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15th Feb 2021

The 12 times L’Equipe have given a perfect 10 player rating

Simon Lloyd

Only 11 players have earned a perfect rating from L’Equipe

When it comes to player ratings, the folk over at L’Equipe are a famously tough crowd to please. The French publication have been giving players marks out of 10 for decades, yet have only deemed 12 performances worthy of full marks in all that time.

Who are the chosen few to have achieved a sacred L’Equipe Perfect 10, we hear you ask. What did they do that was so eye-catching? Well, look no further. Here are the 12 performances to be awarded a full 10 marks by L’Equipe:

Serge Gnabry – Tottenham vs Bayern Munich, 2019

You remember this one, don’t you? Yes, Serge Gnabry is the most recent recipient of a L’Equipe 10 after he spearheaded a ruthlessly efficient Bayern Munich attack against Spurs in the Champions League group game in 2019. The former Arsenal man bagged four goals on his return to north London as Bayern ran riot on their way to a 7-2 win.

Lucas Moura – Ajax vs Tottenham, 2019

Another Tottenham game, this time with slightly happier memories for those who hold the club dear, saw Lucas Moura inspire them to an incredible Champions League semi-final comeback against Ajax, clinching their place in their only European Cup final. His side two down on the night at half-time and trailing 3-0 on aggregate, the Brazilian scored a second-half hat-trick, his final goal coming deep into stoppage time. Maurcio Pochettino cried and, frankly, watching that footage of the last goal again, who could blame him?

Dusan Tadic – Real Madrid vs Ajax, 2019

Three 10s in a matter of months? The L’Equipe lot really were feeling generous in 2019, weren’t they? Again, though, this one is hard to argue against. Dusan Tadic, having joined Ajax the previous summer from Southampton, put on an inspired display to dump Real Madrid – eyeing their fourth European Cup on the spin – out of the Champions League. He scored his side’s third in a 4-1 masterclass in the Bernabeu, but the role he played in their second of the night. Bursting through the Real midfield, nonchalantly pirouetting away from a flat-footed Casemiro then unleashing a perfectly measured pass for David Neres to put the Dutch side in the driving seat. Magic.

Neymar – Paris Saint-Germain vs Dijon, 2018

Four goals and a couple of assists for Neymar helped PSG thump Dijon 8-0 in January 2018, on their way to another Ligue 1 title. Not a bad night’s work at all and a display worthy of a full 10 marks. He did, however, attract jeers from some PSG supporters for taking the penalty from which he scored his fourth, denying Edinson Cavani the opportunity to leap ahead of Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the club’s all-time leading scorer. Still, at least he had that 10.

Carlos Eduardo – Nice vs Guingamp, 2014

Not one of the more illustrious names on this list, but a five-goal haul for Nice against Guingamp helped Carlos Eduardo claim a little slice of footballing history. On a season’s loan from Porto at the time, Eduardo had completed his hat-trick before the break, setting up a 7-2 victory.

Robert Lewandowski – Borussia Dortmund vs Real Madrid, 2013

Robert Lewandowski’s four goals for Dortmund in the first round of their Champions League semi-final derailed Jose Mourinho’s hopes of being the coach to clinch Real Madrid’s Decima in 2013. Though the second leg became a far nervier affair than any Dortmund fan would’ve ideally liked, their Polish striker’s brilliance in the first proved enough to see them through to a Wembley final against Bayern Munich.

Lionel Messi – Barcelona vs Bayer Leverkusen, 2012

Some of you may have clocked that, while L’Equipe have only ever handed out 12 Perfect 10 ratings, there have only been 11 recipients. It will come as no surprise to you that the one man to get two 10s is Lionel Messi.

The second came in the Champions League in 2012, when Messi helped himself to five goals as Barcelona hammered Bayer Leverkusen 7-1. It proved to be a record breaking year for goals for Messi, but his side’s quest for another Champions League crown came up short in the semi-finals against Chelsea.

Lionel Messi – Barcelona vs Arsenal, 2010

Messi’s first came in a Champions League quarter-final against Arsenal. The tie was delicately poised after a 2-2 draw in the first leg in London, but a four goal blitz from Messi ended the contest and L’Equipe’s incredible 13-year spell without handing a single Perfect 10 rating. Just think of some of the players that missed out… wow.

Lars Windfeld – Aarhus vs Nantes, 1997

Who, you might ask. And fair enough. Windfeld was not exactly a household name. A Danish goalkeeper, he never had a look in at international level thanks to a certain Mr. Schmeichel, and spent a good chunk of his club career playing for Aarhus. He won the Danish Cup with them in 1996 and, the following year, put in such a fine display of goalkeeping excellence in a Uefa Cup tie against Nantes that he was deemed a worthy recipient of a 10/10 player rating. Aarhus were able to seal a slender win over the French club, taking them through to the next round after a 2-2 drawn in Denmark. And look, it really was an astonishing display, just as you’d expect given no more 10s were given out for another 13 years…

Oleg Salenko – Russia vs Cameroon, 1994

Oleg Salenko, a name football stat nerds will instantly recognised, shared the golden boot for the 1994 World Cup, after scoring six times at the tournament. Four of those came on one afternoon in California, as Russia thrashed Cameroon 6-1. It wasn’t enough for Russia to progress from the group stage, however, with defeats to Brazil and Sweden in their two previous games sealing their elimination before a ball had been kicked.

Franck Sauzee – France U21s vs Greece U21s, 1988

France’s triumph at the 1988 U21 European Championships was, a whole decade before their senior side won the World Cup on home soil, seen as quite a big deal by L’Equipe. How do we know this? Well, because their win against Greece in the final was enough for the outlet to hand out not one, but two Perfect 10s. The joint most eye-catching performer that day was by Sauzee, who scored two of France’s three unanswered goals. He would later graduate to the senior squad, but didn’t feature for them in 1998.

Bruno Martini – France U21s vs Greece U21s, 1988

Yes, the other man to get a 10 that day was goalkeeper Bruno Martini. He turned in an accomplished display between the sticks to keep a clean sheet that day, ensuring that, for the only time in history, L’Equipe gave two perfect ratings in a single game. We can safely assume that won’t be happening again any time soon.