Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

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Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by The Demon of Carthage on Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:06 pm

This could be an interesting discussion.

Consistency has been one of the major factors football fans and experts turn to before they submit their all-time ranking of the best players in the world. While I do agree that it's very important, I can't help but think that it overlooks some players who weren't consistent enough to survive the test of time (due to injuries, late night partying, ...), but in their prime they were gods among men. Some of them reached a level that none of the others did.

So for this one, I would like you guys to give us your list (top 3, top 5, top 10, whatever floats your boat) of the best players in history, while completely disregarding the consistency factor and only focusing on the level they reached in their prime. I'm asking you this because I feel they are players who weren't consistent but in their prime reached a level that none of the other consistent ones even came close to.

This is just a small opportunity to shed some light on those forgotten, crazy talented, albeit unlucky heroes.

I'll start with my top three:

1. Ronaldo: Best CF in history bar none. Was quite consistent, but the injuries ruined him and took away a big chunk of his talent. Hadn't he gotten injured, I think he would've torn the world to shreds. He's in my opinion the player who, in his prime, reached the highest level known to man.

2. Messi: One of the most consistent players of all-time. Even if you take away the consistency factor, he's still up there with the best.

3. Ronaldinho: A technical god, simply unstoppable in his prime. Easily the most technical player of my lifetime. Some say Zico was even more technical, but I wasn't around when he was playing and so I can't really tell whether that it's true or not. If Ronaldinho had the same discipline as CR7, I think he would've had a pretty good shot of breaking into the top three of the best players of all-time.


Remember, we are not looking for consistency or longevity here. The idea is to focus solely on the level reached in their prime and then compare those levels to each other to see who reached the highest level.

So let us hear it guys, who are the players you think have reached the highest level in their prime?

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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by Art Morte on Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:16 pm

1. Messi - I just cannot imagine a player who would showcase better ball control. Feels impossible. And has even develop as his career has gone on, nowadays he's the ultimate playmaker.

2. Ronaldinho - So unique. I'm convinced that Messi will be the most complete player I've ever witnessed in my lifetime, but Ronaldinho had that Hollywood factor of trying the outrageous. Party on the field.

3. Zlatan.
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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by vanDEEZ on Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:37 pm

So many 1 season wonders, or players that had such high, but quick peaks.

Some could even make a case for Torres, when he had that one season for Liverpool/Spain where he was basically unplayable.

The obvious top choices are Ronaldo (BRA), and Dinho.

But of the ones not listed: Falcao, Adriano, Casillas.. I'll think of some more.
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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by Casciavit on Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:44 pm

Messi 2012 was the highest individual level ever reached by a footballer. Obviously, he missed out on the CL but I don't think I'll ever see another player break the records he did that year.

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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by breva on Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:52 pm

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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by VivaStPauli on Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:47 pm

Cruyff and Beckenbauer not mentioned yet? You scrubs.

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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by Valkyrja on Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:56 pm

Messi and Ronaldo are the best players in the modern era by far imo.

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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by futbol on Sun Sep 16, 2018 12:19 am

@Valkyrja wrote:Messi and Ronaldo are the best players in the modern era by far imo.


Controversial.

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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by breva on Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:29 am

@Valkyrja wrote:Messi and Ronaldo are the best players in the modern era by far imo.


Neither of them have, nearly singlehandedly, been able to drag a team to a World Cup championship like Maradona and Pele. That's why they never, years from now, be considered in the same light.
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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by Valkyrja on Sun Sep 16, 2018 7:54 am

@futbol wrote:
@Valkyrja wrote:Messi and Ronaldo are the best players in the modern era by far imo.


Controversial.


I didn't say Tristiano or Fakenaldo so it can't be controversial

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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by BarcaLearning on Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:54 pm

Im just gonna put those Ive watched in my time and personal choices, since probably not much point and no accuracy to name any before that. I think its also a really personal thing since not many watches all the leagues and clubs, especially previously when football coverage wasnt as wide as it is today. My preference are for attacking talents more as usual, and when these players were at their best, they were virtually unplayable and made such impact or memorable moments, when the absolutely best star at that point in time at their peak:

1. Messi
2. R9
3. R7 - one has gotta admit, hes still an amazing footballer, without going into all the details against, etc.
4. Zidane
5. Ronaldinho
6. Figo
7. Xavi
8. Roberto Carlos
9. Beckham
10. Bergkamp
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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by Kebab on Sun Sep 16, 2018 7:57 pm

Ronaldinho was magical but he was not unstoppable. For me unstoppable player is the one who can toy with at least 5 players and still make them look helpless. Basically Maradona is Ronaldinho with better dribbling and ball carrying skills. Why should i choose Ronnie over Maradona?
so for me Messi R9 Neymar Maradona etc.

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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by TheOneWhoKnocks on Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:12 pm

@breva wrote:
@Valkyrja wrote:Messi and Ronaldo are the best players in the modern era by far imo.


Neither of them have, nearly singlehandedly, been able to drag a team to a World Cup championship like Maradona and Pele. That's why they never, years from now, be considered in the same light.


That argument has always been so silly for me. I get it if you are Argentinian because you have clear bias that I can understand, but you can't be serious that Messi will not be considered better than Maradona globally if he doesn't win the WC?
World Cup might be the most prestigious competition, but it isn't the best in terms of quality. Why doesn't the lack of European Cups hold Maradona back at all? Or the inferior amount of individual- and club trophies.

And Messi's 2012 full season > Maradona's WC 7-game run in terms of peak performance by an individual.

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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by RealGunner on Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:16 pm

Thanks for knocking mate. Can't stand people who don't knock Thumbs up
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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by titosantill on Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:57 pm

its always going to be the usual suspects but thierry henry too was a beast, especially in the unbeatable season. madrid vs arsenal in 03/04 woulda coulda shoulda been a dream match
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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by breva on Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:11 am

@TheOneWhoKnocks wrote:
@breva wrote:
@Valkyrja wrote:Messi and Ronaldo are the best players in the modern era by far imo.


Neither of them have, nearly singlehandedly, been able to drag a team to a World Cup championship like Maradona and Pele. That's why they never, years from now, be considered in the same light.  


That argument has always been so silly for me. I get it if you are Argentinian because you have clear bias that I can understand, but you can't be serious that Messi will not be considered better than Maradona globally if he doesn't win the WC?
World Cup might be the most prestigious competition, but it isn't the best in terms of quality. Why doesn't the lack of European Cups hold Maradona back at all? Or the inferior amount of individual- and club trophies.

And Messi's 2012 full season > Maradona's WC 7-game run in terms of peak performance by an individual.


It may not be fair, but the World Cup is the cup that the world recognizes as the epitome of success.  There have been super players  Cruyff, Van Basten, Best, Eusebio, Puskás, Baggio etc. but Pele and Maradona have stood the test of time because of their WC success. I am not Argentinian.
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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by Thimmy on Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:08 am

@Kebab wrote: For me unstoppable player is the one who can toy with at least 5 players and still make them look helpless. etc.



You should’ve seen me play in the backyard against my 13 year old sister and her friends, then. Unstoppable doesn’t even begin to describe the amount of sheer dominance Proud
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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by TheOneWhoKnocks on Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:42 am

@breva wrote:
@TheOneWhoKnocks wrote:
@breva wrote:


Neither of them have, nearly singlehandedly, been able to drag a team to a World Cup championship like Maradona and Pele. That's why they never, years from now, be considered in the same light.  


That argument has always been so silly for me. I get it if you are Argentinian because you have clear bias that I can understand, but you can't be serious that Messi will not be considered better than Maradona globally if he doesn't win the WC?
World Cup might be the most prestigious competition, but it isn't the best in terms of quality. Why doesn't the lack of European Cups hold Maradona back at all? Or the inferior amount of individual- and club trophies.

And Messi's 2012 full season > Maradona's WC 7-game run in terms of peak performance by an individual.


It may not be fair, but the World Cup is the cup that the world recognizes as the epitome of success.  There have been super players  Cruyff, Van Basten, Best, Eusebio, Puskás, Baggio etc. but Pele and Maradona have stood the test of time because of their WC success. I am not Argentinian.


But is that a rational way to think?

There just hasn't been as great of a player as Maradona after he retired, until Messi and CR7 (R9, sorry for the injuries).
After they retire, they will be up there with Pele and Maradona. The new generation will find a new "epitome of success", like the amount of Ballon d'Ors.

But we, maybe the more rational and intellectual football fans than the average fan, should know that there are many more factors to consider.

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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by sportsczy on Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:41 am

Messi
Platini
Maradona
Zidane
Van Basten
R9
Zico
Cruyff
Socrates
Pele
Garincha

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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by Valkyrja on Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:04 pm

Would Zico be rated higher had he won the WC in 82 ? Unfortunately I couldn't watch him, but my uncle, big Brazil fan though, told me that he was every bit as good as Maradona If not better

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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by breva on Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:41 pm

@Valkyrja wrote:Would Zico be rated higher had he won the WC in 82 ? Unfortunately I couldn't watch him, but my uncle, big Brazil fan though, told me that he was every bit as good as Maradona If not better


I am not sure Zico was as good as Maradona or Pele, but had he won the 82 WC with Brazil, he would be in contention among some of the pundits. There has not been a player at the level of Pele or Maradona since Maradona retired.

Maradona played for a rather weak club (Napoli) and was able to win the Scudetto twice and a Uefa Cup with them. Pele only played in Brazil and the U.S. and is rated almost entirely on his performances in the WC. So, there really isn't a means to compare the greatest players unless the comparison is made at a the WC level, especially when the WC team they play for is one of the top 4-6 national teams. George Best was a wonderful player, probably the best player to play in the EPL, but being from NI he was never able to play at the WC level with a competitive national team.
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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by sportsczy on Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:20 pm

Zico was at least as good as Maradona. In fact, I think Maradona has been rated far higher than he ever was while playing... when he retired. Great player. But I thought Platini, Van Basten, Zico and Socrates were better than Maradona and I saw them all play.

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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by breva on Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:41 pm

@sportsczy wrote:Zico was at least as good as Maradona. In fact, I think Maradona has been rated far higher than he ever was while playing... when he retired. Great player. But I thought Platini, Van Basten, Zico and Socrates were better than Maradona and I saw them all play.


IMO, none of the players you mention come that close to Maradona or Pele. And I saw most of them play in person as well. I saw Maradona, Platini, and Van Basten plenty of times in Italy. Also Zico when he was with Udinese and Socrates while at Fiorentina. Neither were spectacular and certainly Maradona was far superior while all three played in Italy, at about the same time.
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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by titosantill on Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:46 am

i agree with breva , definitely not socrates. zico was the one we where hearing about in south america, not socrates. socrates really made a name for himself in 82. van basten and platini, great players, amazing, not quite diego. in my humble opinion i don't even consider van basten the best player on his milan nor dutch sides.

i don't think many players had the peak henry had (i know this isn't about consistency, but he had that as well). he was definitely the best cf in europe and the best free kick taker and provider in england in like 03/04, in that post beckham pre- cristiano (when he really arrived) era

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Re: Ranking of the Best Players in History by the Level Reached in Their Prime

Post by sportsczy on Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:49 am

Zico and Socrates came to Europe in their 30s....  well past their prime in those days.  The Brazilian league was considered the best in the world (remember how Zico's team destroyed the "team of the century" Liverpool).

So their European club play meant very little to me.

I travelled with my father for business for 4 weeks to South America and he was a football nut.  Got a chance to see Corinthians and Flamengo live.  Let me tell you...  Socrates was out of this world.  So was Zico.

And Platini was considered, without the shadow of a doubt, the best player in Serie A and Europe from 1983 through 1986.  He played WC 1986 injured at the age of 31.  His prime years were actually at St Etienne...  people forget he went to Juve at the age of 27.

And Van Basten was nothing short of insane at Ajax.

People need to understand the context of football pre-Bosman ruling.  Very few players left their home countries.  So you had to be born in the right country to play for the elite clubs.  And English football dominated Europe from the mid 70s through the mid 80s... Serie A became the best league in the late 80s on. The World Cup was really the only competition where all the best players were present and competed against each other.

And to trump all that, the best club football league was in South America without the shadow of a doubt for me.

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