Top Ten Best Passers Ever

Discussion in 'Players & Legends' started by Dearman, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Bolzplatz
    #601 Gregoriak, Nov 17, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
    I thought I'd share the following vintage article on Johnny Haynes from 1956, as published in "Playfair Football Annual 1956-57" (which deals with 1955-56), as there's quite a bit about his passing skills in it:


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  2. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
  3. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Bolzplatz

    No I have the original book (which is very interesting to read), photocopied the pages, scanned them and uploaded them to a facebook account.
     
  4. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Bolzplatz
  5. Ronaldoz 9

    Ronaldoz 9 Member

    Jun 17, 2016
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    I'll say Platini is the best passer
     
  6. el cabezon

    el cabezon Member

    Jun 28, 2016
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Well for more clarity I'd categorise passing into 3 general categories .

    1) Long Range Passers

    I'd say the likes of Platini, Netzer, Koeman, Veron, Suarez, Hoddle, Pirlo and van Hanegem amongst others come trumps. Especially Netzer who is imo the best in this category (slightly ahead of Platini). His long-range passing was absurd and were almost like laser-guided missiles



    2) Inventive and intuitive passers

    Maradona, Zico, Laudrup, Ronaldinho, Rui Costa, Messi, Riquelme etc with their sheer vision and ability to play defense spitting, eye-of-the-needle passes. Esp Maradona who could pull of passes from insane angles and spin etc, whilst Laudrup was a master at playing it on the deck for runners. Messi's passes from the inside right channels are always a delight to watch and the number of times Alba wastes one on ones is hilarious to say the least. Ronaldinho was also a really inventive passer, capable of making split-second decisions and playing a pass withing the unique parameters of a given situation.

    3) Controlling metronomes

    Didi, Xavi, Rivera, Overath, Bozsik, Beckenabauer, Scirea etc. Players who were the heart-beat of their respective sides. Xavi was arguably the best in this regard as no one could gain a stranglehold and completely dictate proceedings like him, within a given system that is. Didi was the most skilful playmaker and the best playmaking central midfielder of all time imo. Beckenbauer takes the cake as it's almost impossible to stop him tactically from his deep libero position and you can't really man-mark/press him (as Ajax & Holland 1974 found out) and truly nullify him. Granted, he didn't have a great game defensively against Ajax but on the ball he was still his usual imperious self, helping his struggling Bayern side on the ball with his build--up play.

    Now of course, it's a bit reductionist as the likes of Platini, Maradona, Beckenbauer were all capable of doing all three aspects of passing to a high degree but a facet of their passing was more pronounced than the other imo.

    Also honourable mentions to Brehme and Junior from the full-back positions for their passing/playmaking abilities. Brehme was truly a brilliant passer of the ball (from either foot) and was more or less the playmaker from the back for Germany in 1990. So much so that Holland in WC 1990 dedicated a man to him to cut off passing lanes and it seriously hampered Germany - a side with Matthäus in midfield and Augenthaler at the back. Needless to say, Holland had the upper hand during the initial phases of the match and I'd have wagered they'd have won Germany, had it not been for Rijkaard's silly moment of madness. Of course Brehme would go on to score a cracking goal after the game opened up a bit more.

    Junior too in 1982 was a treat to watch, marauding into the midfield from his psuedo left back position and confusing the opposition. Sort of like Breitner but much more cultured and cerebral on the ball. Great playmaker from the back and he himself admitted that he preferred being a midfielder but there was something captivating about him bamboozling midfields with his ability to cut inside out of no where, to take part in the midfield battle and dictate play. Several other playmaking full-backs deserve a nod in their direction too, esp C.Alberto and N.Santos and even Schnellinger and Marzolini for that matter.
     
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  7. Zincubus

    Zincubus Member

    Jun 3, 2009
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    Best passer ever - Glen Hoddle !!
     
  8. SVilarino

    SVilarino New Member

    Nov 1, 2016
    Vermont, Chile, Galiza.
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    Michael. Laudrup. Nuff said.

    PS: Xavi, if you're a fan of pass completion stats (that mean pretty much nothing if not combine with "where" those passes were made).
     
  9. overmars2001

    overmars2001 Member

    Jun 11, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Excellent post. Although I am curious at some of the names left off the list. From your own United Scholes and Beckham. From recent Arsenal Ozil and Bergkamp would deserve a mention with how many you mentioned so far. Liverpool fans would probably put Gerrard up there. From the 90s Figo and Hagi. Going back further Bochini and Gerson. Also Junior was a good passer from midfield for years after he switched from left back.
     
  10. el cabezon

    el cabezon Member

    Jun 28, 2016
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Yeah, it wasn't an all-inclusive list and I might have left out a few names (Iniesta, Schuster for instance), including the ones that you mentioned above, esp Scholes who was always a delight to watch. Sir Bobby too had a lovely long range pass on him, with that cultured left foot of his capable of some real delightful balls, just as they were likely to hammer one in from 30 yards or so.

    Hmmm, I'd actually rate Souness/Alonso as better passers than Gerrard when it comes to Liverpool players. Gerrard had the raking long range pass in his locker, but couldn't really execute it as consistently as expected from a playmaker imo (did refine his passing game and range during his latter years though, esp under Rodgers from the DM position). Excellent all-round player though.

    Gerson is a great shout too, as too would Rivelino from that Brazilian vintage.
     
  11. objectiveneutral

    Oct 30, 2014
    In the post cl era,

    Xavi is the best passer I have ever seen. His only weakness is that he had to pelopina when he couldn't use his right. The variety in his passing is crazy.

    The crazy thing is he always passed to his players strongest foot so it was easier to control.

    In terms if final ball delivery you have Laudrup Riquelme Xavi Messi RuiCosta Pirlo

    Other great passers include De la Pena who isn't talked about a lot, Guardiola, Kroos, Ronaldinho, Riquelme, Scholes etc
     
  12. victorcalello38

    Feb 28, 2017
    Club:
    Montevideo Wanderers FC
    Lionel Messi and Juan Román Riquelme are the two players with the most assistance registered in the history of football? As I could investigate is so. Or at least in the 21st Century
     
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  13. el-torero

    el-torero Member

    Aug 10, 2011
    malaysia
    Club:
    CA Boca Juniors
    Nat'l Team:
    Argentina
    not only with better quantities, but the most important, the qualities speak for itself
     
  14. FootballRules

    FootballRules New Member

    Inter Milan
    May 3, 2017
    1- Diego Maradona
    2 - Johan Cruyff
    3- Zinedine Zidane
    4- Andrea Pirlo
    5- David Beckham
     
  15. Kochees

    Kochees New Member

    Hajduk Split, Tottenham
    Croatia
    May 13, 2017
    Croatia
    Best passer ever

    1.Michael Laudrup
    2.Gianni Rivera
    3.Nils Liedholm
    4.Juan Ramon Riquelme
    5.Johnny Haynes
    6.Michel Platini
    7.Manuel Rui Costa
    8.Gunter Netzer
    9.Luis Suarez
    10.Willem Van Hanegem
    11.Zico
    12.Wolfgang Overath
    13.Xavi
    14.Glenn Hoddle
    15.Didi
    16.Puck Van Heel
    17.Gerson
    18.Andrea Pirlo
    19.Diego Maradona
    20.Gheorghe Hagi
    21.Juan Schiaffino
    22.Cesar Cueto
    23.Nicolae Dobrin
    24.Socrates
    25.Safet Susic
     
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  16. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Nice list - I can see all those choices make sense (I didn't actually know of the real Puck van Heel's reputation as a passer though! - the poster Puck might have some great info there or you might).

    I've come up with my idea/estimation for a top 25 too (I don't know whether I'm focusing a bit more on the technical aspects, and less on the creativity as otherwise yes I think probably Laudrup over Hoddle or Rivera over Beckham for example) - I've come to appreciate the merits of both Haynes and Riquelme more while on Big Soccer I think, especially as passers (a little bit by seeing footage, and moreso by recognising the esteem they were held in by team-mates and/or fans etc) so was a little bit unsure but don't say putting them so high is wrong - anyway I've rounded out my list with them but wasn't completely sure to include them still as Juan Sebastian Veron as well as Rui Costa from recent times, plus Ernst Ocwirk & Raymond Kopa as well as Schiaffino from the 1950s probably by all accounts (and some footage) seemed to have good cases to me too:

    1 - Michel Platini
    2 - Glenn Hoddle
    3 - Michael Laudrup
    4 - Johan Cruyff
    5 - Didi
    6 - Gerson
    7 - Zico
    8 - Nils Liedholm
    9 - Dennis Bergkamp
    10 - David Beckham
    11 - Gianni Rivera
    12 - Andrea Pirlo
    13 - Francesco Totti
    14 - Carlos Valderamma
    15 - Luis Suarez Miramontes
    16 - Jozsef Bozsik
    17 - Diego Maradona
    18 - Xavi
    19 - Ruud Krol
    20 - Josep Guardiola
    21 - Kazimierz Deyna
    22 - Gunter Netzer
    23 - Dragan Stojkovic
    24 - Johnny Haynes
    25 - Juan Roman Riquelme

    As an interesting exercise, this would seem to be our combined idea (with 25 pts for 1st place down to 1 pt for 25th)
    1: M.Laudrup (48), 2: Platini (45), 3: Liedholm (41), 4: Rivera (39), 5: Hoddle (36), 6: Zico (34), 7: Didi (32), 8: Gerson (29), 9: Suarez (28), 10: Riquelme & Haynes (23), 12: Netzer, Pirlo & Cruyff (22), 15: Xavi (21), 16: Rui Costa (19), 17: Bergkamp (17), 18: Maradona, Van Hanegem & Beckham (16), 21: Overath (14), 22: Totti (13), 23: Valderamma (12), 24: Van Heel & Bozsik (10)
     
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  17. Kochees

    Kochees New Member

    Hajduk Split, Tottenham
    Croatia
    May 13, 2017
    Croatia
    Thanks. First, I apologize for my English. Your list is very interesting. Very similar. We have 15 same players. I must immediately agree that Guardiola and Kazimierz Deyna certainly deserve their place among the top 25. Valderrama was surely the master of a short pass. However, his precision game did not create such a chances of achieving goals. Totti and especially Bozsik (for me) are somewhere close to the top 25. Stojkovic was good, something like Schuster. Beckham had one of the best long balls. I forgot to mention Paul Scholes.


    According to my knowledge, the best pass-players before World War II: Rene Petit, Kalman Konrad, Ernst Kuzzora, Matthias Sindelar, Fulvio Bernardini. The four best in my opinion and knowledge were: Puck Van Heel, Fritz Szepan, Giovanni Ferrari and Vaclav Pilat.

    Michel Platini certainly had the ability to be the best pass-player of all time. But often when he could play a real pass, he did not do it. Platini had a very accurate ball, but for me, Laudrup had far more than that. I chose Laudrup as the best because he did it quite differently than others. He added that ball with so much imagination and intelligence. Totally unexpected and unpredictable.
     
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  18. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Your English is very good, and I like your analysis too - surely excellent contributions to this thread.
     
  19. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    In case Kochees wonders what DB10 and JC14 are doing somewhere in a top 50, these are good comps (saw that he had demoted a couple of them in his annual list)




     
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  20. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Yes, good idea to post those on the thread I think especially as I'd accidentally said those Bergkamp ones were on a different channel recently I know.

    I think the Bergkamp ones give a great impression, although of course he's one as much as any probably that I knew of and had a good idea about first hand so they didn't really influence my idea as such.

    Cruyff's case is interesting, in that maybe it's not certain when his peak occurred in terms of passing. Mid 70s and/or as late as the early 80s. Lack of a lot of footage from his Barcelona time makes it a bit uncertain maybe, but in the 80s he did have a deeper role (in terms of starting position) and in the 1974 World Cup and other games around that time clearly he's technically very able and with good variation and creativity and often pinpoint accuracy. I think even if the conclusion was he peaked as a passer in the 80s, it's be fair enough to rate him on that basis rather than as peak player on this thread though (I think the same might apply to Maradona if we think he was a 'better' and more irrepressible player in his best form of 1985 or 1986 as compared to 1988 say). Not to say I'm sure everyone should agree with my idea and put Cruyff top 4, or even top 25 - I do think it's harder to make a call and separate players with passing as compared to dribbling for example in general - the perceived gap from top 5 to top 50 being smaller and less cleat-cut I'd say surely.

    Did you know much about Puck van Heel's passing ability and reputation (no reason why you should though, despite the screen-name and ofc nationality, as he is certainly an 'ancient' legend of the country, less familiar to the modern generations and not so easy to find out about)? Maybe you mentioned something to me before but I didn't recall - I know you PMd me your idea of a Dutch XI and reserve choices etc in your early days on Big Soccer. His name was probably the most intriguing to me on Kochees list anyway I think.
     
  21. Kochees

    Kochees New Member

    Hajduk Split, Tottenham
    Croatia
    May 13, 2017
    Croatia
    I would not be surprised to see Cruyff and Bergkamp among the 50 best pass players of all time. I especially appreciate them as players. Cruyff certainly belongs to the top 3-4 players of all time. Bergkamp with Maradona, Messi, Laudrup, Ronaldinho and Romario belongs to the group of players I personally enjoyed watching them. I know Bergkamp's assistance. For me his best assists were the product of his skill in the first contact and quick thinking. At the highest level, however, they came in his later years. Cruyff was excellent in all aspects of the game. Of course, he had a good pass game. And yet, of course, my subjective opinion is that his pass-game did not have a decisive influence on the status of Cruyff.
     
  22. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    Yes I think it is fair to say many great players (= the very greatest of their era/decade) had their best passing game after they turned 25-26. This is probably true for Puskas and Di Stefano, this is certainly true for Pelé, probably true for Beckenbauer and Cruijff, true for Maradona etc. I know you've observed the tendency to set-piece assists towards the end of the 1980s (among other things) but final ball aside - maybe - it improved in the 2nd half rather than 1984-85 and before. Also Laudrup became much better after the age of 24.

    I think it is correct that the international reputation of Van Heel (he occasionally made it to Europe XIs - as found in a few archives) was partially based on his passing. The short balls and long balls with his feet. It is difficult however to fully specify this, as accounts differ in what they highlight.
     
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  23. Kochees

    Kochees New Member

    Hajduk Split, Tottenham
    Croatia
    May 13, 2017
    Croatia
    It is difficult to have a real insight into the ability of players who played before World War II.
    The advantage is always those players who have left a mark on the Olympic Games and especially those who are remembered from world cups.

    While I was a child, in the mid-eighties, I found some magazines in the attic at my grandmother. These were journals from the beginning of the '50s. In these, Vaclav Pilat and Puck Van Heel were described as the best pass players in Europe before World War II.

    At that time I had already started collecting such things. Unfortunately, I got them out of the newspaper and put them in my notebook (with glue). After a while I moved them to more convenient notebooks. So I destroyed a lot of it. I also destroyed that information of Van Heel. What survived the relocation from the notebook to the notebook has also disappeared over the years in my relocations.

    Something left me in my memory. He-he! From that time, the only thing left was what I personally wrote or transcribed from the newspaper. Sorry for my english.
     
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  24. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    #624 PuckVanHeel, May 16, 2017
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
    Interesting that his name reached other (very different) corners of Europe.

    The status he had for a long time is also intertwined with a few other things:
    1) at his time Feyenoord became the most popular club, and his career saw the completion of De Kuip stadium in 1937 (he inserted the first pile). At completion De Kuip was in terms of construction and architecture way ahead of it's time. Feyenoord had until the 1980s no real competition in popularity. Also the pre-eminence of Juventus in Italy (in terms of fans) dates from the 1930s by the way.
    2) he was famed for his character and his stance. An inspiring and kind-hearted figure off the field and - from the top of my head - there aren't many Dutch/low countries footballers who received a high civilian order/medal for his contribution to promoting democracy/rule of law. From the top of my head: Bram Appel, Ruud Gullit, Johan (Israel and Barcelona/Catalonia/Spain). Unlike a Johan or Socrates he was soft spoken but his working class background made him very popular. After his playing days he consistently downplayed himself with remarks as "yes, that was a funny time" and at his 65th birthday he refused to show up for radio or television. Despite shunning the media when television came up, he remained popular. Only very rarely he appeared in public after his 65th birthday. People liked him for the way he dealt with young kids etc. This soft spoken, modest but popularity cannot be ruled out for how he was perceived. Either way, his character and/or presentation had definitely something to do with it.
    3) he was for 42 years the most capped player. Also a few other turned-into-mythical accomplishments like winning against Arsenal with him as Man of the Match while the full-pros of Arsenal were considered unbeatable at the time (in serious friendlies). There are also a few low points that get cited often like losing against Switzerland at the WC in San Siro on a bad pitch while NL was considered the favorite to win this round. The national team wasn't that big and prominent relative to club football however until the 1970s (or 1980s even, when it turned fashionable among fans to wear strange clothing). He died in December 1984, a few months after the first championship in 10 years (and a double as well).

    Ofc this is only domestically the case and therefore it's interesting a 1950s mag elsewhere highlighted his name (and supposed passing ability).

    edit: Pilat is this one I think?
    https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Václav_Pilát
     
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  25. Kochees

    Kochees New Member

    Hajduk Split, Tottenham
    Croatia
    May 13, 2017
    Croatia
    Certainly not a surprise to glorify Vaclav Pilat or some other footballers from the Czech Republic at that time. For example, Hajduk Split was founded in 1911 in Prague of students from Split. For the first 13 years, all Hajduk coaches were from the Czech Republic. Oldrich Just, Joseph Swagrovsky, Bohumil Macoun Milda, Otto Bohata, Norbert Zajicek, Zdenko Jahn, Karel Stiasny, Frano Zoubek, Rudolf Sloup, Franz Mantler, Jindrich Soltis, Vaclav Pinc and Jaroslav Bohata (some worked together). All of them were Hajduk coaches since their foundation until 1924. Slavia and Sparta were the most popular football clubs. How did the name of Puck Van Heel exist there I really do not know. I believe it is for a reason.
     
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