El Gunner's Top 20 Most Impressive Footballers of his lifetime

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Post by El Gunner Thu Dec 15, 2022 7:50 pm

1. Lionel Messi



2. Andres Iniesta
3. Thierry Henry
4. Zinedine Zidane
5. Luis Suarez
6. Alessandro Del Piero
7. Cristiano Ronaldo
8. Andrea Pirlo
9. Samuel Eto'o
10. Wayne Rooney
11. Xavi
12. Luka Modric
13. Kaka
14. Ronaldinho
15. Steven Gerrard
16. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
17. David Villa
18. Cesc Fabregas
19. Wesley Sneijder
20. Andriy Shevchenko

Goalies:
1. Iker Casillas
2. Gigi Buffon
3. Petr Cech

Unfortunately the best years from Brazilian Ronaldo was a bit too early for me, but from the things I've heard i think i would have easily put him 2nd.
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Post by Cruijf Thu Dec 15, 2022 8:05 pm

What does most impressive mean? Actual ability or enjoyment watching?
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Post by BarrileteCosmico Thu Dec 15, 2022 9:22 pm

Im interested in the criteria for this list too
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Post by El Gunner Thu Dec 15, 2022 9:48 pm

Cruijf wrote:What does most impressive mean? Actual ability or enjoyment watching?

both!

just my own personal taste as well... i think it's clear to see i have a preference for naturally graceful players (Iniesta, Zidane) over irky-jerky dribblers (Ronaldo, Ronaldinho).

I think Suarez is the most complete 9 since Brazilian Ronaldo (from what i've heard of him).
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Post by El Gunner Fri Dec 16, 2022 7:57 am

also, to add on to that... obviously i take into account overall impact to their team(s) and the game as a whole.

There are other players which styles i also really like but they just don't fulfill other important factors.
Leroy Sane: (too injured, could never say he was a consistent top 3 player on a successful team)
Claudio Marchisio: (very skilled, but also limited... not flashy enough)
Juventus Pogba: (peak not long enough)
Liverpool Torres: (peak not long enough)
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Post by Casciavit Fri Dec 16, 2022 8:45 am

For me these lists are so hard to make because the way I perceive football now is completely different to the way I did 10 years ago, let alone 20+. I like watching old football matches from the 70s and 80s, but at the same time I hate it because the game has evolved so much since then so they look primitive. I wasn't alive to watch those games back then, so I'm watching them with a tactical eye from 2022 and trying to understand additional context based on older interviews, newspapers, and older fan opinions.

Post 2010s I view games with more of a tactical eye, so there are some players I like because they're tactically good, but maybe they aren't the most aesthetic pleasing. Then there are players in the early late 90s/2000s who I viewed with a casual eye, and I haven't really rewatched those games to make a new assessment on them with the knowledge I know now.

So it's hard for me to quantify a list based on 'ability'. Aesthetics might be easier, but aesthetics is linked to ability too. You can't make something look easy without having a high technical ability. So is it a question of who gets you off your seat? For example, I think Ronaldo became atrocious to watch the moment he sacrificed his general play to compete with Messi on goals. However, some of his clutch CL moments made me get off my seat even though they weren't technically pleasing.

In contrast, there's someone like Neymar who is so fun to watch, but seeing him go for the difficult option instead of the simpler one or lacking efficiency pisses me of in 2022, but if I was watching him in 2002 I'd think he'd be my favorite player.
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Post by Casciavit Fri Dec 16, 2022 9:12 am

My favorite kind of player is the complete 10/false 9. The reason they're my favorite is because I think they're the best players in an objective sense because they've mastered the attacking aspects of football. That's why my all-time top 5 is Messi, Pele, Maradona, Cruyff, and Di Stefano. They were total footballers. They all had their own strengths and weaknesses where you can make the argument maybe one of them should be above the other. For instance, Di Stefano was the worst dribbler on that list, but he was probably the best conductor.

However, football pre 1970s just isn't a fun watch for me. The frame rate on cameras make the game look slower, its black and white, its tactically garbage, and the average players look worse even though the geniuses still stand out. That doesn't even take into account the leather ball, shitty pitches, and thug defending. Defending as a whole is hard for me to assess pre 1990.

That's why someone like Pele doesn't move me. His prime was early 60s Santos days so its hard to get footage of that, but even with what's available I didn't feel excited watching him. It's because of all the reasons in the paragraph above, but it was also because I felt his dribbling was clunky and he dribbled more than he should've given his actual dribbling ability. However, that's me viewing it with a 2022 tactical lens where you don't like players with high risk decision making (goes against Brazilian footballing culture anyway). Although tbf, there are moments from him where you understand why he's revered so much. His understanding of gravity and playing to the open man was Messi-esque. He was a ridiculous athlete (think prime CR). He was very complete as he could shoot with right, left, or his head. He'd do skill moves that you see players doing now. By all means he was ahead of his time, based on the eye test alone, and that's without looking into his stats or his trophies or his cultural influence. Yet he still wouldn't be top of my list when it came to aesthetics. Although that could just be because of when he played. If he played now, he would probably look closer to 90s R9, but a shorter and better playmaking version.

Another past player who didn't move me at all was Garrincha. The way he constantly ignored other options, so he could stop with the ball, then dribble on the outside, only to repeat the process again and again was annoying as hell from the lens of a modern fan. Although I can't hate on him either because he pioneered my favorite kind of wingers (1v1s who attack the byline not cut inside).

Past players who did move me are: Beckenbauer, Cruyff, and Maradona.

Beckanbauer carried the ball like Frenkie, but would pass it like Pirlo. He had his own trademark pass which was the outside of the boot pass, and just in general he was so graceful. Cruyff and Maradona were like Messi. They could dribble past 4-5 players, play a really creative pass from deep, and had the capacity to score at a high rate too. Those are my 3 favorite players from a historical eye test POV.
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Post by El Gunner Fri Dec 16, 2022 12:11 pm

Cas wrote:My favorite kind of player is the complete 10/false 9. The reason they're my favorite is because I think they're the best players in an objective sense because they've mastered the attacking aspects of football.
agree
outside of that i value natural grace, skill, efficiency and productivity regardless of position

furthermore... i try to refrain from talking about players i never watched because it's just so difficult to analyse and assess them if you didn't watch them in real-time to consider all of the factors of how the game was played at that time...

i also couldn't ever be bothered to watch old matches in depth... but of course i respect and acknowledge the opinion of those who did watch them live and students of the game who make the effort to go back and watch old matches
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Post by BarcaLearning Fri Dec 16, 2022 5:10 pm

Where can one find old matches to watch Cas? I think I tried that some yrs back n it wasnt easy. Nowadays maybe they are on YT n east to find? Havent looked in a while...

I like naming lists like this, or used to a lot anyway, with much bias since I only watch mainly big teams n my fav ones, also not able to watch a lot of other leagues n teams due to coverage back then wasnt as easy as internet nowadays.

R9
Figo
Mcmanaman
Roberto Carlos
Rivaldo
Messi
Iniesta
Xavi
Bergkamp
CR
Modric
Seedorf
Suarez
Neymar
David Villa
Dani Alves
Benzema
Mbappe
Vini
De Bruyne
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Post by Casciavit Fri Dec 16, 2022 6:23 pm

BarcaLearning wrote:Where can one find old matches to watch Cas? I think I tried that some yrs back n it wasnt easy. Nowadays maybe they are on YT n east to find? Havent looked in a while...

I like naming lists like this, or used to a lot anyway, with much bias since I only watch mainly big teams n my fav ones, also not able to watch a lot of other leagues n teams due to coverage back then wasnt as easy as internet nowadays.

R9
Figo
Mcmanaman
Roberto Carlos
Rivaldo
Messi
Iniesta
Xavi
Bergkamp
CR
Modric
Seedorf
Suarez
Neymar
David Villa
Dani Alves
Benzema
Mbappe
Vini
De Bruyne


If you're looking for individual highlights you can just search something on youtube like: 1974 Beckenbauer vs"

And you'll get his individual highlights from matches that year. If you're looking for full matches you can find them here: https://footballia.net/
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Post by sportsczy Fri Dec 16, 2022 9:26 pm

Zico
Socrates
Romario
Platini
Van Basten
Zidane
Ronaldinho
Enzo Francescoli
Messi
R9
Ibrahimovic
CR
Batistuta
Rivaldo
Kaka
Ian Rush
Mbappe
Iniesta
Falcao (Brazil)
Maradona

And honestly, i could easily take this to 30. I didn't even include defenders, holding mids, keepers, etc.
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Post by El Gunner Fri Dec 16, 2022 10:11 pm

sportsczy wrote:Socrates
we said footballers, not philosophers (:
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Post by Warrior Fri Dec 16, 2022 10:34 pm

Remove also Ibra in that case
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Post by guest_07 Fri Dec 16, 2022 11:53 pm

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim.
Assalamu'alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh to Muslim.
Good day to Others.

Mine:
1) Riquelme
2) Messi
3) Redondo
4) Aimar
5) D'Alessandro
6) Ortega
7) J. Zanetti
Cool Batistuta
9) D. Milito
10) Tevez

Wallahu a'lam

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Post by titosantill Sat Dec 17, 2022 2:21 am

i know its your personal list and i can't object anyone's list but you must be argentine or you just really like argentine players for whatever reason.
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Post by Warrior Sat Dec 17, 2022 4:10 am

In no particular order


Ronaldinho
Ibrahimovic
Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo
Gerrard
Totti
Pirlo
Kaka
Iniesta
Modric
Kroos
Rooney
Robben
Suarez
Lewandowski
Pogba
Marchisio
Chiellini
Buffon
Casillas


Hard to make this list i only include players whom i followed for a relevant part of their prime. That's why Del Piero, Nedved and Zidane for example did not make the cut... of course they have been decent at some point during my lifetime

It's also totally subjective because so many players have impressed me, sometimes intensely for very short periods, the honorable mentions are numerous. So i went with players whose game i've enjoyed the most.

Pogba is maybe controversial but i don't give a damn about his time at Toxic Utd
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Post by guest_07 Sat Dec 17, 2022 4:13 am

titosantill wrote:i know its your personal list and i can't object anyone's list but you must be argentine or you just really like argentine players for whatever reason.

Perhaps I'm under the latter category

Wallahu a'lam.

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Post by El Gunner Sat Dec 17, 2022 7:31 am

@Warrior you didn't watch 2002 - 2008 Del Piero?

seriously am i the only one who thought he was an absolute baller and technician? My favourite Italian player of all time.

need i refresh y'all's memory a bit?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sM3MxLIGeRo
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Post by El Gunner Sat Dec 17, 2022 7:32 am

also 2002 - 2006 Zidane was enough to make my list as well.
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Post by BarcaLearning Sat Dec 17, 2022 11:35 am

Never watched Juve much despite knowing them consistently making runs in the CL n dominating Serie A for long periods during that later 90s to mid 00s ish era? Despite Del Piero being great, he was mostly just a sub for Italy? A big no.9 + Totti were always preferred iirc. There were some players like that, real entertaining skillful flair players but prolly werent as impactful n consistent overall perhaps?
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Post by Warrior Sat Dec 17, 2022 12:14 pm

I evolved into Juve fan full time while Del Piero was already declining. But now that you mention it, maybe i should have included him instead of Pogba or Marchisio because i've still seen hours of footage and many matches too.

As i wrote the list i did not want to include players whose prime i've seen mostly in retrospect. My interest for football started around 12 years old before that hockey was really the only thing i cared about.
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Post by Cruijf Sat Dec 17, 2022 1:14 pm

Not gonna do 20 but in no particular order:

Messi
Iniesta
Pirlo
Seedorf
Kaka
Pato
Robben
Ozil
Ronaldinho
Neymar
Balotelli


Balo and Pato are the odd ones out since they didn’t reach the heights of the other players. But when they were on form they really were a joy to watch, I wish their careers went better than it did. Other than that obviously I am a Milan fan and like creative midfielders and #10s, like most people here.
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Post by BarcaLearning Sat Dec 17, 2022 4:23 pm

Casciavit wrote:
BarcaLearning wrote:Where can one find old matches to watch Cas? I think I tried that some yrs back n it wasnt easy. Nowadays maybe they are on YT n east to find? Havent looked in a while...

I like naming lists like this, or used to a lot anyway, with much bias since I only watch mainly big teams n my fav ones, also not able to watch a lot of other leagues n teams due to coverage back then wasnt as easy as internet nowadays.

R9
Figo
Mcmanaman
Roberto Carlos
Rivaldo
Messi
Iniesta
Xavi
Bergkamp
CR
Modric
Seedorf
Suarez
Neymar
David Villa
Dani Alves
Benzema
Mbappe
Vini
De Bruyne


If you're looking for individual highlights you can just search something on youtube like: 1974 Beckenbauer vs"

And you'll get his individual highlights from matches that year. If you're looking for full matches you can find them here: https://footballia.net/

Thx Cas, trying to load the website but could be my slowass VPN, but does it need sign up to watch? Is it free? Being the bum that I am lol...
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Post by El Gunner Sun Dec 18, 2022 7:16 am

BarcaLearning wrote:Never watched Juve much despite knowing them consistently making runs in the CL n dominating Serie A for long periods during that later 90s to mid 00s ish era? Despite Del Piero being great, he was mostly just a sub for Italy? A big no.9 + Totti were always preferred iirc. There were some players like that, real entertaining skillful flair players but prolly werent as impactful n consistent overall perhaps?

don't know about in the 90s, but yea from what i can remember during the mid 00s he was simply excess to requirements for Italy. Italy played a certain physical and organised system which he just didn't fit into... old school 4-4-2, with every single player except maybe for the guy up top needing to be hardworking runners. Totti played in his position, and i think he was preferred because he was more physical and more efficient than Del Piero - while having the ability of giving more or less the same attacking output.

Del Piero was more the flair type of 10/supporting striker willing to take chances and wanting to find pockets of spaces in the final third to make something happen. He would have been perfect for Spain during that time, for instance, as he could have done that job for Morientes, and then maybe for Villa and Torres up until 2008 before the era of false 9s and 4-3-3 offshoots.
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Post by El Gunner Mon Dec 19, 2022 9:59 pm

the most incredible thing in this video is the coach smoking a cigar in the dugout Laughing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvpvvbaL8qU
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