When someone mentions “the best ever” in football, we usually think of an offensive player who scores a lot of goals. Both Pele and Maradona are scoring goals and breaking records. Even people, who never watch football, know who these two legends are.
However, football is a team sport. Which means every player needs to contribute in order to win titles and games. So if we use the golden ball award as a metric to look back at the best players in the last few years, we will conclude that if you want to be the best in the world, you need to be a scorer.
Messi, Ronaldo, Kaka and Ronaldinho were scorers. The same goes for Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Maradona. Fabio Cannavaro is the only defender to win the golden ball award in the last 10 years.
And of course, forward are responsible for scoring goals. And that leads to winning games. But things are different now, especially at Barcelona.
Defenders are asked to control the game, and defend as well. They need to pass the ball under pressure, and every action starts with them. The full backs are a big part of the offensive, and the center backs are literately operating as midfielders.
Which means defenders have to attack and defend. While, forwards are only responsible for scoring goals.
In times like this, Pique is turning into one of the best CB ever.
He can defend and he can control the game. He even has more attacking qualities than some strikers.
That goal vs. Inter was pure class. It’s not something you would expect from a CB.
The perfect CB
A few years ago, the perfect CB was described as a tall, physical player that is capable of tackling forwards without committing a foul. You still need to be physically strong to play as a defender, but that’s not the only thing clubs are looking for now.
Lots of clubs are looking for defenders that could pass under pressure, instead of just getting rid of the ball. The ability to move the ball from the back to the middle without risk is vital. This is especially vital for clubs like Barcelona that prefer possession.
Having the best attack in the world is worthless, if you don’t have a team backing them to supply the balls.
And in Barcelona, everything starts from the back line.
That’s where Pique excels. Guardiola saw the talent in him, and he brought him back from Man Utd to join the club that has won everything.
Pique improved a lot since then. He feels confident and comfortable on the ball, and he has no difficulties marking and tackling players like Ronaldo.
That’s why Pique deserves to be called the best CB in the world. It seems easy playing as a defender for Barcelona, because of the possession. But the truth is, Pique and the rest of the defenders are doing way more work compared to defenders who are limited to defending only.