The derogatory term “dummy” is used to describe a football player, or any other team sport, who plays as an individualist, that is, without taking into account the rest of the players in his team. This player tends to touch the ball continuously without passing it, ignoring the rest of his teammates and trying to finish many of the plays by himself, even if this means harming his own team.
Throughout the history of the sport, there have always been players who have been labelled as dummies by both the media and the fans, thus criticising them for their excessive individualism. Some of them are mentioned below: Gareth Bale, Arjen Robben, Emilio Butragueño, Pelé, Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.
The fact that a player is a dummy does not always have to be a negative thing, because if the team manages to achieve victory thanks to his individual moves, he is not usually taken into account. However, when the player harms his team or contributes to their defeat, because if he had passed the ball to one of his teammates the result could have been different, then we start to talk about a dummy in a derogatory way.
For many people, the dummy player is a really necessary figure in a football team, even if sometimes they don’t dare to admit it. Having a player who can dribble and dribble, dribble and dribble with the ball at his feet, who is able to surprise with his bicycles and elastics, and who can go at speed and master the change of pace, can be very useful on certain occasions.
It should be borne in mind that most of the most expensive signings in the history of the sport have always been very individualistic players, in other words, dummies, as are some of the players who have won the Ballon d’Or. For example, Leo Messi is responsible for solving his team’s collective problems by making spectacular individual moves, in other words, being a dummy, in the same way that Cristiano Ronaldo did at Real Madrid, which many Madrid fans yearn for. And there is no denying that the dummy causes a sensation wherever he plays.
Sometimes the resentment against the dummy can even be ideological, as talent belies the comforting thought that all players are the same. It must be born in mind that not all players are at the same level, and therefore, the moves that some can make, others cannot. For better or worse, football is like that.
Some of the players considered as dummies have managed to score decisive goals for their respective teams. This is the case of Gareth Bale, a dummy who a few years ago scored a decisive goal in a Copa del Rey final, a goal against Fútbol Club Barcelona that will be remembered forever for its beauty, but also for its importance. Bale is also the dummy who sentenced Atlético de Madrid in the final of the UEFA Champions League after scoring a goal, the one who closed out the Club World Cup, the one who was voted best player in the Premier League in 2011 and 2013 and the one who scores so many goals and provides so many assists.
Leo Messi has also sometimes been labelled as a dummy. Many fans believe that he is an individualistic player. But the truth is that he gives many assists to his team-mates, which show that he is a very generous player. However, despite the fact that a dummy is considered to be a player whose talent invites him to hold on to the ball longer than his teammates, it can also be said that he is a player who thinks about the general good of his team, and this is precisely what the Argentinian does.
The reality is that Messi is quite generous on the pitch, but it is also true that in every game he shows his ability with the ball at his feet, and in the event that he thinks he has a small chance to score a goal, he takes it, dribbling even in the most difficult situations, although he is always lucky to have the support of a teammate when he does not see the shot clearly enough. And if Messi were not a dummy, he could never have pulled off such decisive moves, such as the spectacular one he pulled off in a game against Atlético de Madrid that ended with a shot that went just inches wide of the goal, or the one in which he managed to score a goal against Getafe in the Copa del Rey.
In short, for many people a dummy is a player who does his team a considerable disservice, because if he were to pass the ball to a team-mate at the right time instead of holding it as long as possible to try to score the goal himself, many of those moves could possibly end in a goal. For other fans, however, the dummy is a necessary player in the team, as he has the talent to create spectacular plays and he must make the most of it no matter what. So, whether it is seen as a positive or a negative thing, the dummy has always been, is and will always be very present in the world of football.