Our series on the most underrated players continues with a look at two more of the most criminally underrated footballers of all-time!
Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria, born in 1966)
In the 1994 World Cup, Hristo Stoichkov was one of the stars of the tournament. He led an unknown Bulgarian side to fourth place and finished as the tournament’s top scorer with six goals. He was a unique talent who would have definitely been a bigger star had he been born in Germany, Brazil, or Italy!
Stoichkov helped to define the modern wide attacking position now seen in most 4-3-3s. With an unusual dribbling ability and a knack for scoring wonder-goals, he is remembered fondly by many football fans of the 1990s generation. In addition to scoring many free-kicks, he was also a fine crosser of the ball. The Bulgarian attacker racked up 350 goals in 677 games and won one European Cup with Barcelona and eight league titles with CSK Sofia and the Catalan giants!
Günter Netzer (Germany, born in 1944)
When Germany were victorious at the 1972 European Championships, Günter Netzer was a vital part of the winning outfit. He was a fantastic passer of the ball and, like many of today’s great players, he wasn’t afraid to drop deep into his own half to take possession of it. Like ex-Barcelona man Xavi, he was the central point of the team, but he combined this with strong leadership and fantastic dribbling ability.
With Borussia Mönchengladbach, Netzer competed against Franz Beckenbauer’s Bayern Munich and came away from that battle with two German league titles. He was then bought by Real Madrid to counter Barcelona’s signing of Johan Cruyff and again he secured two league titles, this time in Spain and against more hyped opponents as usual!