Home UCL Footballers you didn’t know were underrated. Pt. II

Footballers you didn’t know were underrated. Pt. II

dani parejo
(Getty Images)

You must have seen the first of this post where we listed a few footballers that we thought are underrated. If you didn’t read that post, you can check it out here

Raphael Guerreiro

Borussia Dortmund fans would tell you how world class he is. Watch his game and you will
see a superb technical footballer with astute positioning and knowledge of the game.
Whether playing at
full-back or wing-back, his tremendous technical quality allows him to shine. His positioning is important
for Dortmund’s build-up play.

His outside-of-the-boot passes into the inside channel kickstart a lot of Dortmund attacks and is very difficult to prevent. His progressive passing is among the best in Bundesliga and so is his progressive carriage of the ball. His progressive passes and ball carriage recorded in the game against Schalke is the best among his teammates recorded this season. Muito impressionate as the Bundesliga Fanatic puts it.

(Photo by Jörg Schüler/Bongarts/Getty Images)

He does not have the engine of a full-back like Andy Robertson but he breaks the game down to his
ability and he plays it will. Short interplay to allow him to move forward, picking smart passes to
progress play. This is why he was played as a midfielder some time ago. He is a brilliant technical player
whose play goes underrated.

Alassane Plea

Sometimes it feels like Marco Rose and Jurgen Klopp train football from the same manual. If you want to
see the Firmino role being executed by someone not named Firmino then please give Plea a watch. His
link-up play is impressive.

He holds it up well, combines well with other teammates, and can score too. His combination with Marcus Thuram is potent and gives Borussia Monchengladbach its attacking vigor. See his exceptional pass that set up Thuram for the first goal against Madrid during the week. Plea presses well, which is vital for playing under Rose and he also delivers the goods.
Last season he scored 10, assisted another 10 from 19 big chances created in the Bundesliga alone. In the
Europa League, he started 3 games and recorded 1 assist from 1 big chance created. In the 2018/2019
season, he recorded 12 goals and 4 assists from 4 big chances created.

(Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

This season, he is struggling but he is still essential to the game of Gladbach. He has adapted his game from the wing play at Nice to half 9 at Die Fohlen. Plea does not get the plaudits he deserves because of the publicity of Bundesliga but he is a top-notch performer and he is consistent with it.

Hakim Ziyech

There is an air of arrogance about Dutch footballers as Michael Cox writes in his famous book Zonal
Marking
. Combine this with the dribbling ability from Ziyech’s North African genes and you have one
world-class footballer who exudes magic with his play. It took time for the Ajax fans to warm up to him
due to this perceived arrogance but he is that good.

A goal during the week in the Champions League takes his tally in the competition to 6 goals and 7 assists in his last 18 games in the competition. On his first league start for Chelsea, a goal and an assist for good measure.

(Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Ziyech is a brilliant player with a wand of a left foot. He is not the fastest but he is tricky and possesses
incredible vision. He has one of the best final ball deliveries in the game and he has been showing it in the
Dutch league and the Champions League but people still underrate his talents. He is a world-class player
who has been delivering fantastic performances for years now but it goes unnoticed.

His penchant to always go for the Hollywood pass or the shot can be annoying, but when it comes off (more often than
not), it is a sight to behold. 6 goals and 12 assists in the short 19/20 Eredivisie season, 16 goals, 13 assists from 27 big chances created the season before that. His numbers and level of performances allude to a world-class player and he is showing it at Chelsea

Dani Parejo

Despite being unceremoniously hounded out of Valencia by Peter Lim & Anil Murthy, he remains a
legend of Los Che.
The madness that is Valencia CF is a work deserving a whole other article. For 9
seasons, he gave his all to the Valencia cause and he captained the side to a famous Copa Del Rey win
against Barcelona at the end of the 2018/2019 season, it was Valencia’s first trophy in 11 years. His spell
with the club has had its up and downs but through the process, he has become one of the best midfielders
in the world.
Parejo excels at controlling the flow and tempo of the game. He likes to sit deep and control the game
with his short passing and long passing.

dani parejo
(Getty Images)

It may not bear the intricacies of the great Spanish midfielders like Xabi Alonso, Xavi, and Andres Iniesta but it is something worthy of praise. From his small corner of the pitch, he can dominate a game and he consistently did this for Valencia. He played in a pivot for Valencia beside Francis Coquelin or Geoffrey Kondogbia. He is not the most athletically gifted nor does his body language tell the story of someone interested in defensive duties but he is an assured performer.


He may not have performed for the three consecutive seasons we stipulated but this is due to the
management issues at the club and mostly no fault of his own. Parejo is a talented midfield controller that
is world-class on his day but undervalued and overlooked in football circles.


Rodrigo De Paul


In the 2018/2019 season, he finished with 9 goals, 8 assists from 15 big chances created in the league.
Udinese finished 12th. 7 goals and 6 assists from 17 big chances created in the 2019/2020 season as
Udinese finished 13th. This season he has already created 4 big chances and he has no assist to show for his
good works.
The Argentine is a swiss army knife for his club.
He performs well in different positions in midfield and
attack. Whether in a 2-man midfield or a 3-man midfield, he will put in a solid display. Rodrigo De Paul
combines vision, versatility, and work-rate.

(Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

He drives his team forward, and he can execute killer passes and long shots to complete the move. Combine this with an incredible engine and this means he can give you consistent performances across the season without breaking a sweat.
Rodrigo De Paul is begging for someone to take him away from these relegation battles so he can show what he can do on a more comfortable platform.

Leeds United has been eyeing him up but a move to the club broke down this summer. Marcelo Bielsa will love a player who can run that much and still have enough guile to create and score. This is what he brings, he has been doing it for seasons now and he deserves some recognition for it.

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