Ball control is means to perform an inside touch, move your leg outward slightly, lock your ankle, then touch the ball with the middle of the inside of your foot.
The ball should go across your body. If the ball goes too far in front of you or too close to you, adjust the angle of your foot. Ball control is an essential skill in professionals football .
On that note, let’s look at the five of the best footballers with the best control in football history.
- Dimitar Berbatov
Dimitar Ivanov Berbatov is a Bulgarian former professional footballer. A striker, he captained the Bulgaria national team from 2006 to 2010, and is the country’s all-time leading goalscorer. He is regarded as one of the greatest Bulgarian players of all time.
Berbatov was known for his footballing intelligence, technical ability, ball control, and composure; in particular, his unhurried stance in front of goal was described by The Scotsman’s Tom Lappin as elegant and calm. He also possessed exceptional precision when passing and shooting, and took his time when on attack in order to ensure the best move possible.
As such, he was often used as a deep-lying centre forward, receiving passes from the midfield, holding the ball up and then using his tactical acumen and well-honed skill to bring his teammates into the game. He was also deployed as a lone striker at times, due to his goalscoring ability. His impressive physical stature combined with these attributes to form a strong all-round attacking player.
- Lionel Messi
Lionel Andrés Messi, also known as Leo Messi, is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and captains the Argentina national team.
Often considered the best player in the world and widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Messi has won a record seven Ballon d’Or awards, a record six European Golden Shoes, and in 2020 was named to the Ballon D’Or Dream Team. Until leaving the club in 2021, he had spent his entire professional career with Barcelona, where he won a club-record 35 trophies, including ten La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey titles and four UEFA Champions Leagues.
A prolific goalscorer and creative playmaker, Messi holds the records for most goals in La Liga (474), a La Liga and European league season (50), most hat-tricks in La Liga (36) and the UEFA Champions League (8), and most assists in La Liga (192), a La Liga season (21) and the Copa América (17).
He also holds the record for most international goals by a South American male (81). Messi has scored over 750 senior career goals for club and country, and has the most goals by a player for a single club.
- Neymar Jr.
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, known as Neymar, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team. He is widely regarded as one of the best players in the world.
Neymar came into prominence at Santos, where he made his professional debut aged 17. He helped the club win two successive Campeonato Paulista championships, a Copa do Brasil, and the 2011 Copa Libertadores; the latter being Santos’ first since 1963. Neymar was twice named the South American Footballer of the Year, in 2011 and 2012, and soon relocated to Europe to join Barcelona. As part of Barcelona’s attacking trio with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, he won the continental treble of La Liga, the Copa del Rey, and the UEFA Champions League, and finished third for the FIFA Ballon D’Or in 2015 for his performances.
He then attained a domestic double in the 2015/2016 season. In 2017, Neymar transferred to Paris Saint-Germain in a move worth €222 million, making him the most expensive player ever. In France, Neymar won three league titles, three Coupe de France, and two Coupe de la Ligue, which included a domestic treble and being voted Ligue 1 Player of the Year in his debut season. Neymar helped PSG attain a domestic quadruple in the 2019/2020 season, and led the club to its first ever Champions League Final.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan Ibrahimović is a Swedish professional footballer who plays as a striker for Serie A club AC Milan and the Sweden national team. He has been described as one of the greatest strikers of all time. Ibrahimović is one of the most decorated active footballers in the world, having won 31 trophies in his career. He has scored over 570 career goals, including more than 500 club goals, and has scored in each of the last four decades.
Ibrahimović has been described by ESPN as being good in the air, quick, tall, strong and agile, he plays well with his back to goal and boasts some of the best finishing, vision, passing and ball control around. A versatile and well rounded attacker, from a tactical standpoint, Ibrahimović is capable of playing anywhere along the front line, due to his ability to both create and score goals for his team, although he is most often deployed as a striker, due to his composure and eye for goal.
He has also functioned in a more creative playmaking role at times, as a supporting forward or even as a number 10, in particular in his later career, after losing some of his pace and stamina with age; this deeper position allows him to drop into midfield to pick up the ball, where he can utilise his technical ability, vision, passing, and movement to create space and provide assists for teammates.
- Thierry Henry
Thierry Daniel Henry is a French professional football coach and former player who is an assistant coach for the Belgium national team. He is considered one of the greatest strikers of all time and one of the greatest players in the history of the Premier League. In 2003 and 2004, Henry was the runner-up for the FIFA World Player of the Year, and was runner-up for the Ballon D’Or in the former year.
He was named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year twice, the FWA Footballer of the Year three times, and was named in the PFA Team of the Year six consecutive times. He was also included in the FIFA FIFPro World XI once and the UEFA Team of the Year five times. He was one of the most commercially marketed footballers during the 2000s. Henry, along with Alan Shearer, was one of the inaugural inductees into the Premier League Hall of Fame in 2021.
One of the reasons cited for Henry’s impressive play up front is his ability to calmly score from one-on-ones. According to his father Antoine, Henry learned precision shooting from watching his idol Marco van Basten. He was also influenced by Romário, Ronaldo and Liberian star George Weah, a new breed of strikers in the 1990s who would also operate outside the penalty area before running with the ball towards goal. At his physical peak from the late 1990s to the mid 2000s, Henry’s ability to dribble past opponents with exceptional pace, skill and composure, meant that he could get in behind defenders regularly enough to score. In 2004, former Arsenal striker Alan Smith commented on Henry. I have to say I haven’t seen a player like him. He’s an athlete with great technical ability and a tremendous desire to be the best