Archive. Football. Statistic & History
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Column #58

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-12-29 15:00:17

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
The older the player is, the more underrated he tends to be — and that's generally speaking. This is completely referred to pre-WWII players. However, I would like to mention a very pertinent case between two players who are consistently placed in the top 10 players of all-time among the vast majority of lists I've seen: Alfredo Di Stéfano and Johan Cruijff.
Generally what I see is a huge underestimation of who Don Alfredo Di Stéfano truly was, with lists often placing him far below his true level. Too often I see Johan Cruijff being cited as a better player than Di Stéfano was. I couldn't disagree more with that — and this is yet another case of the newer player being more prominent. In addition, of course, Cruijff is quoted much more nowadays due to his game philosophy and application of versions of it in modern football.
In football terms, even shortly after Cruijff had stopped playing, Di Stéfano was still regarded as a superior player to him, a player of the same or higher level than Pelé. This was not an opinion shared by a few people, no, but by a large number of experts who saw both play. Suddenly, this view tends to be modified already in the 1990s.
Honestly, I'll give you my opinion on this: Johan Cruijff was a player of the highest levels in the history of football. He, however, was not Di Stéfano. I see no comparison between the two.
Another great example I see — and this one even more recent. It's a comparison between Zidane and Iniesta. The younger ones, from what I've been seeing lately, tend to consider Iniesta a superior player than Zidane. I cannot see the slightest comparison between Zidane and Iniesta. Zidane is a player of the highest levels, even though Iniesta was spectacular.