My Perfect Player #22
Here we are then – the final edition of ‘My Perfect Player’. It’s been a bumpy ride, thanks to those who have tuned in. The final writer is Vampy Archer, a German football fan, and as such, his is a Deutsch version. You can find Vampy on Twitter here, and posting on Football Stryder & Werkself Stryder. I hope you enjoy reading his piece – I did!
Brain — Franz Beckenbaeur
When it comes to brain, it’s a no-brainer as far as German football is concerned. You just can’t go wrong and you won’t go any other way because: “All roads lead to Kaiser!” Franz Beckenbaeur was the beacon of Germany in the golden era of football which oversaw, perhaps, the greatest of the greatest football players playing together and against each others. While many would argue on Beckenbaeur’s contemporaries — mainly Pele, Cruyff, and Sir Bobby Charlton — being better than him but one thing that outshone others was Beckenbaeur’s intelligence.
That style of play which emancipated from the heart of the defense, reaching out the midfield, and finding the ways to dismantle the opposition’s defense through passes or dummy runs with brilliance, swiftness, and predatory intentions was sublime to watch. Franz Beckenbaeur was so immense in his role that it led to the invention of the role, famously known as, “Libero”. He always carried this aura which made others believe that he is some kind of a philosopher; always gave thoughtful interviews. Some would say that either he has had IQ level of +160 or he was a natural born genius.
Eyes — Günter Netzer
Netzer was not only one of the best passers of the ball around but he had an eye for goal as well. Playing in the golden era of German football, the all-attacking flair of Borussia Mönchengladbach was the answer to the rigid style of Bayern Munich and Netzer was the one who used to run the rings at Borussia Mönchengladbach. At times, Bayern Munich spilled out some fearsomeness with the names of Maier, Breitner, Beckenbaeur, and Gerd Müller while Gladbach had Vogts, Heynckes, and Netzer.
The quality of players at both teams led them to have a short-lived rivalry between them as Gladbach won back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 1970 and 1971. Not only that, Gladbach finished third in ’68 and ‘69 season which denoted that some work was in progress and their championship titles was the result of hard work and attacking mentality.
Netzer was the core figure behind the success that Gladbach enjoyed. He would pass the ball around which would always lead to attacking build-ups and his movement on the pitch always landed him at the right place and the right time. He was one sensational player and never failed to amaze the fans. Ladies and gentlemen, German Footballer of the Year for 1972 and 1973 season: Günter Netzer.
Mouth — Stefan Effenberg
Controversial choice, controversial player but what could never be doubted was his leadership. Effenberg was a fearsome and controversial leader for all the right reasons as he never missed an opportunity to instigate some attention with his behavior. He was like Roy Keane, if you want to get there. You either hate these guys or love these guys. There’s no middle-ground here but the players like Stefan Effenberg always ‘make’ you appreciate the fact that whenever they took on the field, they gave their 100% and never missed the chance to use their mouths/words in right or wrong way depending on which side (colleague or opposition) they were shouting at!
However, what’s different with Effenberg was; he could pass the ball “really well”, could defend/tackle, could even dribble with ball, and could hit the back of the net. He was a born fighter. What else could you ask for?
Heart — Michael Ballack
It’s alright to try and win the trophies and awards. It speaks of your mental strength and toughness to deal with the pressure and deliver the results. However, it’s just completely different story when you try and lose. On big things. Like Champions League Final. Euro Championships Final. And sending your team to World Cup final but missing it due to yellow card accumulation in semi-final. You scored the goal which sent the team to the final. Yet you miss it.
You have been an exemplary leader. Every team would simply go on war and kill to have some leader like that. You are always there to take one for the team. Yet, you never get tired of doing what you do! And what does it all speak of? I wouldn’t know. But it surely has to deal with heart. Like Brave Heart. Lion Heart. Iron Heart. Or something like that.
Lungs — Philipp Lahm
I think that this person has nothing inside him but two big lungs. He is seen running up and down the flanks — no matter which side of the pitch, left or right, he is positioned at — rigorously and vigorously. It’s not only his running but also his shield that he provides for the player who plays ahead of him, further-up-field. The club he has been playing for, Bayern Munich, he has Ribery on left and Robben on right. Both of these players have excelled with Lahm providing that shield and support for them.
He is kind of a player who ‘compels’ the wingers to transform in to inside-wingers in order to cut-inside; as his job, when attacking, is to get forward and provide more depth with his attacking pedigree up-the-flanks. After years of playing at right-back, Lahm will be re-deployed on left-back this upcoming season for the club and the country and the two people who will benefit the most from this will be Ribery and Lukas Podolski respectively.
Ladies and Gentlemen, keep your Bales, Maicons, and Alves in your pocket because Lahm, for all the right and wrong reasons, is the best full-back of modern era.
Hands — Oliver Kahn
Not only could this “were-wolf” be the hands but the face as well. Do I need to say more? Yes? Go away!
Legs — Gerd Müller
Müller was/is not your traditional center-forward. In that golden era, you would probably go with Pele, Maradona, Kempes, and Rossi but not Müller. In this modern era, you would definitely go with Villa, Drogba, Ronaldo, and van Persie but not Müller again. Reason? Perhaps, he was too ugly and too short. But, my friends, he was one hell of a striker. Despite being short, he could spring out of dangerous headers amidst the tall, rigid defenders. But what set him apart, were his legs. He would use those little legs to cover short distance but with dummy acceleration which always baffled the opposition. In result, he always ended up at the spot where others didn’t want him to be i.e. from the goal-scoring spot and he just wouldn’t miss the opportunity when he was just there. A nightmare of the defense and goalies alike — Gerd Müller. The man was a monster in “footballing terms”.
Left Foot — Lukas Podolski
When we are talking about Podolski’s left foot, then all those scientific terms used for speed and sound will spring in mind. Podolski has scored some memorable goals with his left foot and I haven’t seen any other player scoring the goals with such fierce power and precision at the same time with the left foot, again and again. Volleys, grounded shots, top-corner scorchers, or any other shot you can come up with that a man can score with his foot; Podolski has covered them all with style. He keeps venom in his left foot and unleashes it whenever the need be.
Right Foot — “Kalle” Rummenigge
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was a bundle of energy. He ran like a mad man whenever he was on the pitch. He always encouraged others with the ball at his feet and giving the gestures with his hands to march ahead. His predatory right foot was the difference. One moment, he would push the ball ahead with his right foot and the other moment he would use it to flip the ball sideways to escape defenders. He is the second most prolific scorer in the Bayer Munich’s history and has many memorable moments where he displayed his technical prowess with overhead kicks, ball-control, and some unforgettable goals with his right foot. He surely had some magic in his right foot.