Deciding whether a player is underrated or not is a very subjective affair, but here I will try and put forward five players who merit more acclamation than what they currently receive.
Rather than a list of unknown players, most of the names here are already playing at the top level for major football clubs around the world. No one can be truly underrated if he reach such heights, but there are some names that should merit more plaudits than what they are receiving now.
So let’s start with the top five names who deserves more applause than what they are getting.
1) Sergio Busquets:
Sergio Busquets is surely an underrated asset in Barcelona’s side, given the huge impact he has in club’s crucial fixtures. It is even quite understandable that why Busquets isn’t the most spoken about footballer in the world. When one looks at the players he has played with in the midfield, it will be quite easy for them to understand that one of them will be surely be overshadowed.
As Barcelona and Spain dominated over the last decade, Busquets was always the silent part of the team. His club and country are surely two of the best-attacking sides of all time, but it was always goalscorers who got the credit rather than the midfielder who was always behind creating that momentum.
Busquets plays the role of a holding midfielder, which is often considered as one of the most important positions in the squad. Even legends like Claude Makelele, Patrick Vieira, and Didier Deschamps have played in that position but even they were underrated during there playing career.
His importance to the team is only growing by day. Just name a thing which he fails to do from defending to taking part in attacks, he masters all. So much about him and so it seems unfair year after year that he isn’t getting the recognition he richly deserves. But our Spaniard doesn’t worry about whether he is getting recognition or not, he is more inclined towards team trophies and honours rather than individual accolades.
Football fans will truly understand his contribution to football once he hangs up his boots.
2) César Azpilicueta:
The second player who makes to my list of top 5 underrated footballers in the world right now is César Azpilicueta of Chelsea. Since joining the Blues in 2012, César Azpilicueta has been a massive part in Chelsea’s defensive improvements, covering the departures of club legend Ashley Cole and John Terry because of his ability to play anywhere in defense, from centre back to full back, any position will do for him.
Despite having such a huge impact on Chelsea’s defense, César Azpilicueta doesn’t receive the plaudit he deserves. The Spaniard is nothing short of a revelation. The thing which makes me appreciate him is that he never stops running and chasing the opponents, and wins almost every tackles that too without making any rash challenge. He is not the one who easily gives up, he stays on his feet till the last moment and doesn’t dive in to get the ball.
Versatility is the name which is synonymous to Azpilicueta’s game, and when Antonio Conte shifted to 3-4-3 formation last year, Azpilicueta was selected to play on the right side of the defense and he did so with aplomb. Given the amount of influence he has on Chelsea’s game and the amount of applauses, he gets it surely looks like he is underrated.
3) Roberto Firmino:
The third name who makes it to my list is, Roberto Firmino of Liverpool. Despite being essential to Jurgen Klopp’s high-intensity pressing style, Roberto Firmino is probably the most underrated player in the Premier League.
Roberto Firmino surely had a slow start to life at Anfield, but towards the end of last season, he was the kind of player without whom Jürgen Klopp can’t do. Often overshadowed by his more charismatic teammates — Mohammad Salah and Sadio Mane — Roberto Firmino has been an integral part of the attacking machine Jurgen Klopp is trying to create at Anfield.
The Brazilian often looks uncoordinated on the ball and is nowhere near the best technically or athletically but what he does have is intelligence. The Brazilian’s movement is truly excellent when Liverpool are on the attack and this is especially evident when the ball is played in the center of the pitch.
Despite given all his abilities and impact, he is one of the most underrated footballers in the Premier League.
4) Nacho Fernandez:
The fourth name who is making to my list is Nacho Fernandez of Real Madrid. Nacho is surely one of the most underrated defenders in Europe. It is quite understandable that why Nacho is not given the credit his deserves. In a team chock-full of big names and even bigger signings, it’s easy to forget about the rest of the squad.
Nacho has turned out for Real Madrid in all defensive positions to date and continues to impress with his commitment – something which Zinedine Zidane has started appreciating in the past few days.
Starting in Madrid’s youth team at the early age of eleven, Nacho nearly did not have a career at all. Diagnosed with type one diabetes, Nacho was told by doctors that he should not continue playing football. But his passion even at a young age was clear for everyone to see, and with a careful diet plan, Nacho continued to fight for his dream of playing for Real Madrid.
In almost any other top team, Nacho would have been a regular starter. However, at the Bernabeu, he has to wait for an injury to a first-choice defender so that it can open up the way for him. Even making his way to the senior squad would have been difficult for him.
At left-back, he might not be able to provide the attacking outlet that Marcelo does, but he is a more stable defender than the Brazilian, always keeping his zone covered and man marked.
Despite given all his abilities, he is just limited to a bench in Zidane’s squad. It feels bad year after year that he isn’t getting the recognition he deserves.
The fifth and the last name who makes it to my list is Jorginho of SSC Napoli. Jorginho, 25, is basically a central midfielder for one of the most entertaining teams this season in Napoli. Napoli is underrated as a whole, but perhaps no one goes as overlooked as Jorginho does.
Under the guidance of Napoli’s current manager Maurizio Sarri he has played an influential role in Napoli’s impressive form this season which sees them currently occupying the second position in the league. Jorginho has been silently developing into one of the best in his trade. In my opinion, he is one of the best deep-lying playmakers in the world but yet he is underrated.
Xavi was a true pass-master and the heartbeat of Barcelona. And right now, if there is any player that could be labeled as Xavi-like then it is Jorginho. However, Jorginho has so much more to his game than just passing.
His abilities allow to him to play in numerous positions in the midfield including box to box midfielder but he is at best of his game when he plays as a deep-lying playmaker.
He is surely a world class talent but is yet one of the most underrated players in the world. Probably because at Napoli the headlines are dominated by the likes of Insigne and Mertens who individually are having the best seasons of their lives.
How can a player who receives the glowing acclaim on a regular basis be underrated? Maybe because he doesn’t gets enough praise to be one of the best players on the planet. It will surely be a great shame if this players doesn’t get the recognition they deserved by the time their career is over.