Following on from the Greatest Midfields thread, I'm curious to know who the Caf believe to be the best B2B midfielders of all-time. The definition of B2B is being competent in defense, neutral or attack. By this criteria alone, many players fall short. I am going to hazard a guess that on a United forum, Keane and Robson will get an overwhelming majority of the vote, but where do they really sit in the grand scheme of things? I think Falcao is the best B2B in history, but if it were based on merit, then Lothar Matthaus must surely be the #1 pick for all that he was central to winning. But then again, where does the likes of Xavi fit into the picture? He played central midfield, but he could hardly be considered a box-to-box, all-purpose, multi-functioning midfielder, right? After all, take away his passing, and he is a very ordinary player Me personally, I'd go with. 1. Falcao 2. Neeskens 3. Matthaus 4. Schweinsteiger 5. Keane Reasoning: IMO, Falcao is the most skilled CM there has ever been - at least on film - and he could do things with a ball that none of the others could whilst possibly not being as good defensively as them. He could more than hold his own behind the ball and was positionally astute to a level that would be deemed world class in its own right. In modern football, he would be moved to AM because his skills are too undeniable to be 'wasted' with defensive duties. Falcao's skillset is like an amalgamation of numerous great midfielders rolled into one: Easily one of the best distance shooters in history; comfortably one of the best dribblers from midfield; two-footed to top percentile levels; combination passing to equal Xavi; one-touch to equal Busquets; long-passing not far off Pirlo and co.; an ability to convert in the box like a ghosting attacking midfielder; stamina; acceleration; pace; heading; volleying. Falcao has no weaknesses or deficiencies. Even if he isn't the best at a particular facet, he'll be top 5 in the majority of categories for a midfielder. If we were to score each attribute out of 100, across the board, it tallies to an extraordinary points total that I don't believe anyone else can match. Falcao was the highest paid player in the world for a period of the 80's and was also vying with Platini to be the best player in the whole of Serie A. His legend has actually diminished greatly with time so whilst Platini is still considered a true great, you have to dig a lot deeper to find similar comments regarding Falcao despite him being a par player during their playing careers. Neeskens, for me, is the best pure b2b the sport has seen if you want someone to do a number of jobs in that role, linking the team and being an understated force that lets 'bigger' names shine and takes no glory for himself, unless you need a penalty converted. A better version of the Modric persona, if you will. Fast, mobile, two-footed, techincally adept, dogged, tireless, clean in the tackle, intelligent, flexible, multi-functional, consistent, dependable. The adjectives keep coming because Neeskens was a stellar player well worth a place in a world all-time xi in his own right. So understated is he that it's hard to get a decent compilation vid off Youtube to put up for him. Ridiculous. Lothar Matthaus. As I stated initially, he has claim to be the #1 on any b2b CM list. He had everything you want in a CM and his goal contribution and ability to drive a team forward is the stuff of legend. In terms of the player Matthaus was during his prime, many consider him an AM because of the amount of times he would drive into the box. The thing is, however, Matthaus would gladly do that from the half line over and over again whilst maintaining studiousness on the defensive end, too. For that reason, he is really hard to definitively categorize as either a CM or an AM, as he was both rolled into one until Father Time had a say. I don't believe him to be better at being Neeskens (the epitome of box-to-box doggedness) than Neeskens, as no-one is that, nor was he a better footballer than Falcao on a technical level, but what he has over both of them is a will to win that bordered on insanity. Like Keane, you don't get a higher level of drive, you just get par so whatever you level at others in this respect, you have to do for Matthaus as he is inferior to none in that regard. If Falcao is a champion-winning pure breed and Neeskens is some kind of lab-made terrier, Matthaus is the Pit-Bull that doesn't know when its beaten. He would go up against anyone or any team and expect to find a way to win. His battles with Maradona are legendary and there's a kind of drive in Matthaus that galvanises a team, a club or a nation equally. In many ways, he's the better version of Roy Keane just because his God-given talent was [far] greater. The same way Keane led and drove both club and country, Matthaus did, just with considerably more ability. The challenge for any midfield that faced Matthaus was simply matching his drive and stamina. He would work tirelessly to find any chink in an armour and as he was a supreme athlete, he would gladly just run a team to death if their players couldn't manage that for 90 minutes. Like Lampard, Matthaus would make the same runs over and over and over his intent, always, was to switch things up when he'd softened up his opposing numbers and blast one home. Brilliant in the tackle, solid passing, positionally aware, fast, mobile, strong, nasty Matthaus, like his persona was like a Terminator, and you could fairly argue that if Falcao had that kind of will to win, he could have done more in the game than he did, even for Neeskens, you could say with a Matthaus-level of will to win, maybe he'd have a World Cup winners medal instead of a runners-up one. Matthaus, Varela, Maradona, Keane and this type are a category of their own when it comes to will to win. Matthaus gave the impression he was willing to die out there. Schweinsteiger. His time at United may have tainted him somewhat, but what preceded it, especially during his peak, was a level not many CM's have reached in the game. As he's a modern player, I won't wax lyrical as he doesn't need it. Keane. I think Keane has to occupy the 5th spot over better footballers such as Bozsik, Robson, Ocwirk, Coluna, Sastre and so forth because he showed with Ireland that he could be an Island all by himself that could drive a bunch of relative cloggers to heights they would get nowhere near without him. It's all well and good doing what he did in a World Class United side, but to then exceed that with inferior team-mates is the stuff of legend. Keane's performances that got Ireland to Saipan were simply incredible. In terms of raw ability, he falls some way short of everyone on this list both those listed and the ones I've put him in ahead of, but it goes to show that utilization of what a player has is just as important, if not more, than outright ability. Keane is not out of place on any list that discusses all-time B2B CM's. All the nonsense revolving around Keane that doesn't pertain to his actual performance and ability on the pitch has created a lazy haze by which he's labelled a thug and all the other shite that seeks to discredit the player he was. Players like Scholes, Pirlo, Xavi are difficult to label as CM's in the presence of such beasts who were two-way powerhouses, which is why I don't consider them suitable in the slightest to be in such a discussion. Who are your 5, and why?