Elias Figueroa was an extraordinary defense, probably the best of all history.
and i'm related to him because my country faced him in the 1982 world cup (in the world cup my country cheeted to classify to the second round
, eventhough it was Germany's idea
From what i saw at that world cup i considered Figueroa a great defender, but not the best of the world or the history. But when i discovered some things about him my thoughts about him being the best defender of all times started to change.
The first thing i discovered about him is that he played that world cup completly overweight, in a really bad physicall condition (apperently this was because of some problems of organisation of the chilean federetion in their preparation for the world cup), but this didn´t stop him from running, jumping and stealling balls in a very good way. The other thing i discovered is that he played that world cup with the fat-finger of his right foot completly broken. He had broken his finger in a really silly way in the preparation for the world cup, and Chile's coach was ashamed to admit this, saw he made him play anyways. But this didn't affected his precise passes and dribbles. The last thing i discovered was that at that World Cup he was a grand-parent (he was quite old), and he could still run and mark well. Once i had discovered this I started to investigate things about him, and i am know completly sure he is one of the best defenders of all times... This were some of the results of my investigations:
1) This were his titles:
Champion of Primera División Uruguaya: 1967 and 1968
Winner of Intercontinental Champions Super Cup: 1969
Winner of Competencia Tournament: 1967
Winner of Honour Tournament: 1967
Winner of Cuadrangular Tournament: 1968 & 1970
Winner of Atlántico Sur Cup: 1972
Winner of Copa Principe Juan de España: 1972
Winner of Príncipe Juan de España Cup: 1972
Winner of Montevideo Cup: 1971
Champion of Campeonato Gaúcho: 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975 & 1976
Champion of Campeonato Brasileiro Série A: 1975 & 1976
Winner of Chile Cup: 1977
Champion of Primera División de Chile: 1978
With Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Winner of 1982 North American Soccer League season (Southern Division): 1982
With Colo Colo
Winner of Primera División de Chile: 1983
2) His individual achievements:
-Best player of all uruguay in 1967 and 1968
-Best defender of uruguay in all the years he played there
-Man of the tournament and champion of Intercontinental champions Cup (they won this tournament against Pele's Santos)
-In 1972, were most of the 1970 world cup brazilian champions were playing in brazil, figueroa was chosen the best of all the brazilian league. He won this prize again in 1976
-In 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1976 he was chosen the best defender of brazil
-In 1974, 1975 and 1976 he was chosen the best player of all America
-In 1975 and 1976 he was chosen the best player OF THE WORLD
-In his time he became the second most expensibe player of the world (only Pele's transfer to Cosmos was more expensive), even though it wasn't because of a transfer, but because of a life insurance policy International de Porto Alegre paid for him. This made him more expensive than Beckenbauer or Cruyff
-He was the captain of all the teams on which he played
-He made his first appereance in profesional football at 15 years
-Made his first appereance in the Chile National football team at 17 years
-Played 3 world cup (1966,1974,1982) with a team that isn't use to go to the world cups (Chile)
-Ideal team of 1974 world cup
-Ideal team of South America in the history
-8th best south american player of the history
-Maracaná stadium hall of fame
-Best chilean player ever (far over Salas, Zamorano and Leonel Sánchez
-Best foreign player to ever play in Uruguay
-Best foreign Player to ever play in Brazil
a little video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1uAXyosMhg
1) He was a sparring of brazil´s World champion team in 1962, at the age of 15. Pele, Didi, Garrincha, Vavá and other players were amused by the huge abbility of this 15 years old boy, that was able to mark them better than any other profesional defender of the world cup teams they played with.
2) In the 1974 world cup all the German fans antending to the stadium to see Chile's matches gaved standing ovations to Elías Figueroa when the matchs were over, even if Chile hadn't win.
3) He made a strange and vey effective football trick. When he was with the ball he sometimes runned towards his own goal at a slow pase, with the "intention" of giving a pass to his goalkeeper. When strikers saw this they runned towards him with the intention of stealing the ball or intercepting the "future pass". When Elias Figueroa was facing his own goal and the striker was very close to his back, running at full speed Figueroa will softly pass the ball over his head, turn around and continue dribbling, while the confused striker, that wasn't able to stop, would have run a long way leaving Figueroa completly alone. Pelé, Roberto Dinamite and Gerd Müller between others suffered "Don Elías" (or "Mr. Elías", as he was nicknamed) trick.
4) Franz Beckenbauer was one year older than Elías Figueroa (so he had one more year of experiance). In 1966 Beckenbauer was allready one of the best Players/defenders of Europe. At the start of the 70', when Beckenbauer was allreday a superb player, he was called "the European Elías Figueroa", by some european people and europe football comentarists, periodists and managers.
5) When he played for International of Porto Alegre, something really stranged happened. Hundred of brazilian sick children were brought by brazilians of all parts of the country to Elias Figueroa's house. They thought Elias Figueroa was so good he must had some magical power, and that he could heal sick people.
This were just some of many short stories about Elias Figueroa, just to show how good and important he was.
Now, going to his stats this are my conclusions. First of all I want to inform you i have been lucky enough to watch lots of Elias Figueroa match's and i could also see almost all his 1974 season (for me the best of all his seasons), even thought i didn't watch it in 1974, but 10 years later
. With all this I´m traing to say I know what i'm talking about
, even though i'm not forcing to to change your stats, i am just giving my opinion:
-Attack: Low 70' seem fine to me, he like to score goals and attack. I don't think he diserves colurs, after all he didn´t ALLWAYS went to the rival's box to attack, but 60' seems to little.
, for me, is perfect. 98
is also OK (in case you want to change), but 97
is just fine.
-Body Balance: I think he dosen't diserve less than 90
. Between 90
seems good enough for me. He was able to steal the ball from anybody, in the "shoulder to shoulder" battle for the ball he allways won. he also camed victorius of all the crosses, free kicks and corner kicks, this wouldn't have been possible without a huge body balance. 89 isn't bad at all for a noral defender, but it isn´t enough for "Mr. Elías"
-Stamina: Some people are proposing really high stamina and that's OK. After all he runned a lot, he covered well and he didn't get tired easily. But I really thing 88 is high enough. Even 90
seems accurete for me, but if I had to choose I'll stay with 88
-89. I prefer to priviledge a high Form/Condition/Fitness (7
-Speed: He was quick, but not quicker than the values you propose. Mid 80'
is enough. Also they put acceleration is 3 points greater than top speed, something that is completly accurate
-Response: The value you propose represent perfectly this player. I think this value shouldn't be increased more than one point, and shouldn't be decreased. In this asspect he is worst than other extraordinary defenses and thats correct. This wasn't his biggest virtue (even thought his response was still awsome), his major virtues was his strenght, technique and his capacity to win in the air.
-Agility/DA and DS: This was one of his better abilities. I think all this values should be increase in one or two points, he was very good with the ball on his feet; allways accurete and calm. I also think his DA should be bigger than his DS. For instance; DA84
. As I said before he had a very precise dribble. It's true he could also run long distances with the ball (even thought he didn't abuse of this resource) without having to use much skill to pass throw other players. But, in my opinion, this was more because of his DA and his BB rather than his DS
-Shot accuracy and Passes accuracy and speed: They are correct, efficient passes but nothing really remarcable.
-Shot power: He had a really powerfull shot and a very long and also when he needed to clear the ball it get really far. I personally think that his abilities should be between 85
-Shot tecnique: I´ve never known this, i hope somebody can answer this doubt: DOSE SHOT TECHNIQUE AFFECT A PLAYER'S HEADER? If the answer is YES, ST could be increased (79
); and if the ansewer is NO, ST could be decrease to 75
-FKA and curling: He sometimes took Free kicks (I even saw him score a good free kick goal once). I think 74 is a more standarded value for him. if somebody wants you could even put 78
and it will still be correct. Curling is OK
-Header: I totally agree with "Rated-R" about header and jump. Heading wasn't the thing he did best, it was jumping. Citing Rated-R: "Product of the big jump at times lost his direction, although the vast majority could give you power and precision", totally correct. I propose to decrease it to 88
-Jump: I also agree with Rated-R in this one. I also see him close to Zamorano or "Chita" Cruz (to excelent chilean jumpers), and to continue with the ladder i propose 95
. This was on of his major virtues.
Jump P.S.: In case you were wondering "How the F*** is Humberto Cruz?", I also thought the same, and did some reaserch...Humberto Cruz was a Chilean defender of 1.63m how was borned in 1939 that was able to jump...1 metre!
, this meant that he could be marking a to 2.10m guy that jumps 40cm, and he will still win him in a cross. (I, in my better days at Wien Highschool, could jump 55cm... I was the better jumper of all my classmate
-Technique: I think 85
is enough. I had personally put 86
or 87, even though any stat up to 89
could be considered correct.
-Aggression: I think 65 is not enough for Figueroa. I would have put something between high 70'
. He advanced and marked with al lot of force a agresivity. His header was also aggressive.
-Mentality: He did very good in this. But I also agree with some of the persons that have post before, that consider this value a bit high. 98
ain't wrong, but something arund 95
is more correct
-Team Work: The same as with Mentality. He really knew what it was to play in a team, he usually prefered to give the short simple pass rather than trying to pass throw somebody. But his teamworkness (if that word exist
, in Austria we would call it "Teamgeist", just like the 2006 world cup ball), wasn't magnific either. So, again, 94
isn't wrong, but something around 90
is more correct
-Form Condition Fitness: Between 7 and 8, as I said in "stamina". It was very difficult for him to get tierd
-WFA-WFF: 5 is just right, he was a bit above the average with his left foot.
Growth type: I think "Late" or "Late/Lasting" would me more suitable, after all he retierd at the age of 36, won his last tournament at the age of 36 and played his last world cup at the age of 35.
Age: I personally think is when he had 28 (1974), even though his era might be between 28-30 (1974-1976) or even 26-32 (1972-1978). His golden years in Peñarol 21-23 (1967-1969) could also be consider as one era, but I think he was better in the 70'. In the age you put 25 (1971). I´m pretty sure that wasn't his best year
This really long post (yes it's finally getting to the end) was specially directed to all the ones how though Elias Figueroa was overrated...They should investigate before posting.
Thx for reading