Totti, Baggio and Platini headline ratings
The Gazzetta dello Sport is one of the most instantly recognisable sports newspapers in the world, having been published for over well 100 years whilst bringing daily football news and coverage to Italians up and down the country from within its pink pages.
One of its most respected, closely followed and scrutinised features is its Player Rating system. Awarding an individual mark out of 10 to players for their performance after every game, the notoriously difficult rating has become something of a benchmark for fans and the professionals themselves, with just a handful of players ever receiving a ‘perfect’ 10 score since the first ratings were published back in October 1973. Most commonly awarded, is the score of 6 – the rating ‘given to a player considered to have done the very least of what is required’ during a match.
So, after over 40 years of scrutiny, which players have come out on top?
The fantasisti of course.
Three, to be exact. And here’s why…
Francesco Totti has the highest career average mark of any player over the last 20 years with a 6.45 average rating. The Roma legend has consistently picked up good ratings during his epic career, but apparently, the general consensus is that the playmaker would have gained even greater marks had he played during Serie A’s ‘golden era’ of the 80s/early 90s when the likes of Michel Platini, Diego Maradona, Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Lothar Matthäus played in their pomp.
Back then, the current regime believe journalists were more generous when awarding their marks. With the calibre of such players gracing the league every week, it must have been hard not to be generous!
Whilst Totti can claim to have the ‘best of all time’ average, it is another number 10 who holds the record for highest average gained during a single season. That record belongs to Michel Platini who, for the 1983-1984 campaign, secured an average of 6.94 on his way to leading Juventus to the Scudetto. As the Gazzetta point out, not even Maradona at his best managed to beat that season average.
However, not even the great Platini during his record season, Maradona in his prime, or the irrepressible Totti during his 20 year career have had the honour of being awarded a perfect 10 out of 10 score during a single match – something which only two players have ever achieved in the history of Serie A.
The great Roberto Baggio was awarded the ultimate match rating of 10 after his performance in the Inter Milan versus Parma Champions League qualification play-off back in 2000. Il Divin Codino almost single-handedly guided the Nerazzurri into Europe’s premier competition by inspiring them to a 3-1 win, scoring twice – a deceptively precise free-kick and an outstanding 20 yard left-footed half-volley – and being ‘absolutely perfect all game’ according to the comments made alongside his awarded rating.
It was a bitter-sweet triumph for the magical number 10 and somewhat of a parting gift to Inter; Roby had already decided to leave the club after his disgraceful treatment at the hands of the then manager, Marcelo Lippi who had ‘declared war’ on him. When Baggio eventually ended his illustrious career, he did so with an average of 6.27.
Considering the only other player to ever receive a rating of 10 in Serie A was for saving a team-mates life on the pitch, literally – Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Scarpi rescued Gianluca Grassadonia after the defender suffered a heart attack during a game with Udinese – we think Baggio’s achievement is all the more remarkable.