Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Greatest of all time (futbol division).

Following on an earlier NBA debate, I offer up my picks in two categories for the greatest footballers of all time. It's easy to pick goalscorers, but keepers and defenders can be great too. Each list is alphabetical

First is the classic division of players who were at the peak before 1960.

Jose Leandro Andrade
Alfredo di Stefano
Stanley Matthews
Ferenc Puskas

The best post–1960 players now and a larger list because I saw them play

Franz Beckenbauer
Yev Lashin
Zinedine Zidane

Honorable Mention
George Best
Johnan Cruyff
Kenny Dalglish
Ruud Gullit
Paolo Maldini
Gordon Banks/Pat Jennings/Peter Schmeichel/Dino Zoff (you choose your favorite)

My picks for GOAT footballer finalists come down to three (you have to win a world cup to even compete). The usual suspects, Pele and Maradona, and Der Kaiser, Beckenbauer.

For Americans unclear on the concept. In baseball terms,

To get this last bit, watch the famous adidas+10 at 21 seconds in when CGI Der Kaiser strolls onto the "pitch" majestically and without breaking a sweat.

In the NBA terms of the original debate,

Maradona=Jordan, but
Beckenbauer=Magic, and thus

My contrarian pick for GOAT footballer is Beckenbauer.
Three reasons: won a world cup as captain, coached a world cup winning side, and was leader of what was arguably the greatest modern European club side, Bayern Munich of 1974–6, and thus probably the greatest club side of the modern era.

Let the debates begin . . .

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