15 Best Playmakers in Football History

Who is the greatest playmaker in the history of football?

A playmaker has role as the offense initiator as well as the team's general. A good team is usually reinforced by a quality playmaker. Not only has a role as the center of the offense, the playmaker should also create accurate passes and even sometimes is required to score a goal.

Most of the world's best players such as Zico, Michel Platini, and Johann Cruyff were playmakers for their respective teams. The question is, who is the best among them? Be sure to give your vote at the end of this article.

15. Cesc Fabregas

Fabregas' central role as a playmaker was very noticeable when he played for Arsenal. At his young age (17 years), Fabregas was trusted to be the Gunners' midfield leader. His performances was greatly praised, and as a result he was transferred to Barcelona for quite a high fee, about 40 million euros. In contrast to his role in Arsenal, Fabregas does not play as a playmaker, but more often positioned as a shadow striker or center midfielder in Barcelona and Spain national team.

14. Roberto Baggio

Skills that must be owned by a playmaker are creativity and good vision. Both of them are possessed by Roberto Baggio perfectly, although his physical abilities were not as strong as other Italian players. Baggio is often touted as a "fantasista," a player who is able to create magic on the field with his passings, dribblings, and goals. Baggio's role as playmaker became more dominant when he played for Brescia at the end of his career.

13. Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil was very instrumental in helping Cristiano Ronaldo scored hundreds of goals in Real Madrid. This player several years in a row became the assists leader at Madrid before being transferred to Arsenal in 2013. At Arsenal, his role as a playmaker even shines brighter, where he gave a lot of assists for Giroud, Podolski, Walcott, and other Arsenal strikers. Ozil's role as a playmaker in the German national team is up to now irreplaceable.

12. Zico

Zico is an example of a playmaker who also scored a lot of beautiful goals. Throughout his career from 1971 to 1994, Zico scored 192 goals in 334 appearances. He was the leader of Samba team in the 1978 World Cup, where Brazil was able to reach the third place. In addition to having vision and pretty good creativity, Zico was also a reliable penalty and a free kick taker.

11. Juan Veron

This bald haired Argentine midfielder was a key player who helped Lazio won the Scudetto in the 1999-2000 season. Together with Matias Almeyda, Pavel Nedved, and Roberto Mancini; Veron was able to create a very solid midfield line. He possessed accurate long-distance passes and often scored goals from powerful shot outside the penalty box. One more point, Veron is also a good corner kick and free kick taker.

10. Kaka

Kaka is a figure that has already listed as one of the AC Milan's living legends, although he is still actively playing for this club. He presented an Italian league titles and a Champions League trophy in his first period of playing with Rossoneri from 2003 to 2009. He was also twice elected the best player of Serie A and awarded the Ballon d'Or in 2007. After being benched in most of his career in Real Madrid, Kaka again shows his true skills when he returned to AC Milan in 2013.

9. Andrea Pirlo

Pirlo is an example of an ideal playmaker. This player has always been central figure wherever he played, whether it is in Reggina, Brescia, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Juventus, even in the Italian national football team. His composure and skill helped Italy to win the 2006 World Cup. In addition to be very skilled with the ball, Pirlo also have pretty good leadership qualities, making him often trusted to be the team captain.

8. Zvonimir Boban

This Croatian midfielder was an important figure in AC Milan midfield line for eleven years, from 1991 to 2002. Along with Croatian national team, Boban helped his country reach third place in the 1998 World Cup. His career at AC Milan was quite great, filled with achievements. At AC Milan Boban claimed four Serie A titles, a Champions League title, and three Italian Super Cups.

7. Wesley Sneijder

Sneijder is the best Dutch player after the era of Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Kluivert. The player who grew up in the academy of Ajax Amsterdam has additional skill that is not possessed by other playmakers, which is the ability to provide highly accurate long pass. His club career with Ajax, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid were filled with trophies and individual awards. Not only that, Sneijder also often scores great goals from free kicks.

6. Iniesta

There are not many playmakers who has speed and dribbling skills as good as Iniesta. This player is a part of the Golden Generation of the Spanish national team who won two European Cups (2008 and 2012) as well as a World Cup trophy in 2010. Iniesta also plays very well at club level with Barcelona. In addition to a variety of team trophies, he also won numerous individual awards.

5. Xavi Hernandez

Xavi Hernandez is a person who plays an important role as a center of Barcelona's attack pattern strategy called as "Tiki-Taka." Many people said that Xavi is the most vital figure in Barcelona. At the age of more than 30 years, his position as a playmaker is irreplaceable. Almost the same as most others on this list playmaker, Xavi is also a very great set-piece taker.

4. Lothar Matthaus

Lothar Matthaus holds the record as the player with most appearances record in the German national team. He is also a living legend of German's giants, Bayern Munich, where he played the team for 12 years. Not only from the midfield, Matthaus even played his role as a playmaker from the defense line because in later period of his career he was mostly positioned as a central defender. The best achievement Matthaus ever achieved are winning the World Cup and the Ballon d'Or in 1990.

3. Ronaldinho

Ronaldinho is not just a football player, but he is an example of a true artist. His golden period was when he played for Barcelona from 2003 to 2008. During this period, Ronaldinho won La Liga title and the Ballon d'Or award. He is also often regarded as the mentor of the younger players who later raised to fame such as Leonel Messi and Pedro. At the national team level, the player who has incredible dribbling ability helped Brazil win the World Cup in 2002, Copa America in 1999, and Confederations Cup in 2005.

2. Michel Platini

Not only acting as a playmaker, Platini was also took a role as the goal machine of Juventus. He listed himself as three times the Italian league's top scorer, and three times also won the Ballon d'Or award. Platini's playing style is not too much different from most playmaker in this list, where he possessed a very accurate passing ability, frequently scored goals, and created numerous assists from set-piece conditions.

1. Johan Cruyff

More than just a normal player, Johan Cruyff was often regarded as a coach who plays on the pitch. He was the conductor of total football tactics that helped Ajax Amsterdam and the Dutch national team dominate European football in the 1970s. If most playmaker operate from the center of midfield line, Cruyff did not have a definite position. He constantly moved and rotated with other players. His excellent individual as well as team work abilities make Cruyff deserve to be named as the best playmaker in the history of football.

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