In football as in any other profession, there are a select few upon which a ton of praise is bestowed; much of which is probably undeserved.
Then there are some professionals who go about their business and are often pivotal to the side without other people noticing. Claude Makalele would be one such pro.
Football fans are fickle. They will claim a certain player as the best ever, and the very next day will be calling for his head.
Let us get started with the underrated players first, followed by the overrated.
The latter, I'm sure, will have many fans calling for my head.
Certain players like Scott Parker or Yaya Toure will not be included, as these players already have gained a reputation of being world-class. That being said, we do have some honorable mentions.
As most of the limelight is taken by players like Angel Di Maria, Karim Benzema, Xabi Alosno, or the epitome of egotistical mannerisms, Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos goes about getting his job done with efficiency.
Sergio Ramos is featured in almost every game for Real Madrid.
Ramos is one of those rare defenders who is highly proficient at defensive duties. He clears the ball out of the defense with ease.
His passing is excellent, and his holding of the ball and concentration is equally above par.
When Mikel Arteta was signed from Everton, he was presented a formidable challenge: fill in the shoes, pun intended, of one Cesc Fabregas.
And boy has he filled them.
Not only has be brought his A-game to Arsenal, but he has also brought, along with Per Mertesacker, a sense of calm and maturity to the dressing room.
His set-pieces are highly effective and he distributes the ball proficiently. Furthermore, his passing, crossing and set-pieces are equally stupendous.
Juan Mata is currently the best player at Chelsea, make no doubt about it.
However, Ramires is equally capable.
With his marauding runs, exceptional dribbling, Ramires provides a lot of positive energy to a Chelsea squad that looks sluggish at times.
His tackling is also fantastic, and Chelsea are missing him dearly.
Of course, Michael Carrick is not of the same mold as Xavi or Andres Iniesta, but he certainly is world class.
I don't understand why Carrick bears the brunt of extreme criticism so often.
This man never places a pass wayward, and yet, time and time again, Carrick is criticized.
When he is fit, he plays every game.
That's a testament to his ability. Sir Alex Ferguson his faith in him. Case closed.
When your name has the word Klass in it, you're certainly going to possess ample amounts of it.
While his Dutch compatriot Robin van Persie is having the season of his professional career and soaking up all the limelight, Klass-Jan Huntelaar is not far behind.
In a much more competitive league, the Bundesliga, Huntelaar has 16 goals and four assists from 19 appearances for Schalke.
His finishing is equally as clinical as van Persie.
Robert Lewandowski, that's who.
Lewandowski plays as an attacking midfielder (ACM)/forward for Borussia Dortmund, and it is in part due to his massive contribution that Dortmund are sitting atop the table.
With 14 goals and six assists in 20 appearances, the Pole certainly deserves more recognition.
He might be one of the biggest disgraces to the game with his play-acting and theatrics, but Sergio Busquets is a phenomenal player.
Diving and cheating aside, he knows how to pick a great pass and does a great job, akin to Yaya Toure of Manchester City.
Yes, you read that right. It's the same Raul: all-time leading goal-scorer for Real Madrid, three-time winner of the Champions League and all-time leading goal-scorer of that tournament.
The same Raul who holds the distinction of having never received a red card during his professional career.
He’s still going strong for Schalke, and has gathered a huge fanbase due to his utterly professional and humble nature.
This season alone he already has racked up 10 goals and four assists for Schalke, who are only two points adrift of Dortmund.
Bastian Schweinsteiger is one of the most phenomenal players to have ever played the game.
Although he has built up a lot of reputation in footballing circles, he doesn't have the same level of fans as other players do.
This, I believe is, mainly due to relatively less exposure of the Bundesliga.
Basti's passing is phenomenal, and so is his tackling. He can provide defense splitting through balls, and I rate him above his more renowned teammates like Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Mario Gomez.
I am confounded by the level of hate this man receives on a daily bases from muddle-headed fans and journalists.
Once revered, now reviled, Wenger is certainly underrated these days.
A paragraph cannot convince anyone why Wenger deserves to be No. 1, but here's an article, which might do that precisely:
On one spectrum, you have underrated personnel as aforementioned, and on the other spectrum you have people who receive too much credit than necessary.
Certainly, he is quick, scores the occasional goal and provides some assists, but Theo Walcott has been given too much time and he has shown little improvement.
If I were to pin down all the blame for Arsenal's miserable run, I would put it down on this man.
His defensive contributions are nonexistent, and he is simply too wasteful in possession.
One great season under Arsene Wenger does not make you world class.
Samir Nasri, or na$ri, moved on to Manchester City to win more cups, but we all know that it was for the cash splurged on him, and the chance to play in prestigious Europa League, which sadly Arsenal have not competed in for the past 15 years.
He is struggling at Manchester City, and although he does show flashes of brilliance, that doesn't warrant his price tag.
Bought for £20 million. Zero Goals. Zero Assists. Enough said.
As soon as the January transfer window opened, I saw too many Gooners jumping on the Lukas Podolski bandwagon.
Sure, Podolski is a proven international, but he is not as world class as many people think he is.
His defensive contribution is next to nothing, loses almost all aerial duels and doesn't even know what offside means.
Not a bad player, but should not be as hyped as he is these days.
He might rack up those fantasy points, but he is too inconsistent to warrant a first-team position.
He also hogs the ball, slows down play and has little tactical awareness.
I'd take Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young on the wings any day over him.
From one Manchester United player to another.
How many of you know that Anderson was bought at an astronomical price of €30 million?
Surely, such an investment must be rewarded accordingly.
He was finally living up to the price tag, then he got sidelined with injury.
Ronaldo is not even the best player in Real Madrid, Angel Di Maria is.
And after that is Mesut Özil.
I'm not saying he is not good, but he flops in big games and doesn't deserve as much of the limelight as he has received over the past years.
People to this day think that letting Gerard Pique go was a huge mistake on Manchester United's part.
His strongest attribute is passing, not winning aerial duels or tackling, or even winning offsides. It's passing, and that says a lot about a defender.
His frailties are countered by the strong play of Barcelona.
When you inherit a team as he did, what results did you expect?
People don't bestow the same amount of praise on Frank Rjikaard, the architect for the current team.
The team that Barcelona has is fantastic, and Pep Guardiola is doing a good job managing it. However, people are already calling him the best-ever manager, even ahead of Jose Mourinho (not to mention the likes of Ferguson and Wenger).
Before you start spewing hate comments, hear me out.
Lionel Messi is one of the best players I have witnessed. He is the difference in the Clasicos and so many other numerous matches.
However, football fans are committing the fallacy of proclaiming whoever comes along as the best ever.
Even if you look back less than 10 years, you had the likes of Zinedine Zidane, who not only won the Champions League but also won the World Cup for France.
Messi is fantastic, but he is overrated by too many as the best ever.