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No.1 Diego Maradona

The sheer amount of iconic Maradona moments tells the story.

Clubs in the 1980s: Argentinos Juniors (1980-81). Boca Juniors (1981-82). Barcelona (1982-84). Napoli (1984-90).




No.2 Michel Platini

Platini was also one of football's greatest penalty takers, his coolness under pressure from the twelve yard spot made him the perfect candidate when the occasion needed it.

Clubs in the 1980s: Saint-Étienne (1980-82). Juventus (1982-87).




No.3 Gheorghe Hagi

Outisde of Argentina, there have been plenty of players who have been labelled as the alternative Maradonas, but Hagi, as the "Maradona of the Carpathians", is probably the most famous, and the most fitting.

Whilst he would shine brightly at a global level in the 1990s he would also light up the 1980s with some phenomenal performances for both club and country, most notably in the Steaua Bucuresti team that would become a feared opponent in Europe for the continent's wealthy and established elite clubs. They'd famously won the European Cup against the odds in 1986 when they beat Terry Venables Barcelona side on penalties. In the 1988-89 season they were at it again, romping through the rounds with goals flying in, Hagi scoring six goals in the eight games that lead up to the final, whilst team-mates Marius Lacatus and Ilie Dumitrescu also contributed eleven goals between them. It was this run to the final that really elevated Hagi to the attention of fans and media across Europe. Unfortunately, in the final, Hagi and Steaua came up against a Milan side that was at the very peak of its form, a team that had demolished Real Madrid 6:1 in the semi-finals, so a 4:0 defeat at the Camp Nou was a disappointing end to their European campaign.

Clubs in the 1980s: Sportul Studentesc (1980-87). Steaua Bucuresti (1987-90)




No.4 Bernd Schuster

We first came across Schuster when we were flicking through the pages of our Panini Euros albums for Europa '80. But it wasn’t just the hair that made him stand out, when the tournament started you could tell he was different. We’d been lead to believe that that German football was full of strong, powerful players, but lacking in flair and mavericks. But a more maverick, controversial character than Schuster it would be hard to find.

Like so many really talented footballers there seemed to be something inbuilt in to his character to have trouble follow him wherever he went. His time at most of his clubs would result in a fallout and a transfer. Schuster was a great passer of the ball, and played as both an attacking midfielder and a deep-lying playmaker, indeed he would also sometimes play even deeper, as a libero, his trademark passes starting off move after move. He really burst on to the global scene at Europa 80, his excellent performances for West Germany making the nation think they at last had a successor to their great playmakers of the 70s, Netzer & Overath. However, it would be a short lived period of adulation with die Mannschaft as he was soon declaring he’d never play again. Whilst Schuster would win La Liga three times, once with Barca and twice with Real Madrid, as well as six Copa del Rey titles and the European Cup Winners' Cup, he would just miss out on European club football's biggest prize, the European Cup, in 1986. He was part of the team that had knocked out the holders, and favourites, Juventus, at the quarter-final stage and then seen off IFK Göteborg in an epic semi-final that saw Barcalona comeback from a 3:0 first-leg deficit in the second-leg at the Camp Nou, Pichi Alonso scoring a hat-trick before Barca went through 5:4 on penalties. Having been involved in so much excitement leading up to the final, the main event turned out to be a complete anticlimax, as the two teams played out one of the competition's most tedious finals that was still goalless after extra-time. Schuster was off the pitch by the time that dreadful penalty shoot-out came around, something that Terry Venables may have looked back with regret given Schuster's expertise in dead-ball situations and the complete lack of success that the other Barcelona Schuster was a free-kick specialist and scored plenty of great goals, plenty of long range ones as you’d expect but some great subtle ones too. As well as his expertise with the dead-ball he was fantastic running with the ball too, surging forward dangerously time after time, especially during his time at the Camp Nou. In the swan song of his career he got first, second and third goals of season in West Germany!

Clubs in the 1980s:




No.5 Dragan Stojkovic

One of those great players who never truly got to fulfil his talent because of injury problems. The 80s saw him making a real name for himself in the then Yugoslavia as one of Europe’s brightest prospects, first with Radniski and then Red Star. As well as triumphing on the domestic scene Stojkovic was in great form on European nights. In 1987 they were desperately unlucky to go out to Real Madrid, and then 2 years later Stojkovic gave Milan the fright of their lives, losing on penalties after two 1:1 matches. As Milan cruised through rest of tournament who knows if Stojkovic could have lifted trophy if penalties had gone their way. Beautiful footballer, always looking to create, always demanding ball. Stojkovic was a great leader too, which is not always the case with playmakers. The 1990s would see him really suffer with injuries but he still produced great moments of pure magic, such as his sublime goals at Italia '90.




No.6 Giancarlo Antognoni

One of the greatest ever Italian playmakers, Antognoni's range of skills meant he was capable of playing either in an advanced role as a traditional number 10, or further back, as a deep-lying playmaker.

Clubs in the 1980s: Fiorentina (1980-87). Lausanne Sports (1987-89)




You can find more information and detail on some of these great playmakers and number 10s on our football player profiles section, and please feel free to contact us if you feel like we've missed someone out who you think deserves to be on the list.