This list of underrated footballers primarily includes players who were very instrumental for their respective clubs but didn’t get a lot of commendation and underappreciated.
The year 2020 has been a very bizarre and awkward year, most especially in the world of football. The year serves us a global pandemic that disrupted everything that has to do with sport, despite the huge damages caused, the football world was able to pull the chestnut out of the fire as some of the elite leagues in Europe were able to conclude their season.
In the 2019-20 season, there are several players who performed greatly but didn’t enjoy the recognition. While some of their comrades get appreciated for their efforts, and other players didn’t get enough credit for their efforts despite working their socks off.
In this piece, we bring you 10 of the top underrated footballers of the 2019/20 season
- Ciro Immobile – (SS Lazio)
The Italian forward is arguably the best Italian striker right now, having won the ‘Golden Boot’ twice before and also won it last season ahead of Juventus’s Cristiano Ronaldo with 36 goals.
Although Immobile is often judged by his unimpressive stints with Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla, where he failed to hit the ground running despite joining them with a lot of reputation.
Immobile’s goals stat last season simply put him on the same pedestal with some of the past finest Italian Seria A strikers. Sadly for him, his goals couldn’t win Lazio the league.
However, his goals were able to propel Lazio to a European position on the table despite losing the league to Juventus.
Despite the huge turnaround he brought to the Lazio attack since he got back from his woeful spell in Germany and Spain respectively, the Italian is often overlooked or unappreciated in the conversation of some of the finest strikers in the world, scoring 36 whopping goals last season.
As the Seria A enters its full flesh for the 2020-21 season, Immobile would no doubt wants to pick up an impressive form from where he left it last season, as he edges closer to be one of the greatest goalscorers in Seria A when he draws the curtain on his career.
- Carlos Casemiro – (Real Madrid)
Casemiro will forever be grateful for the huge support is enjoying under Zinedine Zidane.
Shortly before Real Madrid appointed Zizuo as the gaffer, Los Blancos were humiliated by Barcelona in the ‘Clasico’ with a team led by Benitez.
According to reports, it was believed that the Madrid board influenced Benitez’s starting eleven, as he was reportedly told to dropped Casemiro from the starting line-up which backfired in the end as Madrid were massacred.
Following Zizuo’s appointment as Benitez’s successor, Casemiro established himself as one of Los Merengues‘ most important players and finally became the glue that keeps Madrid together in the defensive department.
Apart from the unsung contributions he had in Real Madrid’s consecutive Champions League triumph.
Casemiro was also very instrumental in Los Blancos winning the 2019-20 La Liga title playing over 35 matches, scored 4 goals, assisted 3 and with an averaged total of 63 passes per match, with a pass completion rate of 84%.
With all these stats and his achievements, the Brazilian should be getting more commendation.
- Wilfred Ndidi – (Leicester City)
Talking about one of the most underrated footballers, the Nigerian international would make every list.
Take away the Super Eagles midfielder out of the Foxes midfield, then you would be left with players that really can’t bring to the table what the former Genk star offers.
Leicester City signed Ndidi in the summer of 2017, as a quick substitute for Ngolo Kante, who left for Stamford Bridge. And he has been improving exponentially playing the position comfortably as well as making sure Leicester City didn’t miss the exit of Kante.
Ndidi’s stats in the English Premier League for the 2019-20 season comfortably put him in the list of some of the finest defensive midfielders in the world.
The Nigerian international played 32 matches last season, had 3 shots on target from a total of 19 shots, scored 2 goals, averaged 54 passes per match with a pass completion rate of 86% with one assist to his name.
In addition to his stats, he made 61 interceptions and 194 recoveries and won 181 duels plus 59 aerial battles won.
With all of his contributions and stats, without mincing words the Nigerian midfielder his one of Leicester City’s most important players, and clearly one of the most underrated footballers in the Premier League.
- Robert Lewandowski – (Bayern Munich)
If the 2019-20 season were anything to go by with what the Polish international achieved personally and with his Bayern Munich, without a doubt the Polish forward would be on the podium of ‘Ballon d’Or’ and going confidently to winning the gong for the best player of the campaign.
According to ‘Football365.com’,
“As ever with the English tabloids, you could be playing the most incredible football ever seen on earth while wearing a mirrored top hat and fluorescent jodhpurs, but if you’re not doing it in the Premier League, aren’t wanted by Premier League club or playing alongside a Briton who is rumored to be a transfer target for the top team, they’re really not interested”.
Perhaps, that is the case of Lewandowski despite consecutive and consistent exploit with Bayern Munich, the Polish international isn’t getting enough credit.
Lewandowski was clearly the best player in the German Bundesliga last season and to a large extent in Europe,.
He played 31 matches, had 67 shots on target from a total of 112 shot, scored 34 goals, assisted 4, averaged 25 passes in a match, and a pass completion rate of 74%, plus winning a treble with the Bundesliga giant.
Lewa isn’t well appreciated now, perhaps when he retires he would get the accolades and celebrated as one of the best footballers of this era.
- Keylor Navas – (Paris Saint Germain)
We’ve seen great goalkeepers who have shown memorable displays in the world football over the years, such as former Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas, the ever-reliable Gianluigi Buffon, and the revolutioner of goalkeeping position Manuel Neuer.
In the same breath, there is also a certain Costa Rican, who without a doubt could be mentioned comfortably at the same table as these great players mentioned above.
Navas became one of the best goalkeepers today with big thanks to his stints at Real Madrid, where he played with the cream de la cream and played a vital role in Los Merenguez’s triumph in the Champions League.
Despite his unrelenting dedication to the team, the Madrid hierarchy was never satisfied with him being their number one shot-stopper, which prompted the signing of a new goalkeeper, which looks more like he wasn’t appreciated despite his exploits.
Despite the fact that Navas is a player on a tremendous level and successful football career, he isn’t recognized as much as other players who are fortunate enough to achieve the kind of success he has achieved.
Navas could have won yet another Champions League with Paris Saint Germain but the efficiency of Bayern Munich prevented him from achieving an unprecedented record.
- Heung-Min Son – (Tottenham Hotspur)
South Korea forward is one player that comes with a lot of versatility, albeit his quantity of goals may not be in tandem to that of Ronaldo or Messi of this world.
However, he is one player that flourish a lot by cutting in from the left flank to score a different kind of goals, long-range goals, a header, and a tap in, all of that, the South Korean international got it all in his system.
During the Mauricio Pochettino era, the former Bayern Leverkusen forward never get all of the recognition he deserves for his efforts. The trio of Kane, Eriksen (before he left for Italy), and Dele Alli were the ones getting all of the credits.
Whenever the North London side was in any kind of trouble, the South Korean forward always raise up to the occasion.
Son also stepped up in the absence of their talisman, the 2019-20 season was a testament to how well he showed topnotch performances in the absence of Harry Kane.
Last season he played over 30 games and scored 11 goals, which he combined with his workaholic and tireless runs, as well as his great technique which the team benefitted a lot from.
Underrated footballers? Son shouldn’t be one.
- Roberto Firmino – (Liverpool)
Firmino is often seen as the driver for the gengen-pressing of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who presses a lot and it was evident last season.
The Brazilian forward came in as a relatively unknown player for a slightly more decent fee with the hope that he’s going to be the player for the future.
The future is certainly here for the Brazilian international and he’s been delivering a whole lot for Liverpool.
So the question now is, why is the Brazilian underrated despite been the orchestrating force that makes the Liverpool forward gelled and mesmerize the opposing team en route Kops way to triumph in the Champions League and the Premier League?
Well, it’s simply because of the great form in which the duo of Mane and Salah are in.
However, the former Hoffenheim player is also one of Liverpool’s best players. Played 34 games, had 38 shots on target from a total of 69 shots, scored 9 goals, assisted 8, and averaged 31 passes per match with a pass completion rate of 80% last season.
- Angel Di Maria – (Paris Saint Germain)
The Argentine currently plies his trade in France with Paris Saint Germain, he likewise played for a big club such as Real Madrid, where he wasn’t really appreciated or recognized like Ronaldo who often gets all the credit.
Like Real Madrid like Paris Saint Germain, in terms of getting appreciated and recognition that goes to Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
Despite what he brings to the table with his vision for great passes and scoring a match-saving goal, yet he still doesn’t get enough recognition.
Di Maria is always well appreciated by his managers, case in point was at Real Madrid where he was managed and well appreciated by Carlo Ancelotti, who brought out the best in the former Benfica star.
The Argentine is well known for his workaholic and tireless runs down the flank and in the midfield with his undiluted professionalism.
With all of these attributes embedded in his game, Di Maria definitely deserves more recognition.
- Raphael Varane – (Real Madrid)
Since making his debut for Los Blancos in 2011, Varane has grown in leap and bounds and has gone on to win every trophy possible at club level, same as the biggest trophy on the international scene (World Cup) in 2018.
The Real Madrid center-back is simply one of the most underrated footballers despite all of his achievements so far.
Varane isn’t known as a player with a great personality in terms of ego, arrogance, or brilliant flashes of skill, he’s more of a player that goes quietly and confidently about his work on the pitch.
His performances last season were a testament to how good he was for Real Madrid, played 32 matches, scored 2 goals, and averaged 53 passes per match with a pass completion rate of 87%.
In the 2019-20 season, he won over 108 ariel duels, 70 tackles, and made a total block of 15.
Last season he was a partner in crime alongside club captain Sergio Ramos, forming an integral part of a defense that won the league ahead of Barcelona.
With all of this great achievement, Varane is undoubtedly a talented player who hasn’t really enjoyed a lot of recognition like other superstars in world football.
- Sadio Mane – (Liverpool)
It’s worrying and heart disturbing why the Senegalese international seems to be relatively underrated compared to his peers.
When talking about Liverpool’s most dangerous player, one name that often comes to mind is Mo Salah, which is understandable due to how Salah painted the Premier League with stunning performances when he joined from Roma in 2017.
To further buttress how well he has been underrated, former Everton and Manchester United forward Louis Saha was of the opinion that
“Sadio Mane is criminally underrated, he’s a more consistent player than Mo Salah and deserves more recognition”.
The former Southampton forward played 35 matches, scored 18 goals, had 7 assists, and averaged 32 passes per game with a pass completion rate of 82% last season in the Premier League.
All of these stats show Mane has the ability to turn up in games and delivers with a lot of aplomb, despite that he’s isn’t well appreciated like other stars.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.
Top 10 Football Dribblers Of All Time
The beautiful game of football is arguably the only sport that entertains its fans with the opportunity to witness a genuine instance of sheer genius with a series of beautiful nutmegs. The display of skills, footwork, eye-catching dribbles by different players makes the game more entertaining.
A lot of players around the world can dribble, go past a defender with a single flick and pace. However, good dribblers can be considered as one of the most important key players of a team, as they can unlock any kind of defense.
There are tons of Football dribblers, but only the best have made it onto the CheapGoals list.
10. Roberto Rivelino
Rivelino’s magic with the ball was unbelievable, doing things nobody ever has or will do on a football pitch, and also had a quality of certainty about himself when he was on the ball.
He would not only wind past his opponents but also mortify them and smash defenders’ confidence. Sudden speeding up, various body bluffs would see him outfox defenders on numerous occasions, as some would say Garrincha made the ball talk to his feet.
Other than being authoritatively one of the best footballers to ever graced the beautiful game and lived with three World Cup medals, this iconic Brazilian player was incredible at dribbling. Being able to control the ball in front of defenders and going past them with ease and confidence is something an aspiring footballer would dream of.
8. George Best
Undoubtedly one of England’s greatest players, having scored 137 goals in 361 appearances for Manchester United in a career that spread over more than a decade for the Red Devils. He had the confidence to make use of the ball within and outside of his boot so well that he could cut around players quickly and easily.
De Lima is known for dribbling past defenders and after that going ahead to score a goal. only a few players have aced the popular ‘step over’ dribble as Ronaldo always proved to be a match-winner time over time with his solo dribbles.
6. Johan Cruyff
One of Cruyff’s best abilities was that he had the ability to recognize any weakness and shortcoming in a defender. Like De-lima, he had a move named after him called “The Cruyff Turn”. It would appear as though he was passing the ball to a teammate but instead to kick the ball, he would turn 90 degrees and drag the ball within his foot behind his back leg. This sudden 90-degree move always left the opponent over to the cleaners.
Talking about football dribblers, Garrincha compared to Pele was generally viewed as the best dribbler ever. His extraordinary speed combined with his stunning ball control always leaves defenders powerless, and unfit to deal with his mesmerizing dribbles. At just 5ft 6inches Garrincha’s low center of gravity helped him weave around opponents effortlessly.
4. Diego Maradona
Maradona uses a style of dribbling called “Gambetta” in which he would use his body position to trick into going the wrong way.
Maradona is an impudent, supreme football dribbler – who uses his small stature to make an extraordinary impact which made him one of the best dribblers in football. His strength and control made it difficult to knock him off the ball.
Considered by many as a standout amongst one of the most skillful players in football, he was commended for his abilities and inventiveness. only if his prime had lasted longer, he may very well have been crowned with Ballon d’Or but Okocha is one of the best football dribblers. Be that as it may, it always a joy to watch the Nigerian dazzle on the football pitch.
The former PSG forward and Brazil legend came into the limelight amid his time with Barcelona scoring 70 goals in 145 caps for the club. Dinho brought his mesmerizing pattern of football from the streets of Brazil onto the world stage, and defenders couldn’t deal with his skills and frills.
Every little thing about him appeared to be so superb. From his sly bluffs to his sudden change in increasing speed, all that he did was accompanied by a smile all over his face. His most popular trick was ‘Snake Bite’ where he would trick defenders by pushing the ball sideways, however, all of a sudden pulling the ball back the other way. He is considered one of the best football dribblers.
Having for all intents and purposes wins everything minus a World Cup, the four-time Balon d’Or winner is magnificently unstoppable on his day. The Barcelona forward has scored lots of stunning goals, beating three, four, even five players before firing it in the back of the net.
Mathias Sindelar, Zinedine Zidane, Micheal Laudrup, Adama Toure, Magico Gonzalez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr, Ariel Ortega, Eden Hazard,Dennis Bergkamp.
This is CheapGoal’s top 10 football dribblers, if any of our loving readers feel otherwise or have their preferred special list, pls don’t hesitate to drop and comment…