Monday, January 17, 2011

In Europe the best player of the year was heavy problem: it was clearly either Cruyff, or Beckenbauer – but who was better?
They were the best players of the whole world back then, both representing the new revolutionary football, the new kind of star. Both in top form, often playing against each other to the delight of the crowds, and friendly to each other. Shoulder to shoulder, they were ‘total football’.
Cruyff was voted European Footballer of the Year at the end – for third time. FIFA voted him the Best player of Year in the world in 1974.
In terms of superiority, there was no doubt about Cruyff and Beclenbauer – third placed Deyna has 70 points less than Beckenbauer! The final list – unlike nowadays, back then there was no ‘preselection’ of candidates: journalists filled out the names of those they thought best, no matter who the players were – clearly spells out that total football ruled. The only star belonging to 1960s here is Altafini from Juventus. Along with him, only two other players did not appear at the World Cup finals – Guillou and Blokhin. Except obviously biased patriotic voting (Bonev, Altafini, Guillou, and Blokhin), all other players made strong impression at the World Cup. And the final table quite justly represents the level of performance of the players, but these are the ‘lower levels’ – as for first and second, it was tough. Was Cruyff really better than Beckenbauer? Well… Cruyff won the Spanish championship with Barcelona and led Holland to silver medals at the World Cup. Beckenbauer merely won the West German championship and the European Champions Cup with Bayern, and the World Cup with West Germany.