After Real Madrid suffered a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Liverpool, Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane was lavish in his praise of the England midfielder, Steven Gerrard. On the night Gerrard grabbed himself a brace, an emphatic penalty and thunderous volley helping his club progress to the next stage in the Champions League.
Zidane stated that he believed Gerrard to be the best all-round player in the world right now. He compared him to other midfield legends like Claude Makelele and Patrick Viera.
“If you don’t have a player like Steven Gerrard, who is the engine room, it can affect the whole team.”
He added: “When Claude left us for Chelsea I campaigned for us to buy Patrick Vieira Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and Gerrard is now in the same mould as him. For many years Patrick was the most complete midfielder in the world and now that award must go to Gerrard.”
Zidane pointed out that Gerrard can do everything required of a complete midfielder. While the likes of Messi and Ronaldo can dribble, produce amazing tricks and score great goals, defensively they fall short. While other players like Roy Keane and Micahel Essien can tackle and win the ball, but they’ll never score 15 or 20 goals from midfield.
“No team will be successful without a heartbeat and you can see Gerrard is that heartbeat.”
“He has great passing ability, can tackle and scores goals, but most importantly he gives the players around him confidence and belief. You can’t learn that Ã¢â‚¬â€œ players like him are just born with that presence.”
Zidane’s comments sparked a debate amongst the footballing world: Is Gerrard the best? Looking at his attributes he does possess everything. Passing, tackling, and goals. He can be effective in any position in midfield. He has an aura that inspires his team mates to give everything for the team.
He may not have that ability to go past players with stepovers and flicks. But he has proven with sheer determination and an iron will anything is possible. He is one of the only players who can produce a goal out of nothing when his team is in dire need of a piece of magic. He is a player not afraid to trust his instincts.
Liverpool and England legend, John Barnes agrees with the comments made by Zidane. He points out:
“PlayerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo may grab all the plaudits as attacking players and are rightly named as some of the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best but if you are talking about a complete player, then there is no-one better than Gerrard.”
“For me, he is the most complete player in the world and has been for some time.”
Setanta sports pundit, Steve Claridge, commented after Gerrard’s hat-trick against Aston Villa that in Steven Gerrard you have the best player in the world.
“His all-round game is just sensational.”
In the wake of this recent clamour to hail Gerrard as the best, the Liverpool midfielder has had his own say on the matter. In doing so, showing another great character that he possesses: humility.
“It’s very flattering and it makes me smile when people talk well about my game and how I’m performing, but I don’t agree with being the best midfielder in the world. There’s a lot of fantastic midfield players out there and it’s very nice to be talked about in terms of those top players.”
So for now the debate rages on, who is the best out there? The likes of Messi, Kaka, Ronaldo, Xavi are all fantastic players. But consider this: if you had to choose a team full of Kaka’s or Messi’s or Ronaldo’s or Gerrard’s, who would you choose?
And maybe therein lies our answer.
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