Nostalgia Draft - SF: Isotope vs harms

With all players in their 3 year peaks, which team would win this game?


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Isotope

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Can you elaborate on
1. What makes a main man
2. What exactly Mendieta loses when he is degraded to "not a main man" status?

I literally have no idea what you mean as Mendieta being the best player in that Valencia side doesn't affect his performance at all. He's not an ego-maniac that would be furious if one of his teammates would be considered more important (like Cristiano); he doesn't have Gerrard-like Roy of the Rovers complex that requires the whole team to adapt to his role... in fact, Mendieta spent his whole peak playing multiple roles (CM/RM/DM/AM/LM and that after being moved from RB) because it helped the team — Cúper used him as an instrument to adjust his team's settings instead of being forced to build it around him.
1. Main man in a sense that he's the driving force on midfield at his peak. Mendieta is not a Rakitic or Xavi's type, where Iniesta had his best.
2. Then Iniesta + Mendieta become 1 + 1 < 2 because someone has to put brake on displaying his best. Who was the "Iniesta" in Valencia?

Although you could argue that Pep could make Silva and KDB work in midfield three.
 
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harms

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Then Iniesta + Mendieta become 1 + 1 < 2 because someone has to put brake on displaying his best.
But... why? You keep saying things like they're facts, but the thing that I'm asking is at least some kind of an explanation behind them. Iniesta didn't have any issues with literally any midfielder (or player for that matter) that he played with, be it dominant playmakers like Xavi, good all-rounders like Rakitic, crazy box-to-box attackers like Vidal etc. Mendieta at his peak played multiple roles adjusting his game to fit the needs of a team.

What qualities can't Mendieta display because of Iniesta?
What qualities can't Iniesta display because of Mendieta?

Main man in a sense that he's the driving force on midfield at his peak. Mendieta is not a Rakitic or Xavi's type, where Iniesta had his best.
Xavi was much more or a main man than Mendieta was at his best by the way. Didn't seem to matter though?
 

Isotope

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But... why? You keep saying things like they're facts, but the thing that I'm asking is at least some kind of an explanation behind them. Iniesta didn't have any issues with literally any midfielder (or player for that matter) that he played with, be it dominant playmakers like Xavi, good all-rounders like Rakitic, crazy box-to-box attackers like Vidal etc. Mendieta at his peak played multiple roles adjusting his game to fit the needs of a team.

What qualities can't Mendieta display because of Iniesta?
What qualities can't Iniesta display because of Mendieta?


Xavi was much more or a main man than Mendieta was at his best by the way. Didn't seem to matter though?
I might not make it clear. Mendieta was the Iniesta of Valencia, unless my memory is failing me. He's the creative driving force of Valencia. Xavi, Rakitic, and Vidal were not the main creative driving force from midfield when playing with Iniesta.

Unless the team is manage by a very specific manager like Pep, team don't usually use to "Iniesta" in midfield.

Maybe Iniesta doesn't have problem playing with Mendieta, but Mendieta most probably is (it's hard to tell, as his peak is a bit short).

That's the best explanation I can give.
 

harms

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@Isotope you can look at Gaizka (peak version) as a much better and improved version of Rakitic in Barcelona.
Out of all the players that have been mentioned so far, he’s probably the closest.

I might not make it clear. Mendieta was the Iniesta of Valencia, unless my memory is failing me. He's the creative driving force of Valencia. Xavi, Rakitic, and Vidal were not the main creative driving force from midfield when playing with Iniesta.
There’s so much that I disagree with (the 29 assists-per-season Xavi not being the main creative force and Mendieta being the Iniesta of Valencia) that it’s probably best to leave it at that, we clearly won’t ever find a common ground on those players.
 

Šjor Bepo

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I might not make it clear. Mendieta was the Iniesta of Valencia, unless my memory is failing me. He's the creative driving force of Valencia. Xavi, Rakitic, and Vidal were not the main creative driving force from midfield when playing with Iniesta.

Unless the team is manage by a very specific manager like Pep, team don't usually use to "Iniesta" in midfield.

Maybe Iniesta doesn't have problem playing with Mendieta, but Mendieta most probably is (it's hard to tell, as his peak is a bit short).

That's the best explanation I can give.
what?:houllier:
I suggest to rewatch few of the games from that period, Xavi was easily the main guy in midfield while Iniesta had the supporting creator role.
 

Jim Beam

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One more thing. That midfield has to be looked as a unit with Dunga acting as an anchor and allowing both Iniesta and Mendieta to be in their element. Without him there, you could make some questions about it. This way it is really balanced and working to everyone’s strength.
 

Isotope

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@Isotope you can look at Gaizka (peak version) as a much better and improved version of Rakitic in Barcelona.
I had him on one of my draft before. So watched some refresher games of him. Harms is right that he could play in different roles, even as defensive LCM. But that's like saying Rooney can play any positions (which is true, but at what level?).

Anyway, Rakitic was the supporting role with Barca (and Croatia); and imho, never be like Mendieta (that got him 2x European Player) as the standout guy in midfield (where Baraja as the supporting role).

But it seems like I got Mendieta's wrong, as many have stated this. So i'll just revisit to the old Valencia's.
 

Isotope

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what?:houllier:
I suggest to rewatch few of the games from that period, Xavi was easily the main guy in midfield while Iniesta had the supporting creator role.
So between Xavi and Iniesta, Iniesta is the "supporting" guy?
 

harms

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It's a false dichotomy to be fair as that midfield, like many others, didn't have main and supporting characters, it worked brilliantly as a unit with each player performing their role to perfection aside from all of them contributing in the possession game — Busquets controlling the space and passing from the back, Xavi setting up the tempo & Iniesta breaking the lines with his dribbling/movement. But if you have to pick one guy out the three to be the main one it would be Xavi, even though I don't like him as much as I like adore Iniesta.
 

Jim Beam

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Anyway, Rakitic was the supporting role with Barca (and Croatia); and imho, never be like Mendieta (that got him 2x European Player) as the standout guy in midfield (where Baraja as the supporting role).
Was talking more about his individual skillset as an all around midfielder with good stamina, defensive workrate and at the same time being capable to hurt you with his forward runs, assisting or scoring.

And for Croatia it was expected of him to be the main guy with Modric. The truth is he just never wasn't that good (like world class or even close to world class level) to fulfill it. Am sure they would love at Barcelona that he was capable of reaching a higher level also which would result in their midfield being more dominant during his time there.
 

Isotope

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Was talking more about his individual skillset as an all around midfielder with good stamina, defensive workrate and at the same time being capable to hurt you with his forward runs, assisting or scoring.

And for Croatia it was expected of him to be the main guy with Modric. The truth is he just never wasn't that good (like world class or even close to world class level) to fulfill it. Am sure they would love at Barcelona that he was capable of reaching a higher level also which would result in their midfield being more dominant during his time there.
Thanks. Didn't think that Iniesta and Mendieta could work (need more legwork). With so many saying than I was wrong on Mendieta and (to some degree) Iniesta, I'd accept it then. I'm just an average football fan, especially on past players.
 

Isotope

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It's a false dichotomy to be fair as that midfield, like many others, didn't have main and supporting characters, it worked brilliantly as a unit with each player performing their role to perfection aside from all of them contributing in the possession game — Busquets controlling the space and passing from the back, Xavi setting up the tempo & Iniesta breaking the lines with his dribbling/movement. But if you have to pick one guy out the three to be the main one it would be Xavi, even though I don't like him as much as I like adore Iniesta.
I just think Iniesta is the more difficult one to replica, instead of Xavi. Imho, you take out Xavi from Barca's midfield and replaced him with Scholes, Modric or Kroos, it would be less damage than trying to replace Iniesta with, for instance, D. Silva or KDB or else.

But then, I'm just an average football fan.
 

Isotope

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You are quite good at building some juggernauts here for an average football fan!

But, modest is the way to go. Am quite exemplary in that sense also.
:lol: high five then!

I was just lucky with some key picks, and opponents missing player. Also, I suspect the regulars just get bored on harms winning.
 

Enigma_87

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So between Xavi and Iniesta, Iniesta is the "supporting" guy?
Both at Barca and Spain it is evident. Iniesta was great facilitator and epitomizes Pep's philosophy to a tee but Xavi was the main conductor and all revolved through him. I disagree that it's easier to replace Xavi than Initesta, quite the opposite in fact.
 

Isotope

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Both at Barca and Spain it is evident. Iniesta was great facilitator and epitomizes Pep's philosophy to a tee but Xavi was the main conductor and all revolved through him. I disagree that it's easier to replace Xavi than Initesta, quite the opposite in fact.
Ok. I don't have strong opinion on this. It was just casual observation, man.
 

Enigma_87

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Ok. I don't have strong opinion on this. It was just casual observation, man.
Yeah, no worries, mate, just putting my .02 out there on the matter. Xavi was always the metronome and usually made about a third more passes in a game compared to Iniesta. Naturally that's because he played in a deeper position, but the game also flows through him and he sets the pace and the tempo. Iniesta is the one to look for in the final third to create something out of nothing (compared between the two), but without Xavi you don't get the tiki taka, IMO.
 

Himannv

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I don't agree with the notion that "Iniesta is easy to replace". Sometimes it's harder to play a role that allows other superstars to shine, while also being a superstar yourself. I think his close control and quality in tight spaces is exceptional. He played as a wide forward and also a DM on occasions so his versatility suits a 3 man midfield very well I think, particularly with a dedicated DM in there.
 

Enigma_87

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I don't agree with the notion that "Iniesta is easy to replace". Sometimes it's harder to play a role that allows other superstars to shine, while also being a superstar yourself. I think his close control and quality in tight spaces is exceptional. He played as a wide forward and also a DM on occasions so his versatility suits a 3 man midfield very well I think, particularly with a dedicated DM in there.
All parts of that Barca setup are hard to replace as the system is very specific and needs appropriate personnel to make it work. Iniesta is exceptional at what he does. I do think however that KdB or Silva can be very good replacements and although not as good as him can make the system tick. I struggle to name one modern day metronome that would replace to the same extent Xavi - Pirlo, Scholes and Modric are only ones that come to mind but still won't be to the same effect.
 

Jim Beam

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Related to the discussion, have to copy this post from @totaalvoetbal from a while ago and with which I pretty much fully agree (I do consider Scholes as the best long passer out of three though).

But, in terms of differences between Scholes, Xavi and Modric he nailed it.

Modric doesn't have the same function as Xavi and Scholes as far as I'm concerned.

Xavi and Scholes (Post 2006) were both organisers. Modric is a needle player like Iniesta.

Xavi was the most complete passer at all ranges of the 3. His technique was excellent and he almost always passed it to your stronger foot and in a way that allowed you to take half a touch and control it easier. First touch wise he has the best first touch I have ever seen and almost always never lost the ball.

In terms of long Passing I would give it to Scholes but Xavi was his equal, short passing there is no contest between the three, Xavi is the best short passer for the reasons I gave in the last paragraph. Throughballs Xavi is the best followed by Scholes and Modric. Modric is relatively weak in this area. Xavi has pssibly the best slide rule pass, it is up there with the best I have seen such as Michael Laudrup and Messi.

In terms of ground coverage there is no contest. From 2008 to 2014, Xavi covered the most ground in every game, made the most passes every game and was involved in all 3 phases of his team, especially in the 08/09 season where Yaya Toure was the holding midfielder and Xavi had to drop deep to collect the ball from the defence, organise the game in the midfield and then make through balls in the final 3rd. That is the most dominant season from a midfielder in the modern era.

In terms of press resistance (facing your own goal) Xavi is arguably the most press reisistant central midfielder I have ever seen. Modric is his equal in this area and Scholes is the weakest, particulalry when he transitioned from his mobile days to the conservative deep lying playmaker post 2006.

In terms of Ball Carrying (going towards the opposition goal) Modric is arguably the best I have ever seen and is the great needle player of this generation alongside Iniesta. Xavi is a bit behind in this area and Scholes is far behind. Modric will use his press resistance and the his ball carrying to relieve his team of pressure which is why he is one of the best players in that position.

In terms of organising/dictating the game, Xavi is the best I have ever seen. He is the main reason it was very difficult to counter attack Barcelona and Spain as he got the ball in congested areas and did the pelopina/faints to avoid getting into culdesacs and that allowed his team to stay very high up the field and not reset attacks when he was pressed. He was the apex of that. When Xavi's physical attributes declined (he had achillies problems for a long time due to covering the most ground in every game for 5+ years), Barcelona and Spain where much easier to counter attack. We saw this especially with Spain as he did not have the legs to carry the ball in all areas and 'out fires high up the pitch' as he could not be all over the pitch so they got dismantled with counters through the centre that would not have happened in Xavi's hey day. The next is Scholes and then followed by Modric.

In terms of vision to spot passes, Xavi again is the best for me followed by Scholes and then Modric. Modric has a lot of situations in Madrid where he could play between the lines but then he checks back and then plays an outside the foot pass to the opposite flank missing a runner. I have seen this in almost every game in Madrid.

Another area is using your weaker foot. In this area Scholes is ahead of both Modric and Xavi as Xavi had to use feints when he couldn't use his left foot and Modric resorts to using the outside of his right foot to try and create the angles if not he checks back using a feint like Xavi. Scholes long range passing with is two feet was superior.

Defensively, when the team sits in a deep block, Modric is better in one vs one situations whilst Xavi was better at covering passing lanes and intercepting when pressing. I don't think I need to talk about Paul Scholes in this area...

The above cannot be analysed without the context of the teams they will play in and the opposition. If I had to pick one of the three (ideally I would partner Modric with one of them), I would follow a general rule:

In a team that depends on tranistions and there is no controller, I would take Paul Scholes as he is a good passer with both feet.

In a team that depends on transitions and has a controller, Modric as he a fantastic ball carrier.

In a team that has a needle player (Modric/Iniesta type player) I would pick Xavi as he would organise the game and get the needle player in better positions to ball carry in the final 3rd.

In a team that plays high up the field and faces low blocks regualry, Xavi as he is extremely press resistant coupled with the ability for his team to not reset ball possession (passing back to the goalkeeper).

It has to be said that Paul Scholes was unfortunate to not play with a needle player in his career. Modric played with Xabi Alonso and now Kroos (Controllers) Whilst Xavi had Iniesta.
 

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Related to the discussion, have to copy this post from @totaalvoetbal from a while ago and with which I pretty much fully agree (I do consider Scholes as the best long passer out of three though).

But, in terms of differences between Scholes, Xavi and Modric he nailed it.
Brilliant post that.
 

antohan

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Baffling discussion. Main men. Replaceability of Xavi and Iniesta. Ignoring Dunga makes the trio work, as the duo alone obviously doesn't.

Top post that @Jim Beam. Had never heard the "needle player" term but it makes sense and is quite apt to illustrate the knack for disruption and breaking lines.
 

Isotope

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Related to the discussion, have to copy this post from @totaalvoetbal from a while ago and with which I pretty much fully agree (I do consider Scholes as the best long passer out of three though).

But, in terms of differences between Scholes, Xavi and Modric he nailed it.
Modric was the perfect replacement for Scholes, and can't imagine Iniesta in midfield two, imho.

But it's interesting read about 3 players that coincidentally we just discussed. And that post is 3 years old. Good memory, bro.
 
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