Many football fans will have seen the comparison video of Maradona and Messi scoring their similar-looking goals. Dribbling by a number of players, they both finish by rounding the keeper and slotting it home. Of course, the Maradona goal is more famous and considered better by many. Coming against England in a World Cup, it very much was a magical moment from a legend of the game.
But Messi’s goal was better. And the reason for that? The opposing central midfielders.
The England players against Maradona don’t even bother chasing back. It wasn’t as big a requirement back then when the game was more focused on attacking tactics than defensive ones. Messi, on the other hand, is chased, kicked, pressed and forced to move at a higher speed overall to get past the defenders. The focus and role of a midfielder has evolved hugely over the years.
As such, how a midfielder is judged now is also very different. When someone as talented as Riquelme was seen as a luxury at top clubs whilst John Obi Mikel was vital to a very successful Chelsea team, you can see that first hand. At Rangers, Andy Halliday is a fan who lived the dream, played well in probably our most satisfying win over Celtic ever, scored in a cup final and gave his all. But he’s remembered as the player who didn’t track back to lead to the first goal in our Scottish Cup Semi Final defeat last season. Midfielders have to be able to almost do it all now or they’re somehow deficient.
Below is a list of players who were never really rated even when with us. Time hasn’t softened the views at all.
JOEY BARTON: 8 APPEARANCES
This one will be fresh enough in the memory to not need much explanation.
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For all his talk, all his supposed ability, Barton showed nothing at Rangers. Probably his best performance was the last 15 minutes at home against Motherwell, helping us turn that game around. That aside, he looked poor.
Thing is, Barton at Burnley was a player who was excellent in a disciplined, defensive midfield. They were a side set up to be hard to break down and play on the counter. At no point did Warburton want us to play that way, so Barton was asked to play in a different way. It clearly didn’t suit him. I still don’t understand why he was given the man of the match against Hamilton in his first start.
Barton did what Barton does after his last appearance for us. Rangers made a mess of that as well. Given everything, he’s listed here for a failure to perform or live up to his own very public expectations.
KYLE HUTTON: 72 APPEARANCES, 2 GOALS
Mention Kyle Hutton, and a common response will be “remember his game against Man Utd?”.
He made a little bit of an impact when he first broke through. That performance was good, and he looked like he could have some potential in other games. When we were embarking upon our season in Division 3 to get back to where we belong, he was looked at as someone who could be part of our midfield for years.
For some reason, he struggled even at that level. He lacked pace and seemed to be very easily beaten by opposing midfielders. Never really had another game after the Man Utd one which is remembered by anyone.
Became known as one of the Nando’s generation. Doesn’t get any worse than that.
DRAGAN MLADENOVIC: 9 APPEARANCES
We had an article on the Serbian Zidane not so long ago, so a lot of his rather brief time was discussed. Signed for over £1m to quite a decent bit of publicity, he was 28 when he joined Rangers.
Had you told us he was 38, we would still have had our doubts about his age.
Rumour has it that the wages we paid him and the change in lifestyle saw him just lose all motivation to play football. Whatever it was, he’s remembered only for his ludicrous nickname and nothing else.
IAN BLACK: 115 APPEARANCES, 8 GOALS
So how can a player who made over 100 appearances for a club be listed as a potential Worst XI player?
By being Ian Black.
Black offered next to nothing in almost all of his appearances for us. Take away his love of a foul or a yellow card, and there’s nothing you could point to. And yet, because of the mess we were in, he was considered an important player for us at the time.
Of his last 5 starts for us, we lost 4 of the games, against the likes of Raith Rovers and Queen of the South. Black spent his time blaming others for how poor we were and never taking responsibility himself. I really hated him as a player when he was at Hearts, and never wanted him in a Rangers shirt.
CAMMY FRASER: 77 APPEARANCES, 12 GOALS
Cammy Fraser signed for Rangers from Dundee in 1984, a time when we were really struggling in the league. He’s remembered very poorly by fans who were watching us back then. Surprisingly, he was involved in the first half of Souness’ first season quite heavily, but was replaced by December and never really seen at Rangers again.
I’ve no personal memories of him, so I can’t say much more!
EMERSON: 18 APPEARANCES, 1 GOAL
A lot of us were quite excited by the signing of Emerson in 2003. We’d seen highlights of his time at Middlesborough and some great goals from distance. A Brazilian midfielder – what’s not to like?
His lack of pace, interest, and ability on the ball during his time with us were just a few of the things…
Aside from his goal against Panathinaikos in the Champions League, Emerson was very poor at Rangers. Didn’t last long at a time when we were struggling for quality on the park.
AMDY FAYE: 6 APPEARANCES
Amdy Faye was brought in from Charlton. Another player who had looked ok in the Premiership in the past, it was hoped he would add some strength and experience.
He was horrendous. He played a handful of games in September before coming off the bench for seemingly no good reason against Celtic in April, played at centre half and looking every inch the poor midfielder.
That was the last time we saw him, and he’s only remembered for being on the end of a shocking challenge in that game which didn’t get the red card it deserved.
We need a midfield partnership for our Worst XI, so please pick two of the options, or let us know if there’s anyone else we should have included! Tweet us @rangersnewsuk with your thoughts.