With the rumours circulating around Gini Wijnaldum’s future at Liverpool, I began to wonder ‘what makes a club legend?’
Steven Gerrard, Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish are players with an undisputed legendary status at Anfield, but where do the likes of Xabi Alonso and Dirk Kuyt fit in?
I’m not suggesting they’re not great players of the club, but at what point do we switch the word ‘legend’ for ‘hero’ or ‘icon’?
This is an interesting thought, I think.
But more to the point – what makes a club legend? There are several things that can give a player such a status, with longevity, achievements and ability each playing a role.
A player with the calibre of Lionel Messi arguably becomes an instant club legend, but those who simply stick around long enough can achieve the same label.
Take Alonso, for example – many Liverpool fans would describe him as a legend, after five years at the club and three major honours.
But then look at Wijnaldum – he’s won four major honours in four years. Is he a legend? Who’s the bigger legend?
I’d argue it’s the latter, considering Gini’s picked up the UEFA Champions League, Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup and Premier League trophies so far.
But of course individual ability needs to be considered too – and Alonso was a better overall player than Wijnaldum is, even though his best days were in Spain.
The Dutchman has won two major individual honours so far, having been named in UEFA’s Champions League Squad of the Season and the Nations League Finals Team of the Tournament in 2019.
Respectively, Alonso was named in the FIFPro World XI twice, and between 2011 and 2015 the Spaniard was included in UEFA’s Champions League Squad of the Season, the European Championship Team of the Tournament, Bundesliga’s Team of the Season and was crowned La Liga’s Best Midfielder – a total of six major individual honours.
I should say, this article isn’t here to provide any answers to the questions I’ve posed – it’s merely fuel for thought.
Intrigued by what other fans would think, I took to Twitter to find out who out of Alonso and Wijnaldum fellow Reds would consider the bigger club legend.
I was fairly surprised to see the Spaniard landslide it, with over 70% of the vote, but it’s understandable. See the full results below:
Who's the bigger #LFC legend?
— Ste Carson (@sjrcarson) August 21, 2020
I was curious as to why people voted for Xabi, and so I asked for clarification on why they did, with four options: 1. Longevity, 2. Trophies, 3. Ability and 4. He just is.
Option 3 has over 50% of the vote, but coming in second is option 4, which to me suggests some nostalgia bias. See the full results below:
Interesting. To those who voted for Alonso, why?
— Ste Carson (@sjrcarson) August 22, 2020
Once the dust settles on Wijnaldum’s career and we look back at both the Dutchman and Alonso’s history at the club, I truly believe fans will regard them similarly – but I could also be accused of recency bias!
What do you think? Feel free to tweet me at @sjrcarson on Twitter with your thoughts.