Football is a team sport. In order to win, each team member, aside from his individual skills, needs to have a good grasp of his role in the game and coordinate well with the other players.
One of the important roles of a football team is the playmaker.
The beautiful assists always make fans who watch live football feel excited and satisfied. Because it is not only the sensitivity of the player but also shows the match between teammates.
In football, the playmaker is the person who controls the attacking tempo of the whole team with his vision, technique, creativity, ability to control the ball, and passing ability.
Thanks to his existence, the playmaker can help his team turn the tide in difficult matches and bring the team to victory.
Now let’s look back at the history of football and see the top 10 players considered the best playmakers in the history of football.
10 best Playmakers In Football History
1. Michel Platini
Undoubtedly one of the greatest playmakers in football history, Michel Platini has spent most of his playing career for Juventus, scoring 312 goals in 580 appearances for the Old Lady.
This playmaker can combine deadly passing with smooth dribbling skills, helping Juventus and the French national team win many trophies.
As an expert in passing and placing tackles, Platini was a major factor in France’s success in the International League and he led his national team to European championships in 1984 and 1986 World Cup glory. In total, he has scored 41 goals in 71 appearances for France.
Platini has won Serie A twice and won the European Cup once with the Bianconeri. He is also one of the few players in the game’s history to have won the Ballast three times and more wonderfully he won them between 1983 and 1985.
2. Xavi Hernandez
Xavi Hernandez is indisputably the greatest playmaker in football history who mainly played as a deep-lying playmaker in the match.
Xavi scored and made several assists during his two-decade career. He could orchestrate the midfield line perfectly and control the tempo of the game at will.
His main expertise is to set up opportunities for his teammates to face the goalkeeper. His 212 assists are a testament to his greatness as a playmaker.
Throughout his career, Xavi had played for Barcelona, winning absolutely everything with his club and country.
His importance to Barcelona and the Spanish national team was so great that after he retired, none of them can reach the same heights as Xavi on the pitch.
3. Diego Maradona
Diego Armando Maradona is considered by many to be the greatest playmaker of all time. He had a great talent of ball control combination, speed, agility, vision, and a low center of gravity. He single-handedly led Napoli to the Serie A championship.
In his career, Diego Maradona scored 310 goals and provided 187 assists in 590 games.
Maradona’s most memorable match as a playmaker was against Germany in the 1986 World Cup final. Although he did not score on his own, it was his excellent pass to Borruchaga that led to Argentina’s third goal.
4. Francesco Totti
Francesco Totti was simply one of the most consistent and faithful playmakers in the history of football.
He had everything a coach would want from a playmaker such as dribbling, shooting, and the ability to send the perfect pass in the final third of the field.
Totti has spent his entire two-decade career with AC Roma. Totti is defined as the person who plays the role of a “trequartista”, a specific role in the Italian squad model.
This role of Totti put the team up to his arcade, and he scored a total of 307 goals and made 183 assists in 785 games for AC Roma and Italy.
In his time, he was considered one of the best players in Europe and many of the giants of European football tried to force him out of Roma helplessly.
5. Andres Iniesta
Andres Iniesta is undoubtedly one of the best players in football history. In terms of playmaking sense, Iniesta is absolutely amazing with his ability to dribble and breathtaking final passes in the opposing penalty area.
He played 16 years of his career at his beloved club, Barcelona. As a playmaker for Barcelona and Spain, Andres Iniesta is one of the few players to be admired by the passionate Real Madrid fans at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Despite his playing as an attacking midfielder, Iniesta scored very few goals but he had a habit of scoring the most important goals. He contributed a great effort in Spain’s victory in the 2010 World Cup and Barcelona’s equalizer against Chelsea in the Champions League.
6. Zinedine Zidane
As a playmaker, Zinedine Zidane has always been a great contributor to victory on the pitch. His style of play is unique with his touch, his dribbling skills, and his amazing frequency of turns.
With his talent as a dribbling playmaker, he won two Champions League titles, one with Juventus and one with Real Madrid in 2002. He also won the World Cup when playing for France in 1998.
Zidane’s stats as a playmaker have become legendary. He scored a total of 125 goals and provided 171 assists in 680 games during his playing career.
As a coach, he has a winning percentage of nearly 60. To be fair, Zidane is truly one of the top players in history.
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In his prime, in the early-mid 2000s, Ronaldinho was an excellent playmaker for Barcelona and Brazil. Ronaldinho’s significant move was not only flair, technique, and trickery but also his famous no-look pass.
At his best scoring ability, Ronaldinho seemed to be five seconds ahead of the others and could see and make wild passes, creating and switching opportunities at will. As a playmaker, he has inspired many players and fans with his artistic and cheerful attitude on the pitch.
His best game at the club was probably the 2004-5 game against el Clasico in a playmaker role. His performance in the role of winger-playmaker was so perfect that even Real Madrid fans could not help but watch and applaud the Brazilian player.
The match ended with a 3-0 win for Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu home field. He played 543 games in the role of a playmaker, scoring 197 goals in total and providing 162 assists.
8. Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi is a rare instance where he had a high appreciation on the role of a playmaker in football.
At Barcelona, he had really left many records that are hard to break. He became the club’s all-time top scorer at the age of 24, had the most goals in La Liga history, the most goals in Champions League history, the most goals in El Clasico history, the most goals in Catalan Derby history, and so on.
The fact that Messi also held the record for the most assists in La Liga history proves that he is a wonderful playmaker.
Although he has spent many years at the center of Barca’s attack, he has always done a good midfield position with his talented skill such as drop deep, collect and move the ball, or drive with it, and then make things happen.
Messi was the only player to have won 6 Golden Balls and 6 Golden Boot, provided 325 assists in 892 matches.
His passing range is so complete that no one can argue about him being on the list of the greatest playmakers in history.
9. Johan Cruyff
Cruyff was a genius in finding space, he would move from striker positions into midfield, or from the wing and all the way back to the defensive line to pick the ball up and confuse his competitor.
With his intelligence and ingenuity in his play of playmaker, he revolutionized football and created his popular and interesting strategy: Total Football.
As one of the best playmakers of all time, Cruyff has an extremely successful footballing and management career.
He is one of the few people to have won the Champions League both as a player and coach.
He is also one of the few players to own 2 Ballon d’Or. During his career as a footballer, Cruyff has scored 435 goals in 750 games, while his win rate as a coach is 61%.
10. Michael Laudrup
One of the greatest playmakers in the history of football, Michael Laudrup was an important part of Johan Cruyff’s “Dream Team,” which achieved considerable domestic success as well as winning the European Cup in 1992.
He was named the greatest player in Denmark, the most distinguished foreign player of Spanish football in 25 years, and named in Real Madrid’s best foreign XI.
Laudrup played for different teams in his career, but his best days as a playmaker were with Juventus, Barcelona, and Real Madrid.
Laudrup is hailed as an all-time greatest playmaker for his high skill of deep passing, fast dribbling technique, and dexterity.
Thanks to his talent, Michael Laudrup had a remarkable experience when he played for both teams in the Spanish Derby “El Clasico”, and was included in the victory for both teams.
In the 1993/94 season, Laudrup and Barcelona won Real Madrid 5-0, and the following season, he helped Real Madrid win 5-0 with Barcelona.
We must admit that the playmaker is one of the key players in the team’s victory in games.
With the experience, techniques, and great performance of the previous playmakers, hopefully, it would be a great inspiration for future generations of footballers to apply and develop great techniques in the playmaker position. Then we can see more and more glorious and remarkable matches in the future.