World Class players under Alex Ferguson

jesperjaap

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Three for me wthout doubt:
Schmeichel
Scholes
Ronaldo

They play n any side, any era.

Rio,Ruud, Irwn, Stam & Keane would probably add personally. There are some hard to leave out:

Cantona - Never replcated the form consstently n Europe
RVP/Yorke - Too short a time here but top top performances
Ince/Beckham - Dd t for club, country and a bg club abroad, both under rated criminally for me

Are a few who did really well here lke Vidic and Cole, but wwere not world class, Rooney was for three seasons, but not consstently enough throughout hs career
 

nickm

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Absolutely not.
I know it's heresy, but I think Viera was a slightly better player as well, just had a bit of extra power. But I'd put Keane ahead of Viera in terms of what he brought to the team.
 

nickm

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Eric Cantona, World Class A player who played at a constant level through out his playing career. Though he only played 143 games for Utd., he scored a total of 64 goal giving him an average of 1 goal every 2.2 games. Through out his career he played a total of 368 games and scored 131 goals giving him an average of 1 goal every 2.8 games. He maintained this level of performance at international level, representing France at full international level and scoring 20 goals giving an average of 1 goal every 2.2. games.
Loved The King, technically he had WC talent, but I'm not sure he was ever really dominant in the French national side and didn't really cut it in Europe for us where he had less time on the ball. And his non United career was up and down. That has to count against him. (It's like asking whether Le Tissier was world class, in a way. Yeah, sort of but not quite - like Eric).

But the great genius of Ferguson was finding players who made the team unstoppable - players like Bruce, Carrick, and Eric - whether they were individually world class (whatever that means) or not.
 

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Goalkeepers:
Schmeichel
Van Der Sar

Defenders:
Irwin
Stam
Ferdinand
Vidic
Evra

Midfielders:
Robson
Ince
Keane
Giggs
Scholes
Beckham

Forwards:
Cantona
Van Nistelrooy
Ronaldo
Rooney
Van Persie
This list, plus Cole.

Any list that doesn’t have all of them on it is being too picky to really be worth anything. Any of that lot in todays market would be transferred at record fees, to the biggest clubs.

I feel that our fans undervalue them as they only really played for United for the most part. Certainly at the peak of their careers.
 

Gabriel Djemba-Bebe

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Carrick had opportunities for England and was bang average.

Im not sure I can name any world class players who didn’t get a game for their country whilst Gareth Barry or the equivalent was playing instead. It doesn’t happen.

I’ll revert to my point. Every single player on that list walked into their national team. Bar Carrick. He shouldn’t be anywhere near that list. He was a good player. That’s it.
Without a doubt the dumbest logic I've seen on the caf for a while. Andy Cole barely got a game for England. Does that mean he was only ever a good player and far from world class?
 

united_99

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Without a doubt the dumbest logic I've seen on the caf for a while. Andy Cole barely got a game for England. Does that mean he was only ever a good player and far from world class?
Really not sure what his original point was. Looks like he just wanted to s*** on Carrick. At the end he says Carrick is a good player but shouldn’t be near that list.
Looking at most peoples‘ list Carrick is indeed not on it. Hmmm …
 

norm87cro

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He was a good Premier League proven striker, but he was nowhere near world class.
Mate this is just nitpicking. Look at Sahas goals for us. The guy had a touch of class his goal against Chelsea was sublime. He diddnt maintain it for too long but in his prime yeah he was world class
 

Huddsred

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Mate this is just nitpicking. Look at Sahas goals for us. The guy had a touch of class his goal against Chelsea was sublime. He diddnt maintain it for too long but in his prime yeah he was world class
I don't think I'm nitpicking. Having a touch of class makes him talented, not world class . Genuine world class players are at the top of their game consistently, game after game, season after season.
 

ScholesyTheWise

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Think Walker has well overtook Neville by now. Mbappé one of the best players of his time has said Walker was the hardest player he has ever faced and this season he managed to completely limit Mbappé and Vinicius. I remember you could get at Neville to a great extent or didn't have anywhere near that physical capability. He was a far better crosser than Walker, but Walker has been like a cheat code for City in recent years in running down opposition wingers. In general yes right-back is/was a weak area in the PL history partly because it was also a weak area in the English national team historically. Quite late in the day English full-backs were famed for being dependable and not making mistakes rather than any particular standout ability, so it made them behind some Brazilian, Italian and German ones who were given a lot more freedom and bigger roles in their teams. I think the current batch in the PL and for England are as good as Neville or past full-backs - Walker, Trent AA, Reece James, Trippier.

I wish it was clearer for everyone, how much "world-class" and "one the very best in his position in the world" are the same thing, if at all.
if you're one of the top ___ in your position, logically you have to be in the first class of players in world football.

But in these discussions it always feel like "world class" is a term that'll be attributed to players who have some sort of aura about them.
And people (also myself, I bet, at times) will say: "XYZ player is great but I don't feel he's WC, just a tier below", even when you can't find anyone who's actually better than said player throughout a specific time-frame.

Kyle Walker is a very good example of this. Luke Shaw too, if we're sticking to defenders for argument's sake.

looking back to when I grew up and onwards:

Zambrotta, Cafu, Thuram were WC right backs, for example. later on Ramos (mainly at Sevilla), Lahm, Dani Alves...
now, if this is what you're used to think WC quality is- how the hell can you add G Nev, Walker or TAA to this list?

and at the left, Roberto Carlos, Maldini... Evra, Cole, Abidal, Marcelo... Does Shaw belong, for whichever seasons he was brilliant in?

or maybe the conclusion is that at certain periods of time, there are no WC players in certain positions?
It doesn't make any sense from a purely logical point of view,
but if Kyle Walker isn't considered to be world class even though you'd be hard pressed to find 5 better RBs from 2018-2022,
then something is weird in all that.
 

KeanoMagicHat

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I wish it was clearer for everyone, how much "world-class" and "one the very best in his position in the world" are the same thing, if at all.
if you're one of the top ___ in your position, logically you have to be in the first class of players in world football.

But in these discussions it always feel like "world class" is a term that'll be attributed to players who have some sort of aura about them.
And people (also myself, I bet, at times) will say: "XYZ player is great but I don't feel he's WC, just a tier below", even when you can't find anyone who's actually better than said player throughout a specific time-frame.

Kyle Walker is a very good example of this. Luke Shaw too, if we're sticking to defenders for argument's sake.

looking back to when I grew up and onwards:

Zambrotta, Cafu, Thuram were WC right backs, for example. later on Ramos (mainly at Sevilla), Lahm, Dani Alves...
now, if this is what you're used to think WC quality is- how the hell can you add G Nev, Walker or TAA to this list?

and at the left, Roberto Carlos, Maldini... Evra, Cole, Abidal, Marcelo... Does Shaw belong, for whichever seasons he was brilliant in?

or maybe the conclusion is that at certain periods of time, there are no WC players in certain positions?
It doesn't make any sense from a purely logical point of view,
but if Kyle Walker isn't considered to be world class even though you'd be hard pressed to find 5 better RBs from 2018-2022,
then something is weird in all that.
Yeah the issue I think is in that everybody seems to rate it differently. For me there’s like a level above world-class - a kind of all-time great level - and that’s where I’d put the likes of Cafu and Lahm and maybe Dani Alves. I think Walker has been as good as Zambrotta was and Ramos as a right back.

There is a level where you’re one of the best or best in the world in your position over a number of years, I think that deserves world-class ranking. And then you have a very good player who is just below world-class that can still make a significant impact.

At United George Best would be an example of all-time great level, Rooney would be an example of world-class level and Carrick would be an example of very good but not quite world-class.
 

norm87cro

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I don't think I'm nitpicking. Having a touch of class makes him talented, not world class . Genuine world class players are at the top of their game consistently, game after game, season after season.
So CR7 is better than 05 Ronaldinho or 86 Maradona?
 

davidmichael

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In order of when they signed for us I’d say,

Robson, Irwin, Giggs, Schmeichel, Cantona, Keane, Beckham, Scholes, Stam, RVN, Rio, Ronaldo, Rooney, Vidic, Evra, VDS and RVP.
 

nickm

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In order of when they signed for us I’d say,

Robson, Irwin, Giggs, Schmeichel, Cantona, Keane, Beckham, Scholes, Stam, RVN, Rio, Ronaldo, Rooney, Vidic, Evra, VDS and RVP.
I don't think Eric was genuinely world class in the strictest sense, and I think Veron was, although the former was far more effective for United than the latter. And I sort of think Tevez has a case - that RRT front three was as good as any forward line in the world, maybe the best we've ever had, and won it all.
 

Bobski

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I don't think Eric was genuinely world class in the strictest sense, and I think Veron was, although the former was far more effective for United than the latter. And I sort of think Tevez has a case - that RRT front three was as good as any forward line in the world, maybe the best we've ever had, and won it all.
Tevez was a far better player for City than he ever was at Utd and Aguero was a huge upgrade for City. Often felt as if he was the poor mans Rooney at Utd, and he often frustrated with awkward touches and technical flaws. Monster workrate and capable of moments of brilliance but plenty lacking in his game at the same time.
 

ScholesyTheWise

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Tevez was a far better player for City than he ever was at Utd and Aguero was a huge upgrade for City. Often felt as if he was the poor mans Rooney at Utd, and he often frustrated with awkward touches and technical flaws. Monster workrate and capable of moments of brilliance but plenty lacking in his game at the same time.
Agreed (don't know about "poor man's Rooney", but with the rest of the post).
I was quite surprised that he upped his game 1 or 2 levels at City.
I thought that what he showed at United- which wasn't anything to be ashamed of- was his level.

And yeah, Kun Aguero was just frightening for City.
Feckers made some amazing signings right from the very off.

Writing about Aguero makes me think of the fact that Rooney seems not to be put on the same level as Kun, Suarez, Lewandovski, RVN, RVP (?)...
Crazy to think that he was a superb second striker, and who knows what could have become of him if he was to be functioned as a #9 for his entire career... maybe he's not meant to be compared with 'pure strikers'? the rest of them would never be able to occupy 2 positions in attack to such a high level as Rooney could and did, but then why would they?

If I were City's manager at the time, I wouldn't trade Aguero for the world.
But I wouldn't want to trade 2005-2012 Rooney from United either...

I don't know who of the 2 I'd pick for a team I have to build from scratch.

That's an interesting little comparison, one that doesn't really sit right.
 

davidmichael

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I don't think Eric was genuinely world class in the strictest sense, and I think Veron was, although the former was far more effective for United than the latter. And I sort of think Tevez has a case - that RRT front three was as good as any forward line in the world, maybe the best we've ever had, and won it all.
Our 92/96 squads were arguably top 5 in Europe throughout all of that time (ridiculous foreigner rule killed us in Europe) and the only time we struggled in that period is when Cantona was suspended, once he returned he was winning games on his own in the league and scored the winner in the cup final against the bin dippers whilst lifting his team mates.

With Veron I’d say we signed a world class player but he was never world class under Sir Alex or ever again after leaving Lazio, he was meant to be the final piece of the puzzle for us to conquer Europe again but he simply couldn't handle the faster pace of playing English football.
 

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Our 92/96 squads were arguably top 5 in Europe throughout all of that time (ridiculous foreigner rule killed us in Europe) and the only time we struggled in that period is when Cantona was suspended, once he returned he was winning games on his own in the league and scored the winner in the cup final against the bin dippers whilst lifting his team mates.

With Veron I’d say we signed a world class player but he was never world class under Sir Alex or ever again after leaving Lazio, he was meant to be the final piece of the puzzle for us to conquer Europe again but he simply couldn't handle the faster pace of playing English football.
When it comes to world class players, whatever this might mean, it's not a question a question of League and its more related to coaches (their tactics, ideas and chosen team), the teammates and at the end their fitness.
In the case of Veron, Alex put to many similar player profiles and styles in the same team that overlap themselves, Pekerman with the NT sometimes did the same. And Veron "mistakes" in my view were:
1. He arrived to Man Utd with a "humble" (for lack of better word, not they he was truly humble, same with Tevez) approach, sthg in the idea of a: "ok this is huge club, with already champs and established players and roles, I won't force myself in, I'll play second fiddle if needed till I find my way"...and this didn't happen, or better said it was an irregular journey, not bad, nor great.
2. Veron already wasn't the same from SA, nor WC98, nor his first days in Italy, season after season he became a more lazy player, not that young classic 8 with great dynamic and he decided to played a more passive passing full time game. The younger and hunger Veron, was sthg that would have been better for that Man Utd than already another luxurious passer, more when he was never given the Captaincy of the boat at he was given in Italy or the NT. This last thing sthg entirely natural with already having Roy there, Scholes (with already a Veron demeanor) and adding to that Becks who isn't also precisly a dribbler and it was another passer. I dunno what Ferguson was thinking when adding him to the team, but it was a bit weird choice to add yet another similar player to the rooster.

PD: Veron was World Class his whole career even till the end, another thing is how much we like or not his style, I wasn't particularly fond of the mature Veron, nor the predominant style for long ball passers in that period that were spoiled a bit too much for my taste.
 

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World class is a very subjective term because you can get so granular between boundary qualities and if people say the top of the world of each position is world class, you end up trying to separate players who are of almost inseparable quality. For me, the definition of World class is "You would be, or be very close to being, in the starting XI of any club in world football", with some obvious caveats. For example, if prime Pirlo played for 2011 Barcelona, he probably wouldn't be a starter but that doesn't mean he's anything other than absolute world class.

So with that in mind:

GK: De Gea at his peak circa 2016, Peter Schemichel

Fullbacks: Patrice Evra....and that's about it to be honest and even Evra is on the borderline. He played in an era with Ramos, Cole, Alves, Maicon, Lahm and he's probably the weakest of the five. Gary Neville was a very good, solid, dependable Right back but there were lots of fullbacks ahead of him during his era. Zambrotta, Lahm, Maicon, Cafu, Roberto Carlos etc Irwin was a great fullback but I was like 10 years old when he was at his peak so I can't remember well enough.

CB's: Vidic, Ferdinand are both pretty obvious. Jaap stam is pretty obvious too. Other than that, I don't think anyone else was really what you could describe as "world class". Laurent Blanc was fantastic when he arrived but 36 years old. Could you really say Thiago Silva right now is world class?

Midfielders: Keane, Giggs for sure. Scholes, again this might be controversial but we like to judge him on the merits of what he did in the latter stage of his career, when he started partnering with Carrick and when RvN left. If you judged his entire career as a deep lying playmaker he is absolutely world class...but the majority of his career he was not that. He was a goalscoring number 8 and as that, throughout his very long career there were lots of number 8's a bit better than him in their careers. Zidane, Del Piero (although more of a 10), Seedorf. Then you have the Gerrards and Lampards of the world who were objectively better goalscorers and assisters of the ball than Scholes. Scholes could dictate play like neither of them could but he only started to do that post 2006. So Scholes is also a bit borderline. Beckham was also world class.

Fowards:

Ronaldo, Rooney, Ruud van Nistelrooy. Robin Van Persie was world class for that 1 season. Cantona was...well....I'm not sure actually. He was an icon for us but there were lots of forwards in the mid 90's who were just as good if not better. Batistuta, Baggio, Shearer, Van Basten, Romaro, Kluivert and Ronaldo.
 

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Its funny how nobody mentiones Hughes. A guy that can walk in a Mufc, Bayern or Barca starting 11 would be pretty much considered world class by any todays standard.
 

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Its funny how nobody mentiones Hughes. A guy that can walk in a Mufc, Bayern or Barca starting 11 would be pretty much considered world class by any todays standard.
Maybe but the reason he isn't is because he managed City, that doesn't sit well with some United fans but personally I think that's BS reason, one of the greatest football memories I have is Rotterdam, 1991 and his goals
 

AfonsoAlves

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Its funny how nobody mentiones Hughes. A guy that can walk in a Mufc, Bayern or Barca starting 11 would be pretty much considered world class by any todays standard.
I think it's to do with the fact that most of us would have only seen him play as a kid.
I remember thinking Robbie Fowler was the most terrifying striker in the world watching him play for Pool as a kid so the perception is warped.

Also, there are starters who have flopped around big clubs their entire lives without ever being actually all that good.
Alvaro Morata started for Real Madrid, Juventus, Real signed him again, Chelsea then signed him and then Juve resigned him again....all whilst being decent at best.

Lukaku has played for Inter, Chelsea, Man Utd without ever being anywhere close to world class.
 

Appletonred

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In the 80s: Robson, Hughes, Mcgrath.
In the 90s: Schmeichel, Cantona, Keane, Beckham, Scholes, Stam.
In the 00s: Ronaldo, Rooney, Van Nistelrooy, Veron, Ferdinand, Van Persie, Vidic.
 

tentan

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Three for me wthout doubt:
Schmeichel
Scholes
Ronaldo

They play n any side, any era.

Rio,Ruud, Irwn, Stam & Keane would probably add personally. There are some hard to leave out:

Cantona - Never replcated the form consstently n Europe
RVP/Yorke - Too short a time here but top top performances
Ince/Beckham - Dd t for club, country and a bg club abroad, both under rated criminally for me

Are a few who did really well here lke Vidic and Cole, but wwere not world class, Rooney was for three seasons, but not consstently enough throughout hs career
good post
 

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Andy Goram, obviously not at Man Utd but he was undoubtedly world class and the best keeper ever unfortunately in my honest opinion.
 

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Per the Oxford Dictionary:

“World class” is defined as being among the best in the world, applied to a person, thing, or activity. For example, a “world-class player” is someone who falls into this category.

By this straightforward definition, Neville, Carrick, and Yorke can indeed be considered world-class players as they were among the best in the world.

However, it’s worth noting that one can scrutinize and criticize any player’s performance to argue why they may not fit the world-class label, but this often depends on individual perceptions.
 

Tom Cato

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Honestly I would put Ronny Johnsen up there if we are including Stam
 

RVN1991

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De Gea was arguably already the best keeper in the league during SAF's last season. Don't know if that warrants the world class label though.
 

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If the definition was you’d have gotten into a World XI squad at any given time then there’s absolutely tonnes. Even Valencia in 11/12 makes that category.
 

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Its funny how nobody mentiones Hughes. A guy that can walk in a Mufc, Bayern or Barca starting 11 would be pretty much considered world class by any todays standard.
Ah I loved Hughes but you can't be quoting his time at Barca as evidence of his world class status. That was a failure, no two ways about it, 5 goals all season. He was brilliant for us but just falls short of world class I'd say.
 

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Ah I loved Hughes but you can't be quoting his time at Barca as evidence of his world class status. That was a failure, no two ways about it, 5 goals all season. He was brilliant for us but just falls short of world class I'd say.
His overall play might not have been world class but his shooting certainly was, especially when it came to volleys
 

IWat

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Per the Oxford Dictionary:

“World class” is defined as being among the best in the world, applied to a person, thing, or activity. For example, a “world-class player” is someone who falls into this category.

By this straightforward definition, Neville, Carrick, and Yorke can indeed be considered world-class players as they were among the best in the world.

However, it’s worth noting that one can scrutinize and criticize any player’s performance to argue why they may not fit the world-class label, but this often depends on individual perceptions.
Agree. You can be a world class runner and never win an Olympic or World Championship medal of any colour in your career. To me there is a level above world class that I'd call "generational greats" and then some of those are in the conversation for GOAT.
 

Fobal

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Agreed (don't know about "poor man's Rooney", but with the rest of the post).
I was quite surprised that he upped his game 1 or 2 levels at City.
I thought that what he showed at United- which wasn't anything to be ashamed of- was his level.

And yeah, Kun Aguero was just frightening for City.
Feckers made some amazing signings right from the very off.

Writing about Aguero makes me think of the fact that Rooney seems not to be put on the same level as Kun, Suarez, Lewandovski, RVN, RVP (?)...
Crazy to think that he was a superb second striker, and who knows what could have become of him if he was to be functioned as a #9 for his entire career... maybe he's not meant to be compared with 'pure strikers'? the rest of them would never be able to occupy 2 positions in attack to such a high level as Rooney could and did, but then why would they?

If I were City's manager at the time, I wouldn't trade Aguero for the world.
But I wouldn't want to trade 2005-2012 Rooney from United either...

I don't know who of the 2 I'd pick for a team I have to build from scratch.

That's an interesting little comparison, one that doesn't really sit right.

Tevez never was a poor man Rooney, in fact they are like Twin Brothers with certain aspects of their games better in one and others in the other, yet fantastic players.

The problem there is that Tevez, that always had a huge ego (for good and bad) FOR ONCE accepted to play a second fiddle with an already assemble team with great stars and even put an extra effort in his always included pressuring and hustle game that of course would affect his main man game, all in a way to gain a place in Man Utd.
And at the end of the day Fergie played a very heavy hand and lost the plot, you can't underestimate Carlos, nor see that he did what I mentioned above in order to gain a contract leaving aside his more Ibra alike self.
You can see nowadays how almost every Man Utd ex player of that era from Rooney, Scholes, Roy, Evra, Rio talk about the guy and how they didn't dare to question Fergie but thought he was shitting the bed, in fact the whole saga even winning later is the one that started the whole predominace for real by City and kind of destroy the chemistry of a TRULY golden world class team from United.

Carlos is the very definition of world class if there is any, it's a dude that so many times he went against all odds, no matter the size of the club, manager, period or league. His problems relies in his stubborness and ego, but he always had the talent to back it up. He is very simlar in such regard to Etoo, they do not take it lightly to be underestimated, they do not shy to any challenge.

PD: Carlos truly never reached his best self in the NT, but that for me was more a problem of the NT not knowing how to handle so many CRACKs at the same time, that already had very heavy tasks and big status in their own clubs struggling to find a new status and role in the NT.
I wonder what would have happen with such a strong and classic coach like Scaloni turned to be in such period, but shyte happens, won't be the first time a generation even being good to great in the NT, still underperforms taking into consideration their talent and careers in their clubs.
 
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Borninthe80ts

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Tevez never was a poor man Rooney, in fact they are like Twin Brothers with certain aspects of their games better in one and others in the other, yet fantastic players.

The problem there is that Tevez, that always had a huge ego (for good and bad) FOR ONCE accepted to play a second fiddle with an already assemble team with great stars and even put an extra effort in his always included pressuring and hustle game that of course would affect his main man game, all in a way to gain a place in Man Utd.
And at the end of the day Fergie played a very heavy hand and lost the plot, you can't underestimate Carlos, nor see that he did what I mentioned above in order to gain a contract leaving aside his more Ibra alike self.
You can see nowadays how almost every Man Utd ex player of that era from Rooney, Scholes, Roy, Evra, Rio talk about the guy and how they didn't dare to question Fergie but thought he was shitting the bed, in fact the whole saga even winning later is the one that started the whole predominace for real by City and that loosing the chemistry of a TRULY golden world class team from United.

Carlos is the very definition of world class if there is any, it's a dude that so many times he went against all odds, no matter the size of the club, manager, period or league. His problems relies in his stubborness and ego, but he always had the talent to back it up. He is very simlar in such regard to Etoo, they do not take it lightly to be underestimated, they do not shy to any challenge.

PD: Carlos truly never reached his best self in the NT, but that for me was more a problem of the NT not knowing how to handle so many CRACKs at the same time, that already had very heavy tasks and big status in their own clubs at the same time in the NT.
I wonder what would have happen with such a strong and classic coach like Scaloni turned to be in such period, but shyte happens, won't be the first time a generation even being good to great in the NT, still underperforms taking into consideration their talent and careers in their clubs.
I loved Tevez when he was at Boca and the way that he seemed to take the mantle that the 2 number 10s before him had laid down. I have a shite memory but it was either the Olympics or an under 21 tournament when I thought that generation of Argentines would dominate the world.

As good as he turned out to be I don’t think he quite cracked the best player in the world bracket that I thought he was going to do but he did very well. I was pissed when he left for Them and even more so when he produced for them.

Sour grapes aside it would have been fun to see him in a side with Messi.