 1994 and his transfer to AC Milan (completed April 1995), but has no mention or hint on him gaining the Ballon d'Or or World Player of the Year. Romario his journey of troubles ends in September 1995 (at Flamengo).

    One explicit stipulation was that they must include all Ballon d'Or winners and FIFA WPotY winners of the past, and also all World Cup topscorers.

    Heiner Stuhlfauth (b. 1896)
    Jose Andrade (b.1901)
    Ricardo Zamora (b. 1901)
    Matthias Sindelar (b. 1903)
    Ernst Kuzorra (b. 1905)
    Guillermo Stabile (b. 1906)
    Dixie Dean (b. 1907)
    Fritz Szepan (b. 1907)
    Rudi Hiden (b. 1909)
    Oldrich Nejedly (b. 1909)
    Giuseppe Meazza (b. 1910)
    Franz Binder (b. 1911)
    Ernst Lehner (b. 1912)
    Paul Janes (b. 1912)
    Silvio Piola (b. 1913)
    Leonidas (b. 1913)
    Stanley Matthews (b. 1915)
    Alfred Bickel (b. 1918)
    Fritz Walter (b. 1920)
    Ademir (b. 1922)
    Nandor Hidegkuti (b. 1922)
    Billy Wright (b. 1924)
    Jozsef Bozsik (b. 1925)
    Gyula Grosics (b. 1926)
    Alfredo di Stefano (b. 1926)
    Ferenc Puskas (b. 1927)
    Didi (b. 1928)
    Mario Zagalo (b. 1928)
    Lev Yashin (b. 1929)
    Sandor Kocsis (b. 1929)
    Helmut Rahn (b. 1929)
    Djalma Santos (b. 1929)
    Gilmar (b. 1930)
    Jose Santamaria (b. 1930)
    Raymond Kopa (b. 1931)
    Josef Masopust (b. 1931)
    Just Fontaine (b. 1933)
    Francisco Gento (b. 1933)
    Garrincha (b. 1933)
    Kurt Hamrin (b. 1934)
    Omar Sivori (b. 1935)
    Luis Suarez (b. 1935)
    Uwe Seeler (b. 1936)
    Bobby Charlton (b. 1937)
    Gordon Banks (b. 1937)
    Karl-Heinz Schnellinger (b. 1939)
    Jimmy Greaves (b. 1940)
    Denis Law (b. 1940)
    Pele (b. 1940)
    Florian Albert (b. 1941)
    Bobby Moore (b. 1941)
    Eusebio (b. 1942)
    Giacinto Facchetti (b. 1942)
    Bjorn Nordqvist (b. 1942)
    Dino Zoff (b. 1942)
    Paul van Himst (b. 1943)
    Gianni Rivera (b. 1943)
    Jairzinho (b. 1944)
    Sepp Maier (b. 1944)
    Gunter Netzer (b. 1944)
    Luigi Riva (b. 1944)
    Franz Beckenbauer (b. 1945)
    Gerd Muller (b. 1945)
    Pat Jennings (b. 1945)
    George Best (b. 1946)
    Johan Cruijff (b. 1947)
    Teofilo Cubillas (b. 1949)
    Peter Shilton (b. 1949)
    Grzegorz Lato (b. 1950)
    Kevin Keegan (b. 1951)
    Paul Breitner (b. 1951)
    Oleg Blokhin (b. 1952)
    Roger Milla (b. 1952)
    Allan Simonsen (b. 1952)
    Hans Krankl (b. 1953)
    Jean Marie Pfaff (b. 1953)
    Zico (b. 1953)
    Mario Kempes (b. 1954)
    Socrates (b. 1954)
    Michel Platini (b. 1955)
    Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (b. 1955)
    Zbigniew Boniek (b. 1956)
    Paolo Rossi (b. 1956)
    Hugo Sanchez (b. 1958)
    Majed Abdullah (b. 1959)
    Franco Baresi (b. 1960)
    Igor Belanov (b. 1960)
    Gary Lineker (b. 1960)
    Diego Maradona (b. 1960)
    Lothar Matthaus (b. 1961)
    Ruud Gullit (b. 1962)
    Ronald Koeman (b. 1963)
    Jean Pierre Papin (b. 1963)
    Jurgen Klinsmann (b. 1964)
    Marco van Basten (b. 1964)
    Michael Laudrup (b. 1964)
    Romario (b. 1966)
    Hristo Stoichkov (b. 1966)
    George Weah (b. 1966)
    Roberto Baggio (b. 1967)

    It's interesting to compare this to a similar method from around the same time, such as Radnedge's encyclopedia from 1994 where Brolin is the youngest inclusion (see earlier this same thread, use search function if necessary). The inclusion of Milla is probably debatable. Has still some interesting things to read, with key games for players (with some obvious ones like Laudrup vs Uruguay 1986, Gullit vs unbeaten Milan in 1993) and descriptions (Cruijff "a rare range of talents, [...] the world's best midfielder throughout the 1970s"; "Pelé applies as the non-controversial best player in history" etc.). Including Milla and Abdullah is maybe not so good, but good is mentioning what Cubillas is/did outside of scoring 5 goals in 1970 and another 5 in 1978 (validates my idea of taking him for the 1949 year).
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  14. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011

    I didn't know where to do it but I got this a week ago (just had not the time to post):


    At their 100 years existence they listed the "100 legends".

    Included footballers:

    95. Alessandro del Piero
    94. Francesco Totti
    67. Giacinto Facchetti
    65. Fabio Cannavaro
    62. Paolo Rossi
    54. Gianluigi Buffon
    47. Luigi Riva
    38. Paolo Maldini
    32. Dino Zoff
    25. Roberto Baggio
    22. Gianni Rivera
    11. Giuseppe Meazza

    The number one legend is by the way the cyclist Fausto Coppi.

    Obviously it has also some comments/explanation for each of them.
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  15. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Nice find.

    Perhaps surprising that Franco Baresi isn't there? Sometimes it does seem like he is less highly regarded in Italy than elsewhere when some results of Italian polls etc are revealed, but then I suppose the rest of the world will see it in terms of him being one of the highest rated CBs all-time (with Italian midfielders/forwards not quite matching that) and Italians may prefer to glorify and remember their fantasistas, although they are famous for valuing defenders of course and I would imagine if they were asked to name the best ever defensive players Baresi would be prominently mentioned by Italians. Scirea not included either of course.
  16. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Also, it's not a huge shock with 100 people named and not restricted to football players, but my after-thought is that it does seem slightly surprising that both Valentino Mazzola and Sandro Mazzola are missing.

    But then Meazza does double as the number 1 choice for football but also the token inclusion from the sport for early years (the legend of Valentino fitting in that period pre-1950). No Piola there either for example.

    Rivera does seem generally to come out ahead of Sandro in retrospective estimations (I guess the Milan-Inter rival fans may differ on the subject naturally though still, generally speaking) - Rivera winning the vote as best Italian footballer according a poll from the 80s Vegan10 posted not so long ago I think wasn't it too for example?

    I don't know whether Cannavaro gets the nod over Nesta as 'legend' due to the 2006 World Cup. Could be the case I guess.
  17. msioux75

    msioux75 Member+

    Jan 8, 2006
    Lima, Peru
    @PuckVanHeel , also interesting that the two Terzino Fluidificante (Maldini and Facchetti) were placed ahead of the two CB legends, Baresi and Scirea.
  18. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Yes I think you are right about Baresi. That 2015 Gazzetta shortlist (with 20 players) had him not either. I guess it doesn't help he had a sour ending of his career (his last two seasons) and became more error prone as he grew older. It's also commonly thought his career got a (further) boost towards the late 1980s and how Milan developed - might be if the ages of Maldini and Baresi are the opposite you'd get the reverse order.

    Also note - but it isn't said explicitly - that all the Italian CL winners are represented, except for 2010 (which had no Italian in the starting XI, with Balotelli getting the most minutes and then Santon, Materazzi). This might become problematic if Baresi gets cramped in.

    Scirea got only one vote for the Ballon d'Or in his entire career, and if he'd be included (I don't say that would be wrong), he would be the exception from that point of view.

    This is how he's summed up: "Defender and the captain of Italy World Champion in 2006, the year in which he was the last Italian to win the Ballon d'Or. Holds the cap record, 136, and most often captain, 79, in blue. During his career he wore the jerseys of Napoli, Parma, Inter, Juventus, Real Madrid and again Juve before closing out in Al-Ahli."

    Personally I'm surprised Totti is put narrowly ahead of Del Piero. I'd imagine ADP his semi final goals in 2006 (and he has three times as many goals for the Azzurri as Totti) as well as his European record could have been decisive.
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  19. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Yes, to quickly add a comment again: I had had some similar thoughts after my original post actually - about Maldini having more winners medals than Baresi, and sharing around inclusions amongst teams (also Facchetti in but Mazzola not for example).

    One thing that might have been seen as 'going for' Baresi and Totti re: such an exercise (but wasn't considered or was negated perhaps) could be numerous highly-rated (by Italian journalists) Serie A seasons, as shown on DBS Calcio (but in general that seems to be the trend with all sources - the Football BlogSpot site shows some others of course).
  20. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Sandro Mazzola undoubtedly suffers from that the nine months younger Rivera is in 95% of the cases seen as the more significant and talented player. Rivera is generally put ahead, by Italians and non-Italians alike it seems. The next best option would be Mario Corso, maybe Picchi (Suarez is not Italian ofc).

    Facchetti has some things going for him:

    - Most prolific Italian defender in history. In 1965-66 Serie A season he scored 10 goals without penalties and league goals per game of 2.2. Above the average skills with the ball.

    - Was for a quarter century the most capped outfield player, and for a quarter century most often captain (11 times more than Zoff).

    - Even if he did not reach his best level, he captained the only post-war Italian team to reach back-to-back finals. (funnily, he was for 11 years Italy captain but Mazzola held this position for Inter until 1977).

    - Finished second in Ballon d'Or in 1965, 8 points behind Eusebio. Sent off only once in his entire career, in 1975.
  21. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Yeah, understandable in a list like this that the choice of Rivera (as trequartista, albeit sometimes Mazzola could be more second striker and Rivera more midfielder) and Facchetti might preclude naming Mazzola too. In a football-only list with several stars/legends of various clubs he'd be there I guess somewhere.

    Facchetti was quite pioneering as an attacking left-back I think (interestingly in a famously catenaccio team). I noticed among the 1967 Ballon d'Or vote comments that comme posted recently, was an observation that Gemmell of Celtic resembled Facchetti in that way.
    PuckVanHeel repped this.
  22. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Facchetti was pioneering but when he got into the team the goals conceded declined from 40+ to 30- (with Herrera, Suarez and Picchi already there). Also defensively he contributed I think. To then also score well is peculiar.

    Of course none of those great players are always perfect:

    PDG1978 repped this.
  23. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    As addition to the above, I forgot to mention Italian sources rated him as the best outfield starter by quite some margin, 0.41 higher than the next best Italian starter (excluding the goalkeeper).

    msioux75 repped this.
  24. Ariaga II

    Ariaga II Member

    Dec 8, 2018
    Hey people. It's me, Arriaga/Harokin. I'm back again, with an exciting new project in the works. :D In the meantime, some of my old ones are still unfinished. Here's a review of the next chapter of "King Football", the Finnish soccer-book from the 1940s.

    1930 and 1934 World Cups

    The review of the World Cups from the 1930s offer pretty much the usual stories I assume everyone knows about these tournaments. There were a lot of minor scuffles and fights in a lot of the matches, especially Chile-Argentina. Peru put up a good fight against Uruguay, and the US played high-quality soccer (maybe he means "for them"?).

    Players that get a mention for their quality:
    France: Thepot
    Argentina: Evaristo-brothers, Monti, Scopelli.
    Uruguay: Masceroni, the half-back line, and Scarone and Cea. Anselmo is surprisingly mentioned as the best Uruguayan player.

    1934 notes:
    There is no doubt Spain would have beaten Italy if it wasn't for home advantage. In general Italy weren't the best team in the tournament. They had a hard time scoring, and only did so after they had physically roughed up their opponents. Monti was "the shame of civilization".
    Several Swedes get a mention (we're in Finland, after all).
    Some best players:
    Czechoslovakia: Puc, Nejedly, Zenisek. Planicka was better than Zamora.
    Germany: Conen, Szepan

    Sindelar, Sarosi and the Oriundi are mentioned for their fame.

    Strength-level analysis

    The next chapter is an interesting one, as it attempts to compare the strength levels of England and Continental Europe.

    "It was admitted that because of its scope/extent [not sure if I got this right], English soccer was undoubtedly Number one in the world. At the same time, questions were asked whether a continental team could in their finest moment surprise, even defeat, the English?"

    "In England and Scotland it's very difficult to assemble a fully polished national team, which would absolutely be the best in the land. For Albion has an inexhaustive reserve of high-quality ball-players, among which it's impossible to choose the best possible team at a certain moment. It would change in a week, so a permanent team could never be assembled."

    "Continental teams are more easily assembled than British ones, and a team can be assembled that stays together for several years. "

    The book goes through the games England had against continental opposition. England were expected to crush the Wunderteam like they did Spain, but instead Hiden, Sezta, Mock, Sindelar, Gschweidl and Schall "proved to be exactly the equal of even the finest English talent".

    The book concludes the analysis by highlighting the role of playing conditions, particularly the pitch. In England football is a winter sport, and in Europe and SA a summer sport. "Thus it could be said two types of football is being played. England is better than the others on their own pitches, while the continentals are equal to them on summer pitches".

    More to come on strength levels..
    msioux75 and comme repped this.
  25. Ariaga II

    Ariaga II Member

    Dec 8, 2018
    The next chapters examine the 'current' state of a couple of major football powers.


    The Soviet Union is introduced as a mysterious "new major operator in the footballing front", and the book goes through some of their soccer history, league structure and the origins of the clubs. It's interesting to me how neutral the book is towards the USSR considering it was published only a few years after Finland's traumatic wars against them.

    Soviet teams played few matches against foreign teams, but apparently they played fairly evenly against Zidenice (away) and Sparta Prague (home) even before WWII. The book also says Soviet teams played against French and Uruguayan opposition. Anyone have any info on these matches?

    The then-recent British Dynamo-tour is described tactfully as an atom-bomb sensation and the biggest soccer sensation since the Uruguayans in the Paris Olympics. It was considered incredible they could have reached the same level as England after being so insular with their soccer, the highest achievement of Soviet sport. Most of the Dynamo players are mentioned by name, with Khomich and centre-half Semichastny the top guys. CSKA-player Fedotov is described as the "Soviet Lawton". No mention of Bobrov, surprisingly.


    According to the book, those who had seen Argentine football were convinced it was "the finest brand in the world" and clearly superior to the European game. A Swedish reporter who visited Argentina said a mid-ranking side like Platense would easily win the Allsvenkan. "Argentinian football-experts consider it a self-evident fact that their football is the world's best, and clearly superior to what England has to offer. One may note it is a boldly self-assertive thing to say, but may well be true, especially taking into account England's post-war football. Yet we still reckon that in normal circuimstances, which English football will soon reach again, the British professional may still have something to teach even to the South Americans".

    The best part is once again the description of South American gamesmanship: "A player, who has had the ball snatched from him in a less favorable manner, will happily lurch together in depression with a load moan, and can only be returned to normal condition after a thorough cuddle and sentimental condoling, which both the audience and the other players are forced to participate in."


    The book quotes Rudolf Eklöv, a Swedish journalist who was with IFK Norrköping in their 1946 tour. According to him, English football has clearly regressed, and is no longer as good as it was before the war. The best players get a mention:
    Frank Swift, the best goalkeeper England has ever had.
    Georg Hardwick, of the same level as the famed Hapgood was in his prime.
    Tommy Lawton, the finest centre-forward England has ever had, and the likes of whom the world has never seen.
    "But Lawton is also the only one who raises respect in today's continental observer. The rest of the team are not absolute top-class, despite their high technical level, and I surmise that at any day now England may suffer their first home loss". Against a particularly inspired continental side, that is.

    Norrköping had a successful tour, and apparently English papers said they would easily win the (English) championship? Sounds pretty suspicious to me.

    The reason given for the regression is English post-war conditions. The need for labor was so great most English footballers were forced to find jobs, and could no longer train as often as they did pre-war.

    The author of the book agrees with the Swedish assesment, but is confident England will soon reach their pre-war level again. "The level of English football is consistantly the highest in the world despite the conditions, for no other country in the world can present as extensive and capable a playing army as that of England."


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