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Top 10 best playmakers of the 1990s

Published at :October 8, 2022 at 9:15 PM
Modified at :October 12, 2022 at 9:49 PM
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Playmakers perform the crucial role of creating scoring opportunities for their teammates.

There are some players that are nothing short of artists on a football pitch. They make the game not only entertaining for the spectators but also pleasing to look at. If strikers win matches through goals, the playmakers win the hearts of the spectators and help the forwards rise to that pedestal. 

A playmaker’s job is not only to create scoring opportunities but also to retain possession, involve other teammates in the game, provide support to the defence and cause transitions leading to counter-attacks. They must have exquisite technical qualities to perform their roles effectively.

Over the years, many legendary playmakers have played the sport. Looking back at the 1990s, it was a golden period that produced several midfielders that were experts in that role. Here is a look at the top 10 best playmakers of the 1990s.

Dejan Savicevic

Dejan Savisevic was one of the finest playmakers in the Eastern European region and made his mark with Red Star Belgrade by winning the 1991 European Cup. He went to AC Milan afterwards and won three Serie A titles and a UEFA Champions League trophy as well.

Abedi Pele

Many football enthusiasts regard Abedi Pele as the greatest African player of all time. He won the African Player of the Year award thrice during his playing days. The exceptional attacking midfielder was a three-time French Ligue 1 winner and one-time UCL winner with Olympique Marseille. He also took Ghana to win the African Cup of Nations in 1982. 

Robert Prosinecki

Robert Prosinecki was the best young player at the 1990 World Cup. He won three league titles and the European Cup with Red Star Belgrade. The exciting playmaker was popular for his on-the-field artistry with the ball and off-the-field antics as well.

Dennis Bergkamp

four assists premier league
Bergkamp won several major trophies including the UEFA Cup, the Premier League (Courtesy: Arsenal)

Dennis Bergkamp is an Arsenal club legend, who was crucial to the club’s success under Arsene Wenger. The Dutchman had exquisite technique, created several chances and scored some beautiful goals during his playing days. He won several major trophies including the UEFA Cup, the Premier League and individual honours such as the Dutch Footballer of the Year.

Manuel Rui Costa

Manuel Rui Costa was a very recognisable figure with his long hair and sensational distribution of the ball. Hailing from Portugal, the playmaker had successful spells with Fiorentina and AC Milan. He was a UCL, Serie A, UEFA Super Cup, and Portuguese League winner and is remembered fondly for his extravagant persona on the pitch. 

Paul Gascoigne

Paul Gascoigne’s name is frequently taken when talking about the greatest English players ever to grace the sport. He played for teams like Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, Lazio and more. The attacking midfielder was painfully skillful and watching him gave a dying man the will to live. 

Gheorghe Hagi

To have a nickname - the ‘Maradona of the Carpathians’ - and not be one of the great playmakers of his generation would be weird. Gheorghe Hagi was controversial and yet sensational. He was majestic on the pitch and almost took Romania to a World Cup semis berth in 1994. 

Roberto Baggio

Baggio won the Ballon d’Or in 1993 (Courtesy: Juventus)

Roberto Baggio is so much more than ‘the player who cost Italy the 1994 World Cup' by missing the penalty. A leader by example, Baggio was a sublime playmaker. He got  220 league goals despite battling injuries. He won the Ballon d’Or in 1993 and two Serie A titles along with other trophies.

Michael Laudrup

Michael Laudrup is easily Denmark’s greatest-ever footballer. His skill on the ball was outstanding and made him popular across the globe, not just in Europe. After all, winning the title of Spanish football’s best foreign player of the last 25 years in 1999 is no mean feat. He is one of the few players to feature and win the La Liga with both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Zinedine Zidane

There are few players who are more universally respected in the world of football than Zinedine Zidane. Regarded as the best midfielder of all time by many, the Frenchman was a leader by example. He was effortless on the ball, shifting around as if the surface was made of butter. In 1998, Zidane won the FIFA World Cup with France and other honours such as the Man of the Match in the final, FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or.