That man is Enzo Francescoli. A fler so spectacular, Zizou was not just influenced by his playing style, but even named his first son after him.
If the Netherlands can be regarded as “the best country to never win the World Cup”, then I think I’d call Francescoli “the best player to never actually win anything we can recall without a quick reference to the Internet”.
It’s a long title, I know... but it fits him well.
Francescoli was the complete striker. He could get past a defender with maximum ease and minimal fuss. He was also an extremely accurate passer, and like all good strikers, could hold the ball on his own in the opposition’s half as his teammates set up shop for attack.
Twice he was voted South American Player of the Year, and such was his durability that he won those titles 11 years apart (in 1984 and 1995). An immensely likeable individual, he is still known as el principé (the prince) in River Plate, a moniker that stuck when the Olympic Marseille fans christened him le prince.
It is fair to say that anyone gifted with the guile of Pelé, the ruthless efficiency of Shearer, and the timing and positional sense of van Basten must have been one helluva striker indeed.
What I really respect about him is that he was a highly graceful individual, who aspired to give his best in whichever club he played for, and took enormous pride in what many modern players would consider mediocre accomplishments. In his own words...
"The truth is that I achieved much more than I ever thought I would when I turned professional. I played at two World Cup finals, and I'm proud to say that I gave my all every time I took to the field. I know I didn't play for clubs like Juventus or FC Barcelona, but it would be wrong of me to complain about that after everything football has given me."
I scoured through YouTube, and found this clip from a River Plate game:
Those are just three reasons why Enzo Francescoli is number 10 in my list of all-time great footballers.