Thursday, 8 January 2009

Blog like it’s 1994

Hi folks,

When Champions League nights roll around again, recent figures from RTE will tell us that more will actually tune in to watch the punditry than the actual games. It’s hardly a surprise finding given that the early rounds of the competition weren’t exactly mind blowing entertainment but also because of the fact that the chatter of Giles, Dunphy and the patron saint of this site, Billo, is generally fantastic to watch.

However, much like an average full back in the lower reaches of the Premier League, one gelled up Portuguese git has been their undoing. Like many I’ll head for the fridge or even flick to The Simpsons (hoping it’s an older episode of course) when the argument comes up over whether or not Ronaldo is a great player. Cue the outrageous statements about Ronaldo proving nothing, Rooney actually being a great player “in time”, Scholes being some god-like human and other discussions on the merits of current stars such as Gerrard, Lampard, Raul, Ronaldhino and Messi.

The general rule of thumb as far as I can see is that the less we can see of the player the more chance there is of the RTE guys calling them a legend/genius/great player. If they play in another league (Messi), are near retirement (Scholes/Giggs) or, better yet out of the game for at least 20 years (Cryff/Charlton/Brady and Giles whenever Eamonn is talking) then you can call them a genius.

I’m all on for debates about great players of course but considering the lads in the RTE studios tend to concentrate on either the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s and to a lesser extent the ‘80s (whenever they’re not discussing/tearing apart players of the modern day that is), I thought I’d throw out a general debate on who was the greatest player of the 1990s?*

As most people reading this have to smile and nod every time Giles or Dunphy mention anyone who played pre-1985, at the very least, this debate can focus on players we have a decent memory of seeing live, but also ones who are far enough in the past for us to have a clearer picture over whether they were truly a great player or a bluffer.

Personally, I’d go for Roberto Baggio (the reasons for which can be read here and seen here).

Your choices?

Later, JJ

*Yes, I’m aware that was a long winded way of asking a simple question.


Mal said...

The RTE Ronaldo debate has indeed grown tiresome, even for someone like me, who thinks he's a great player but can't stand him as an individual.
How about Zidane for 90's player? Didn't really produce the goods until he moved to Juve in 96 so maybe somebody who played at a high level for the full decade would be a better bet. What about George Weah?

JJ said...

Weah's a good shout mal... 3 league titles between France and Italy, top scorer in champo league one season and individual awards galore. Not many above him anyway.

Between PSG and Milan though he only ever averaged a goal every three games (according to online stats anyway). Hence Milan fans still carrying on pining for the days of Van Basten until shevchenko came in to replace Ali Dia's cousin.

Mark said...

think of a player who hasn't straddled 2 decades - e.g. zidane only really came into things about 96, and not til 98 was he great.

baggio is a good choice but he faded a bit after leaving juve in 95. weah only had a couple of good years.

maybe ronaldo, he was certainly brilliant, but injuries @ inter ruined the late 90's.

i'm gonna vote for maldini, if we're talking skill, then ronaldo or baggio

soupnazi said...

Freddie Adu! ...Ahm maybe not,Ronaldo had an epic season at Barca and clips of Baggio on youtube guaranteed to be beautiful but Van Basten was brilliant for a while ( ignore his management career and dodgy shirts)Saw an interview where he was watching his son play football and he seemed okay with the fact that the kid spent his time standing around the goals playing some imaginary game of his own so that's a point in his favour.
Gullit was very effective but hardly exciting to watch and has since just become ridiculous (Pizza?). Bergkamp maybe?
No I'm not Dutch or even Shhteve McClarensssh.
By the way chose an identity and remembered why took so long- 8 character password? Ouch! brain strain beer has not been kind to memory cells TMc

jd said...

from watching youtube you couldnt really argue with the choice of baggio,but for me growing up in the90's it was edgar davids-what a man! even had the shades to prove it..

ya ronaldo and zizou good shouts aswell but how bout the hole england 96 squad?? gazza,southgate,graham le saux.........the list goes on:P


Donal said...

Lothar Matthaus or Paolo Maldini

JJ said...

Some good names lads - I'd lump in Effenburg as well purely because he was one of the few players to actually best Keane on some occassions that decade. Plus he's a complete bastard so most people forget he was a decent player.

How bout this - most overrated player of that decade?

Papin perhaps? Pants at Milan after scoring loads in france. In today's market would he just be seen as another Kezman? Well maybe not that bad, but the French hold him in very high regard when not many others do.

Mal said...

Enjoyed the Christmas podcast lads. When can we expect another one? Easter?

Mark said...

we do plan to do some more pods this years, not sure how often we'll get around to it, but could be one around february for the CL

soupnazi said...

The lads at off the ball were talking about Denilson yesterday who probably fits the over-rated and overpriced slot. Also they mentioned Giles dissed Cruyff saying he had him in his pocket when they played each other so looking forward to that podcast. Veron.. towards the end there you could feel the stress rolling off him just trying to make something happen. F**ing Craig over-rated Bellamy! Mark Hughes you have all that money and this is the height of your ambitions?
Sly Stallone is producing/acting in a film called the expendables and has cast Jet-li, Dolph Lundgren, himself(duh),Jason Statham, Forest Whitaker and God knows who else probably Van Damme. Now obviously this thing is gonna suck but it' the kind of gung-ho scattershot casting you wish Hughes would embrace. City are going to fire you sooner rather than later Mark so just go mad and enjoy yourself for the next few months. The Premiership is a soap opera anyway so just go with it.

JJ said...

Mickey Rourke is in the expendables as well apparentlyand it's going to be the absolute business. "A team of mercenaries head to South America on a mission to overthrow a dictator," goes the blurb and apparently Dolph is the guy hired to protect the evil spic in question. Cue Rocky 4 rematch. Ave it!!

Good method for hughes definitely - go for all the old stagers around europe (Raul, Del Piero, Pirlo). Then bring ollie kahn out of retirement, get in ashley cole on 200 grand a week then play bridge ahead of him for a start too.

KB said...

Wos what a nice post man! I had goose bumps while reading it. Keep posted and god luck!

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