Is Zico, not Maradona, the second best player?ever?

Discussion in 'Players & Legends' started by Izzy9, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. Once

    Once Member+

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    Had Zico won the 1982 WC his all time great status would obviously be higher than it is now. But that happens with every player. Titles is a big part of "greatness". Dont mean he would have been any better a player than he was without winning such title. Greatest is not a 100% match with best the way I see it.

    Regarding the direct comparison between Zico and Maradona which James claims to have taken place until 1985 (I would like to see proof of this the same way Vegan provides proof with whatever he claims, because looking at their respective 1984-85, looks to me as if Diego would have already taken a clear lead quite a bit before the World Cup)...
    Anyways, one has to keep in mind that the probably very best years of Zico (or the most noted ones at least) coincided with some of the weakest years of Maradona. Im talking the 1982-84 period.
    On the one hand Zico keeps winning titles with the club of his entire career and takes part in a WC edition being a pillar of one of the most outstanding Brazilian teams of all time. He then has one more outstanding tournament with Flamengo before moving to Italy and have a great season with Udinese.
    Maradona takes part in the World Cup with a team that is broken and completely lacks postive leadership inside and outside the field. Then he moves to the roughest and probably most violent league in Europe to experience a series of problems throughout his two whole seasons in Spain. If in these circumstances they were directly compared and Zico was never clearly ahead of Maradona... what does that say to you? Even if he was. I mean logically he should have, dont you think? It was Zico's most notoriously great period against Maradona's darkest...
    Zico was great, one of my favorite players ever. But Maradona was a superior footballer IMO. The best player ever in my personal view.


  2. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Everyone is entitled to their opinion but the year 1981 was also a very strong year for Zico. That is also part of his strongest years. Brazil national team became fancied pre-tournament favourites in that year with the shortest odds by the bookmakers. Zico was at the center of it with 14 goals in 13 games for Brazil. Zico won Copa Libertadores and Intercontinental Cup as well and that without controversy and while being clearly the biggest creative threat at his team...
    And in 1981 Maradona was still alive and kicking.
    But agree that over whole career the comparison stops.
  3. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    What I want to ask for is the reasons, or reasoning, behind your idea that Maradona wouldn't have veered back if he had stayed in Spain. Why do you think it is plausible that he was in a inescapable downward spiral? Why did he not 'fit' in those circumstances (as opposed to Italy, why was that a better fit)?

    About those early Pelé comparisons since 1978, from which newspaper was that screenshot taken? I remember you saying in the past that he wasn't anything special until 1978 (as response to the debate whether he belonged at the 1978 World Cup, you argued that he really started to explode a year later).
  4. Bruford

    Bruford Member

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    To be fair, there was a big controversy in Libertadores´81, in the decisive match against Atletico (Reinaldo, Toninho Cerezo, Eder, Joao Leite, Luizinho,etc, a huge side). Flamengo was the government´s favorite side at that times, and Zico was their golden boy, while Reinaldo was controversial and always said some bad things about brazilian dictatorship. In the beginning of the first half, the controversial referee Wright expelled Reinaldo. Then, he expelled Eder too. Then, he expelled more players of Atletico´s side and the team decided to give up of the game. It was of one the biggest controversy in a game envolving two brazilian. Look at 0:26 (Reinaldo)and 1:05 Eder)
    PuckVanHeel repped this.


  5. Lucas Gomes

    Lucas Gomes Member+

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    Bruford, prepares to flamenguistas quickly come defend the biggest assault in the history of brazilian football. :D
  6. Once

    Once Member+

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    1981 was indeed one of Zico's most notorious ones. Playing for a Flamengo that had been getting stronger around his figure for years now, winning Continental and Intercontinental titles in impressive fashion. At the same time, Maradona was in the middle of a very tense situation with the Argentine media, AFA and Menotti due to his wanting to leave for Barcelona since mid 1980 but not being allowed since he was in the list of intranferible players for the WC. A circumstance that was a very public affair at the time, with huge media pressure and I would even say harrasement towards the young star. Not to mention he was in a new team, which he managed to lead to the Argentine league title as the best player in the country once again despite the said situation, the first league title for Boca since 1976 and last until 1992. Even then, I am not sure Zico was clearly ahead of him and considered the undisputed best player out there, even though he had a seemingly better season. Didnt Vegan mention a poll similar to that of South American Player of the Year that had Maradona in the top spot for 1981?
  7. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    Well there was a certain controversy about that game! But Puck meant Zico's performance was great no "controversy" about it! that ONE CONTROVERSIAL game did NOT hinder Zico's 11goals as topscorer in such competition!
  8. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member

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    Yes. They swapped positions in different magazines/newspapers (El Pais and El Grafico) which were voted by roughly 100 reporters from the continent - but as I said then, many of the reporters that voted could not have had access to covering every league to reach such a conclusion. Basically these two players were receiving this recognition based already on reputation. In any case, you are referring to best performer of the season - not who was considered the greater or better player, which by acclamation was Maradona.

    Zico's reign lasted roughly to the beginning/middle of 1984. By the middle of that year Platini had made a massive leap and held claims as the best footballer on the planet - as Brian Glanville would state after the 1984 Euro in the Spanish newspaper of Mundo Deportivo, 7 September 1984: "Perhaps at this moment - with all respect to the turbulent Maradona - Platini is the best in the world..." http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1984/06/21/pagina-44/1126081/pdf.html?search=maradona [article in Spanish]

    Brian Glanville's article mentions those two, but not Zico. It is quite evident that by then Zico had faded (injuries, age and nutrition) and it became evident that the world viewed Platini-Maradona as the two premier players in the game.
    msioux75 repped this.
  9. Pipiolo

    Pipiolo Member+

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    Amazing, he would repeat the stepping on the ball at the beginning of that dribble in his second goal against England at WC86.
  10. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member

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    I don't necessarily think so. Pele was regarded as the best in the world from an early age, something which never qualified for Zico. He, unlike Pele and Maradona, never entered a WC with a consensus opinion as being viewed as the best. Yes, he was labeled "the white Pele" but so was Tostao, Cruyff and some others before him. His case was nothing unique. What put in serious peril Pele's throne was Maradona - simply because he had the support of the world-media, managers and players around the world hailing him as the best from an early age with a bombardment of comparisons that questioned if he was already better than some of those former mortals. He had the support of the propaganda which Zico lacked.

    My view if Zico is on a WC winning side is that he becomes an important integral part of being a champion on what was considered to be a great side that were heavy favorites to win it all entering the tournament. [Notice when you read articles (The New York Times) or stories (Brian Glanville's The Story of the World Cup) you notice it either says the favorites Brazil or the Brazil as talented as the 1970 side - but when spoken of Argentina it's regarded as the Argentina of Maradona].

    It’s unfathomable to accept the idea that a player that was overlooked by Zagallo (the manager of Flamengo as well at the time) prior to WC74 when Zico was already 21 years old – can have any legitimate argument about walking in the same shoes that the “Black Pearl” walked. Moreover, Brazil in 1978 with Zico at 25 years of age, made very little headlines – he himself didn’t enter as the undisputed best player in the world – he was just regarded among many notable players at the time, but nothing more. In 1982 he walked in the shadows of Maradona and Rummenigge, never superseding them – so how could he realistically put in peril Pele’s throne? Pele was considered the best in the world heading into the 1962 and 1966 World Cups, something which Zico by acclamation never obtained.
  11. Pipiolo

    Pipiolo Member+

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    Fair enough, just one thing: Zico dusted Rummeniegge at WC82, he was 3x better at least. He was also better than Maradona, but not winning the trophy possibly kept him from superseding him in the world's view.
  12. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member

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    After the match Scotland manager Jock Stein said: "He's 5ft 5in but is 12ft TALL ON TALENT."
  13. Pipiolo

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    I think it was Bryan Robson who said: "Maradona is both smaller and bigger than everyone else in football" :D
    RoyOfTheRovers repped this.
  14. Vegan10

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    Diego was always a difficult personality to handle. Off the field he did not get along with the chairman of the club. He was young and accused of being involved with a clan which became known as the “Maradona clan.” He was accused of being poorly managed and hanging with the wrong crowds and accused of wanting power over the club. On the field he was constantly being hunted by ‘hunters’ or the ‘Police’ - as Spanish newspapers called them – and I really believe that had he suffered another injury as the one that required him to play the rest of his career with two metal screws attached to his ankle – that he would have ended up as another statistic being forced to retire at an early age. As Bobby Robson said on the eve of the 1986 WC "he gets chopped down more than any player I’ve ever known".

    It was from the Spanish newspaper of Mundo Deportivo.

    I’m not sure if I said he wasn’t anything special – the guy made his NT debut in 1976 at the age of 16! He was voted by El Grafico as the revelation of the 1978 season – but still unproven at the international level – the youth side failed to qualify for the 1977 WC and he was a part of that roster. In 1979 he flourished in the qualifiers and at the Youth World Cup he exploded with being unanimously voted the most valuable player of the tournament, drawing headlines from around the world by famous people such as Pele, Enzo Bearzot, Kubala, Nicolas Causuas, Tardelli, Zico, etc – all praising him as the next star destined to dominate a decade. Even Pele invited him to his house in Rio and both supposedly became friends. Everything happened so fast from there on. The European friendlies in 1979 also made the world appreciate him.

    What occurred with Menotti (a former teammate of Pele) is that he preferred more experienced players for the WC and if you go through the roster you will notice that there was no player younger than 21. And one must remember that there were other top players that were left off which had more established careers than Diego at that time – Bochini for example.
  15. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member

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    Thanks for the kind words and thanks for the link.
  16. Once

    Once Member+

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    Besides the revelation of the season, in 1978 he was also the joint top scorer of the Metropolitano...
    At least according to Gonzalo Bonadeo (one of the top sports journalists in Argentina), Argentinos Jrs. teammate Carlos Álvarez was top scorer in 1977 thanks largely to (teenager) Maradona's playmaking and influence.
    El Beto Alonso, who was not cut from the 1978 WC squad but was not used either, has stated that himself and Diego used to help the subs regularly beat the starters in training before the tournament, something that tormented Menotti.
    Recently Daniel Bertoni said during a TV interview with Fernando Niembro (if I remember correctly), that Maradona could and should have been part of that WC squad (and also Bochini in 1974, btw).
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  17. Guigs

    Guigs Member+

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    Ok so if the hypothesis of any S.A. player winning 2 WCs, and 2 CWC wouldn't make him a legend and likely the second best player ever if not the best? You really believe that?

    Plus Messi does not do well against those same type defenses, he keeps penetrating Malaga, Betis, Osauna... seriously.. didn't you watch the Milan game? Didnt you watch Chelsea last year? Argentina in the Copa America.. can we stop with that now? honestly
  18. axxess mundi

    axxess mundi Member

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    74? I thought he wasn't called in 78 because of his age.
  19. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Can you maybe post the results for the years you have?

    What about the 1983 year in your opinion?
  20. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    To be fair, I forgot about that one. I think I've read the story once somewhere but TBH I totally forgot it.
    Indeed, viewing the overall career Zico his plaudits and prizes do not have big traces of controversy surrounding it.
  21. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    Show me one player in SA has done such 2 WCs + 2CWC (besides Pele)?

    Plus, it's NOT all about wining those cups, but the performance is HIGHLY REQUIRED.
    Pele is a GOLDENRULE for anyone who tries to be KING in football:
    - 12goals+9ass/14games WC (3WCs)
    - 7goals+5ass/3games CWC (2 intercontinental cups)
    - 17goals+?ass/15games (2 Libertadore cups)
    - 8goals+ ?ass/6games (Copa America finalist)
    - 11 topscorers (paulista)
    - 4 Topscorers (Brazil cup, Sao Paolo)


    I always said Messi is NO Pele ... (only his die hard fans would fantasize that)
    But, he is surely better than Neymar now ... and yes I am a Brazil fan.
    If some of you still try to believe or make the case that Neymar is a "new Pele" or he is on par with Messi? That will only OVERATE his ability and make him WORSE
  22. Guigs

    Guigs Member+

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    That's the whole point, nobody has, that's why he's Pele.. I wasn't arguing that Neymar is the next Pele, I was arguing why is that whoever mythical player that comes along would need to go into Europe to prove himself. When the Golden Rule.. was formed outside of Europe...

    Going to Europe will make you famous and rich, it won't make you Pele.
  23. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    It's true, Going to Europe does not make a new Pele, but it might (possibly) turn a Neymar into a new Rivaldo or Ronaldinho (at least) no? Certainly we don't want to waste Neymar talent being "SATURATED" in Brazil league like he was since last year until now
  24. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member

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    Yes, I'll look for that info again. But bear in mind it's only for the magazine of El Grafico, not Mundo or El Pais.


    Well, I'll cite what some were saying at that time. It was still mostly viewed as Maradona-Zico-Rummenigge and even Shuster, Falcao or Platini. But perhaps Maradona and Zico were the most talked about during that year.

    I'll translate the best I can (it's a lot).

    "Zico, considered along with Maradona as one of the best in the world" 3 June 1983
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/09/27/pagina-18/1441353/pdf.html?search=Maradona

    "Maradona, the most interesting player, the most skilled, and magnetic in the world.." (this was an article written after he got injured) - 1 November 1983 - Brian Glanville (British historian) Mundo
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/11/01/pagina-18/1110432/pdf.html?search=maradona

    "There's no doubt: Maradona is the number 1 player in the world. At his level there's nobody. Just below him is Rummenigge" - 9 October 1983 - Manager Cesar Luis Menotti
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/07/30/pagina-7/1095313/pdf.html?search=zico

    "Maradona: after Johan Cruyff, the best in the world" - 22 January 1983 - Dutch manager Leo Beenhakker (manager of Celta)
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/01/22/pagina-3/1087592/pdf.html?search=Maradona

    "Maradona is the best in the world" - 26 July 1983 - manager of Espanyol
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/07/26/pagina-4/1102510/pdf.html?search=Maradona

    "Shuster and Maradona the two best in the world" - Allen Simonsen 28 January 1983
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/01/02/pagina-10/1092663/pdf.html?search=Maradona

    "The best players in the world, if we take out Maradona and Rummenigge and some Brazilians..." - Italy NT manager Enzo Bearzot - 9 August 1983
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1981/01/10/pagina-32/1103118/pdf.html?search=rummenigge

    Maradona: "He's an authentic "crack" ... and perhaps among the rest of leaders of fooballers, he's number 1 in the world" - 8 July 1983 - Reporter from Mundo
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/03/05/pagina-4/1109864/pdf.html?search=Maradona

    "Speaking of Zico: I don't believe in Zico. Maradona surpasses him in something very important, that he knows how to free himself easier from tight markings, he has better change of pace and he's more intelligent. It's true that Zico scores a lot and knows how to shoot from any position but it's not so difficult to shut him down." - Helenio Herrera - 3 July 1983
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/2006/02/11/pagina-4/1095351/pdf.html?search=zico

    "Maradona and Shuster are the two best in the world" - 22 October 1983 - Helenio Herrera
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/08/27/pagina-9/1095938/pdf.html?search=Maradona

    "... considers Coria the second best player after Maradona..." Belgium NT manager - 26 July 1983
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/07/30/pagina-10/1102515/pdf.html?search=zico

    "Maradona is the best number 10 in the world" - 19 May 1983 - Mundo Deportivo
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/07/26/pagina-4/1083145/pdf.html?search=Maradona

    "Maradona is the best player in the world" 13 September 1983 Mundo Deportivo
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/07/26/pagina-40/1096530/pdf.html?search=Maradona

    "Maradona is already the best in the world" - 28 June 1983 - according to the Madrid Press after Barca-Real Madrid derby
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/07/26/pagina-4/1411526/pdf.html?search=Maradona

    Maradona ...considered as the best player currently in the world..." 26 April 1983 - Mundo Deportivo
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/09/27/pagina-8/1087988/pdf.html?search=Maradona

    "Maradona... He's the best in the world" - 28 June 1983 - Miroslav Votava - German international player for Atletico Madrid
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/03/27/pagina-36/1097386/pdf.html?search=Maradona

    "Maradona is without any doubt the best player in the world" - Murcia manager - 1 October 1983
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/05/05/pagina-11/1099587/pdf.html?search=Maradona

    "Maradona, the best current player in Spanish football - and possibly in the world, although in this case some managers may incline themselves in favor of Zico, Rummenigge or Falcao" - 10 January 1984 - Reporter from Mundo Deportivo http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1997/06/21/pagina-3/1398854/pdf.html?search=zico

    "For me Maradona is the best in the world" - 10 September 1983 - Ivan Brzic - (Yugoslavian manager of Osasuna)
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/04/10/pagina-8/1102348/pdf.html?search=Maradona

    An interview with Maradona: It says "apart from some Brazilians he also included as the best in the world Platini and Rummenigge - 22 March 1983 http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/07/26/pagina-6/1090159/pdf.html?search=Maradona

    "Zico, considered by many as the second best player in the world after Maradona" - 5 January 1984 - Mundo http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1984/05/25/pagina-15/1097990/pdf.html?search=zico

    "Maradona ...catalogued as the current best player in the world.." 4 January 1983 - Report from Mundo
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/03/13/pagina-13/1092372/pdf.html?search=Maradona

    "Maradona: his aspect seems to be somewhat sad... In some ways he should be satisfied since he's received for the 4th sonsecutive year the award of "Gandulla de Oro" as the best player in the world this season" 6 April 1983
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/10/24/pagina-6/1090219/pdf.html?search=Maradona

    Zico best player of South America - El Grafico 28 January 1983
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/01/28/pagina-19/1092672/pdf.html?search=Zico

    "Currently there isn't aces - only Maradona" - 25 October 1983 - Jupp Derwall (German NT manager)
    http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1983/10/25/pagina-2/1099336/pdf.html?search=jupp

    Platini: "Zico number one, then comes Maradona - Zico è il numero uno»
    "Zico e lo specialista più forte non solo ne' nostro campionato ma nel mondo. Poi viene Maradona" - 21 September 1983 - La Stampa
    [​IMG]

    Note: Platini would receive the Ballon d'Or in 1983
    ___________________________________________________________________
    Those are some of the examples of how things were viewed at the time. If anyone has more examples please provide them.
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  25. Once

    Once Member+

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    Vegan, I never heard about the Gandulla de Oro award before... Could you tell me more about it?

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