Your Top 10-100 Players Of The Century?

Discussion in 'Players & Legends' started by Viola Star, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. Viola Star

    Viola Star Member

    May 9, 2006
    ACF Fiorentina
    Nat'l Team:
    I started doing this and got carried away. This is my list based on what they've done this century. There were a lot of hard choices. I had to leave out Cafu. I might have forgotten someone big. Let me know and post your own!

    Check out this link for something similar that Four Four Two did recently:

    1. Messi
    2. Ronaldo
    3. Pirlo
    4. Xavi
    5. Gerrard
    6. Zlatan
    7. Ronaldinho
    8. Scholes
    9. Kaka
    10. Totti
    11. Zidane
    12. Etoo
    13. Villa
    14. Iniesta
    15. Neymar
    16. Figo
    17. Suarez
    18. Henry
    19. Buffon
    20. Shevchenko
    21. Robben
    22. Giggs
    23. Modric
    24. Aguero
    25. Riquelme
    26. Keane
    27. Lahm
    28. D. Silva
    29. Ramos
    30. Lewandowski
    31. Fabregas
    32. Sneijder
    33. Vieira
    34. Busquets
    35. Ribery
    36. Neuer
    37. Xabi Alonso
    38. Schweinsteiger
    39. Casillas
    40. Van Persie
    41. Nedved
    42. Lampard
    43. De Rossi
    44. Benzema
    45. Deco
    46. D. Alves
    47. Van Nistelrooy
    48. Klose
    49. Rooney
    50. Drogba
    51. Hazard
    52. Cannavaro
    53. J. Zanetti
    52. Vidic
    53. Maldini
    54. Higuain
    55. Tevez
    56. Mascherano
    57. Bale
    58. Yaya Toure
    59. Muller
    60. Del Piero
    61. Nesta
    62. Pique
    63. Ferdinand
    64. Puyol
    65. Di Natale
    66. Larsson
    67. De Bruyne
    68. Lucio
    69. Carlos
    70. Kompany
    71. Torres
    72. Pires
    73. Carvalho
    74. Van Der Sar
    75. Bonucci
    76. Beckham
    77. Godin
    78. Ronaldo (Brazil)
    79. Zambrotta
    80. Bergkamp
    81. Trezeguet
    82. Toni
    83. Juninho P.
    84. Ayala
    85. Kane
    86. Forlan
    87. Arshavin
    88. Rivaldo
    89. Rui Costa
    90 Salah
    91. Owen
    92. Vieri
    93. Aimar
    94. Batistuta
    95. Makelele
    96. Thuram
    97. Kahn
    98. Seedorf
    99. Inzaghi
    100. Verratti
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  2. Edhardy

    Edhardy Member+

    Sep 4, 2013
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Juventus FC
    Top 100 is really ambitious. Much respect for even attempting that.

    1. Lionel Messi
    2. Cristiano Ronaldo
    3. Ronaldinho Gaucho
    4. Thierry Henry
    5. Xavi Hernandez
    6. Andrea Pirlo
    7. Gianluigi Buffon
    8. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
    9. Andres Iniesta
    10. Arjen Robben / Luis Suarez
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  3. La-Máquina

    La-Máquina BigSoccer Supporter

    Mar 5, 2013
    Juventus FC
    Nat'l Team:
    From what year are we judging?
  4. Edhardy

    Edhardy Member+

    Sep 4, 2013
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Juventus FC
    Don't know what the OP had in mind, but technically this century started on January, 1, 2001
  5. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Real Madrid
    #5 carlito86, Jun 25, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
    Zidanes greatest periods of form were actually in the early noughties and not the 90s

    Zidane was unanimously regarded during the 2000-2003 period as a higher quality player than Henry
    The latter may have longevity on him during the 21st century but definitely not peak especially if one considers the premiership wasn't considered that highly during 2000-2004
    at international and champions league level Zidane produced better performances more consistently in KO rounds
    This is clear as day and Zidane produced his league performances in the 2 highest rated leagues of his era (Italy and spain)

    Im not saying Zidane should be unanimous 3rd place but top 10 is beyond doubt

    It is unfair you've penalised Zidane I'm assuming for lack of longevity in this century but overrated Ronaldinho for peak

    Xavi hernandez 08/09 was in his own unglamorous way as effective as anything Ronaldinho showed at club level
    If 5-6 elite performances vs big teams are your yardstick for measuring a players greatness than xavi also has those performances
    Xavi vs Manchester United 2009(CL)
    Vs real Madrid (la liga 10/11)
    Vs arsenal 2011(CL)
    Vs Manchester United 2011
    Vs italy 2012 (euro 2012 final)

    Xavi also has longevity on Ronaldinho this century
    More top 5 ballon dor placements
    More esm rankings
    More club titles
    More international titles

    Nostalgia aside I see the top 10 of this century as
    Lionel Messi
    Cristiano Ronaldo
    Xavi hernandez
    Zinedine Zidane
    Ronaldinho/henry both tied 5th
    Francisco Totti
    Arjen robben
    Andres iniesta
    Neymar JR
    Pavel Nedved
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  6. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Pirlo is seriously overinflated here. There is genuinely nothing he did that Modric didn't do. In many seasons he wasn't the main midfielder of Milan (excluding Kaka) or Juventus. Nor was he the most crucial one, apart from 2011-12 (and maybe 2003-04, 2005-06).

    Feel the same for Ronaldinho, Iniesta and possibly even Buffon. Ronaldinho has become quite overinflated with the years.

    Didn't you say previously a few times that Totti was a very good player but not a great one? (given his close to 'no show' at continental and international level and him acting as a luxury player)
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  7. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Real Madrid
    #7 carlito86, Jun 25, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
    Totti has a lower peak than robben but played till 40 years old as a starter in a top team
    His longevity IMO actually holds more weight compared to giggs who was never really seen as top 20 in the world

    Totti was for a brief stage 2002-2004 arguably a top 5 player in the world
    I also think several good seasons spread over 15 years isn't something many could claim

    As a veteran playmaker albeit in the declining years of serie A(2012/13)

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic could've been potentially underrated in my list (especially if emphasis is placed on longevity and not prime
  8. Tropeiro

    Tropeiro Member

    Jun 1, 2018
    That's simply not true, he was normally seen as the world best player in 2004-2006 even when he wasn't. Just see: he won the Ballon D'or in 2005, Fifa World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005, voted as the best player in World Soccer in these years as well. He just entered as the Best Player of the World and the biggest hope for the clearly favorites Brazil in 2006

    You could say he was overrated, but not that he 'become' overinflated because it is simply false.
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  9. Viola Star

    Viola Star Member

    May 9, 2006
    ACF Fiorentina
    Nat'l Team:
    #9 Viola Star, Jun 25, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
    2000 or 2001, whatever suits. I had 2000 in mind. It was a mixture of peak
    form and quality displayed over a long period.

    I forgot about Ozil, Sanchez, D. Milito, Pogba, Vidal and Juan Mata. All probably
    deserve a place. I left out Mbappe cause he's just starting off but maybe
    he deserves a place too. I started off compiling a top ten and eventually
    I ended up doing one hundred, which is very ambitious indeed; considering
    I don't watch as much football now as in the past. I'm not that familiar
    with the modern game.

    Also another mistake I made is putting Bonucci up there in 75. I'm not
    sure he should be on the list at all. It sure ain't easy.

    I always considered Zidane and Iniesta overrated, although admit I have
    soft spot for midfield playmakers over headline-grabbers.
    Pirlo and Modric are very close statistically over the last ten years.

    Pirlo was at Milan at the start of the century. Modric
    before the 08/09 season was playing in a third tier league
    in Croatia-so there's a big difference for me.

    Kaka not being a midfielder, I think Pirlo was the main midfielder
    at Milan (and Juventus) in most years. If you check out appearances
    and stats, they tend to back that opinion.

    Pirlo was more important to Italy than Kaka was to Brazil and also
    he performed at the top level for longer than Kaka did. Kaka was
    a flashy headline grabber but he generally didn't contribute as much
    to a game as Pirlo. Again, stats tend to back that opinion.

    I strongly disagree with the assertion that Pirlo is overrated.
    People tend to laud flair players who score goals and overlook
    the grafting pivots in midfield who make teams tick. Kaka
    rarely made a team tick-he was the icing on the cake.
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  10. Edhardy

    Edhardy Member+

    Sep 4, 2013
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Juventus FC
    - I wasn't penalizing Zizou, it's just that I started from January 2001 - that takes away Euro 2000, and one half of his 2nd best season in this period (the other being 2002-03).
    - Henry too has really big performances around that time (Inter Milan, Roma, Juventus, Liverpool (hattrick), Spurs in 02), and he was a more consistent league performer. His 02/03 season is majestic.
    - Again, I haven't punished Zidane and overrated Ronaldinho. I rate Ronaldinho's 04-06 higher than Zidane's 01-03, much higher. Then I rate the bits and pieces (PSG days, 06-07, 09-10 at Milan, 2011 at Flamengo, 2013 at Mineiro) as enough to create daylight between them. They add up.
    - I don't know why it's assumed "5-6 performances vs elite sides" is my yardstick... I haven't mentioned such a thing. I just find Ronaldinho was the much superior player. Xavi was great from Euro 2008 until the CL final in 2011 then the drawn out decline started, culminating in the 3-1 defeat at the Bernabeu in 2014, having gone through the 5-1 thrashing by Netherlands and the 7-0 vs Bayern. Some Barcelona fans noticed it back then and wanted Thiago to replace him as early as 2012-13 season. Before 08 he was good of course, a bit underrated. But still I feel Ronaldinho has an equal number of great seasons (individually greater too), and more "good" seasons.
  11. Edhardy

    Edhardy Member+

    Sep 4, 2013
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Juventus FC
    My argument for Pirlo ranking high:
    Best player at WC 2006
    Best player at Euro 2012
    Best player in Serie A (11-12, 12-13)
    World class seasons (02-03, 03-04, 04-05, 05-06)

    In the first part of his career he was underrated, in the 2nd part he was starting to get overrated by the end of it.
    I think Pirlo is just superior to Modric in every single way, if I had to squeeze something in Modric's favour I'd say he runs more, he's more mobile, has the better engine. Otherwise, it's just Pirlo all the way.
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  12. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    It was not a criticism but just an inquiry.

    Of course his longevity is a plus, and that as someone who is only five days younger as the Brazilian Ronaldo.

    But I wouldn't say Roma was really a 'top team' competing for the prizes (Totti had a subdued role in three of the four main trophies he won in his career) and a case is also well possible that after the age of ~33 he was a liability. I'd also say e.g. Robben had several strong seasons spread across 15 years as well (Kezman making the ESM team of the year in 2002-03 was to a great extent because of Robben, honestly, directly and indirectly feeding him with many goals).
  13. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Real Madrid
    The starting point being at 2001 does change the entire complexion of the list I concur

    I agree Henry 02/03 was amazing with 44 direct goal involvements in a single PL season which remains a record
    Still however you are ignoring context
    The premiership was never seen on equal footing with serie A and la liga during 2000-2004

    ZIdane was widely viewed as the best playing also in the best leagues

    Moving onto xavi vs Ronaldinho
    It is established beyond doubt xavi had more elite longevity than dinho
    Longevity at the very highest level(more ballon dor top 5 rankings, more team of the tournament inclusions at international competitions,more uefa team of the year inclusions)

    Xavi 08/09 scored
    10 non penalty goals+30 assists in 54 games
    All the while being a central midfielder
    All the while racking up 95% pass success rate game in game out
    All the while being the main midfield playmaker/conductor(like deco 05/06)

    Ronaldinho was the final third playmaker playing on the wing as neymar 2016/17 with limited defensive duties
    Still he only scored 16 non penalty goals+24 assists in 46 games

    Xavi had a performance in the 2009 CL final that was demonstrably superior to what dinho showed against arsenal 05/06
    Had more assists in the champions league too despite playing in a deeper position

    Xavis position was such that it is impossible to put a number to how many pre assists we could credit him with
    So in addition to his final third assists he would also have a share in almost every goal scored by Barcelona

    I don't see Ronaldinho's dribbling advantage overwhelming this for the simple reason 05/06 dinho wasn't as great a dribbler as you probably think he was
    He was a trickster with flair who could occasionally/rarely go on a great run past 2 players

    He wasn't a devastating dribbler as in 03/04 who was consistently beat players on the run
  14. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    This got me thinking about ESM votes and inclusions (not that they say everything by any means).

    Interestingly, both have 169 votes!
    Xavi: 1 in 2000/01, 1 in 2001/02, 3 in 2003/04, 18 in 2004/05, 4 in 2005/06, 1 in 2006/07, 5 in 2007/08, 29 in 2008/09, 29 in 2009/10, 40 in 2010/11, 25 in 2011/12, 12 in 2012/13, 1 in 2013/14.
    Ronaldinho: 10 in 2002/03, 30 in 2003/04, 40 in 2004/05, 64 in 2005/06, 16 in 2006/07, 2 in 2008/09, 7 in 2009/10.

    And those votes resulted in 24 inclusions in Team of the Month for Xavi (with 3 in Team of the Year):
    2 in 2004/05, 1 in 2005/06, 1 in 2007/08, 5 in 2008/09, 3 in 2009/10, 6 in 2010/11, 5 in 2011/12, 1 in 2012/13

    While for Ronaldinho the votes gave him 22 inclusions in Team of the Month (with also 3 in Team of the Year):
    1 in 2002/03, 4 in 2003/04, 6 in 2004/05, 7 in 2005/06, 2 in 2006/07, 2 in 2009/10.
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  15. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    I also noticed that Kaka and Pirlo ended up with a very similar amount of votes (but around half the amount Xavi/Ronaldinho had actually): Kaka with slightly more overall, and while they were together at AC Milan Pirlo only having (slightly) more one time, in 2007/08.
  16. Tropeiro

    Tropeiro Member

    Jun 1, 2018
    Nice to see that Ronaldinho (as a Dynamic Playmaker) had 26 Goals (16 Non-PK Goals) + 24 Assists in 45 Matches, in those 45 Matches, Barcelona scored 96 Goals.
    That is a 52% of direct involvement, without PKs it is a 41,6% (42%).
    Barcelona according ELO rankings improved 86 points this season and was the Champion of La Liga and of the CL.
    In terms of direct involvement and in terms of improving his team, 05-06 is compared with the best seasons of Cristiano Ronaldo.

    DBS Calcio rating this season as 7.06 that is quite more than the 6.51 rating of Xavi in 08-09.

    Xavi had 10 Goals + 30 Assists yes, but Barcelona scored 146 Goals (in 54 matches) instead of 96, so he had 27,4% of direct involvement in his team goals. Barcelona also progressed less in 2008-2009 than in 2005-2006 according ELO (83 vs 86 points) and Messi was likely a superstar already (he won the Ballon D'or this year).

    Looking at ESM votes it is also aceptable to see Ronaldinho 05-06 as the highest peak.
  17. Edhardy

    Edhardy Member+

    Sep 4, 2013
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Juventus FC
    #17 Edhardy, Jun 26, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
    @Tropeiro has answered part of this, so I won't go into it. You're comparing a very good Barca side, to a historical juggernaut.
    In terms of longevity, again @PDG1978 has touched on it, no need going deeply into it. But they more or less were "extremely good" relative to the rest of their career, for a similar time period. Xavi was good but not indispensable prior to 2008. In fact going into Euro 2008 there was a deal being discussed to ship him off to Bayern. And after the 2010-11 season he was no longer in that rarefied air, Barca fans complained about his lack of ambition (sideways passing etc). It's a three year window for both of them, where they were extremely good, and in their respective three year windows Ronaldinho was in a different level.
    Barcelona vs United was much different to Barcelona vs Arsenal (especially once Arsenal had a player sent off and had a goal to protect).
    You're also downplaying how high up the pitch Pep teams play and how advanced the centre midfielders (Xavi, Iniesta, Silva, KDB) play. They are not your usual central midfielders.
    Not responding to Ronaldinho being "a trickster with flair" as we both know that's false.

    About Henry and Zidane. It's a bit like the Mbappe debate. Yes Serie A and La Liga were better (Henry coincidentally had his best games in the CL against Inter and Roma), but how much better were they really? Good enough to downplay Zidane, Figo and Ronaldo's performances against Man United in 2003?
  18. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Ronaldinho really was not that great in 2004-05, and Pirlo was not a starter in 2002-03! (8 of his 9 goals were penalties by the way). That is what I mean with overinflated. At the least Modric is of Pirlo his level imho (despite having fewer ESM selections than Pirlo, but so has Pirlo fewer ESM selections as his midfield team mates Kaka and Seedorf). Will try to explain later.
  19. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Real Madrid
    #19 carlito86, Jun 26, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
    This isn't conclusive evidence in and of itself
    Fans ,particularly those spoilt ones who have enjoyed a sustained period of success will complain even if they perceive to be the slightest dip In form(it doesn't mean they're right it's just a perception)

    Xavi was still an elite world class performer In 2011/12 and it is outrageous to compare anything Ronaldinho did at psg or Milan to this

    Outside of 2003-2007 Ronaldinho was never considered a top 20 performer in the world
    Even including 2007 is a major push but fourfourtwo inexplicably ranked him as 3rd best player of 2007
    How I don't really know

    Xavi was a top 5 player In the world in
    That is 5 seasons during which he was objectively at the very top of the pile

    Xavis worst seasons as 13/14 are in all likelihood better than any campaign of dinho In France or Italy
    I am not tricked by 5 min compilations when I know in actual fact ronaldinho outside of that 2-3 year period was never consistent or disciplined enough to be a top 20 performer in the world

    Xavi was and unlike ronaldinho he was never criticised during his prime for going absent for lengthy periods during a season
    Xavi was consistently brilliant for a longer period than ronaldinho this century
    In big games
    In small games
    At international level
    At club level

    I don't subscribe at all to tropieros methodology for ranking seasons and performances
    For arguments sake even if we were to say Ronaldinho 05/06 was a superior Individual player and more valuable to his team than xavi 08/09 it is still only one season
    I personally don't see Ronaldinho 04/05 and 06/07 bringing that much weight into the discussion especially as compared to xavi 09/10 and 10/11
  20. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Real Madrid
    This is a small sample size
    We know as fact that Thierry Henry was a failed winger in serie A with limited to non existent end product
  21. Viola Star

    Viola Star Member

    May 9, 2006
    ACF Fiorentina
    Nat'l Team:
    #21 Viola Star, Jun 26, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
    Pirlo started most games in 02-03 including the European Cup final.

    Pirlo led Serie A in the 2002–03 season in four categories – passes played
    (2589), ball possession (123 hours played and 39 minutes), successful balls
    (661), and successful passes (2093); he averaged almost 90 passes per
    game throughout the season, according to wiki.

    I don't think Modric got a game for DZ in 02-03. Pirlo has played at least
    125 more games than Modric this century. He has more goals and
    more assists according to most sources. Lots of Modric's goals
    and assists come in the sub-standard Croatian league. Pirlo played
    for 15 years in a tier 1 league, Modric for 10.

    There is no reason to place Modric above Pirlo or on a par. He
    needs three to five more years of top level play.

    However, looking at my list, I might move the Croatian ahead
    of Giggs and Robben into 21st place.

    Also, I think I probably placed the Brazilian Ronaldo a bit far
    down considering how his peak level was so outstanding.
    Mascherano is probably too highly-placed.
  22. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    That's a lie. He only started 21 league games (completed 15) and he wasn't injured. He started 11 of the 19 European games. Didn't play the decisive 2nd group stage game as well as both quarter final legs and the 1st semi final.

    Typically wikipedia doesn't give a source for that assertion.

    So why is Scholes top ten then. The number of midfielders with more goals and assists than him is endless.
  23. Edhardy

    Edhardy Member+

    Sep 4, 2013
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Juventus FC
    Ronaldinho's 04-05 international form was his best throughout his career, in the CL he was great/decisive against AC Milan at home and Chelsea at The Bridge, in La Liga he was decisive against nearly all the big sides (top 6 sides). I think his low numbers in La Liga give the impression of a "lesser" season but he was almost always decisive, "when it mattered"

    Pirlo was indeed a starter in 2002-03

    Serie A - 21 starts (including in most of the big games e.g Juventus, Lazio, Inter, Parma, Udinese)
    CL - 12 starts (including vs Bayern, once vs Madris, semi final 2nd leg and final)

    And he was taking those penalties for a reason (despite being relatively new in that squad). He also had a decent number of assists, led the league for passes, possession time etc, that was early on in the regista experiment.
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  24. Edhardy

    Edhardy Member+

    Sep 4, 2013
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Juventus FC
    - Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Messi are all homegrown legends for Barca. Usually it takes quite a lot for fans to start voicing any concern. It wasn't just a little dip in form. He was much less aggressive with his passes, he was mostly just circulating the ball and playing it safe.

    - Xavi just wasn't an elite world class performer in 2011/12 IMO. These are some of the players that were better that him during that season, some of them much better:
    Messi, Iniesta, Ronaldo, Alonso, Ozil, Di Maria, Marcelo, Santi Cazorla, Van Persie, Wayne Rooney, David Silva, Aguero, Yaya Toure, Andrea Pirlo, Ibrahimovic, Arturo Vidal, Frank Ribery. These are players I'd certainly have above him. I'd put even more e.g Hazard, but I don't want to go through the Ligue 1 vs other leagues debate again and even other players who didn't play in the CL but were better in the league.

    In 07-08
    I'd rank Cristiano Ronaldo, Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Cesc Fabregas, Del Piero, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Franck Ribery, Lio Messi, Thierry Henry, Dani Alves, Fabiano, Senna, Raul, Robinho.
    This is ignoring the defence of United who were as a group really good, and individually also very high quality, amongst others.

    - Xavi was consistently brilliant in 08/09 and 10/11 for the rest of the time he was mostly consistently dependable.

    - The best seasons by either, are in my opinion, Ronaldinho 05-06, Ronaldinho 03-04 then you can continue from there.. and I'd take Ronaldinho's 09/10 season over Xavi's seasons outside of 08-09 to 10-11. One thing I'd give to him though, his dips in performance were not as low as Ronaldinho's.
  25. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Real Madrid
    #25 carlito86, Jun 26, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019

    Not a single player of the 2000-2006 era was much better than Zidane.
    When Zidane retired immediately post 2006 WC final he was widely considered the best player of his generation and Ronaldinho a pretender to his throne who couldn't live up to expectations

    It's only in this era where Barcelonas plastic fan base has increased exponentially due to their sustained success experienced over the last 10 or so years that history is being whitewashed and commonly accepted facts denied

    The most one could say regarding Ronaldinho is he entered the 2006 world cup as the unanimous world number 1
    There was talk he about him becoming an all timer with the small caveat that many more elite club seasons were required and also standout international tournaments for a stacked Brazil were a must

    Ronaldinho didn't fulfil those conditions
    This is the bottom line
    However spectacular Ronaldinho was in the second half of 2003/04 it is a half season and personally I don't see it as even another level compared to Lionel Messi in the second half of 2006/07 let alone to be compared to any of messi's campaigns since 2009

    Xavi would rank over Zidane this century for the simple reason that he has a superior body of work at club and international level
    Xavi 08/09 is a standout and historic season I personally don't believe Zidane had one as influential as this
    If one was to take Zidanes juventus career into consideration it could tilt the balance in his favour
    how much is up for debate

    BTw you are completely wrong about Xavi only being brilliant in 2008/09 and 2010/10

    In 2009/10 he finished as a top 3 officially ranked la liga player (trofeo di Stefano)
    Also according to whoscored he finished with the most key passes in la liga (a monstrous 3.2 per game with a 95% pass completion rate)

    He was here effortlessly brilliant not just "dependable" playing his fair share of incisive passes
    A sideway passer can never lead in a key passes in a top 5 European league

    Don't have the source at hand but he was one of if not the most prolific throughballer in Europe at that time

    Just for a comparison prime untouchable Ronaldinho (2005) had less key passes than lampard with a less than impressive pass completion rate for a elite playmaker

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