You would think from the accolades last week that Zinedine Zidane had just retired. In fact DaMarcus Beasley somehow compared Claudio Reyna to ZuZu before the 2006 World Cup saying:
On the field, technically he’s our best player. He’s so smooth. He’s very nonchalant. He always reminds me of [Zinedine Zidane].
Let’s get one thing straight. Claudio Reyna was no Zinedine Zidane. He was not even the best American soccer player. I would put Brad Friedel, Brian McBride and John Harkes ahead of him.
Yes Reyna was able to play a dozen years in Europe and he set records for largest transfers paid for an American player on multiple occasions. But his career was average at best.
Reyna was a midfield player, and midfield players usually fall into three categories: defense players (think Claude Makelele), creators (think Cesc Fabregas) or scorers (think Frank Lampard). Reyna stats show that he never was able to fit into any of these categories.
In Germany he played 74 games and scored 6 goals. In Rangers it was 10 goals in 64 games, while in the Premier League he scored 7 goals in 105 games. So in Europe he played 242 goals and scored 22 goals or one every 10 games. These are the sort of numbers that you would expect from a professional who had an average career.
Reynes time in MLS was an unmitigated disaster with 3 assists in 29 games over 18 months while tying up one of the Red Bulls designated player spots. The signing was a bad move by the New York Red Bulls as Reyna was well past his best when he came to America for one final paycheck. The only reason that the media did not criticize his signing or performance was because he was “Captain America’s.” If he had been from any other country other than the U.S. his signing and performance would have been roundly criticized.
Well the super-hero has retired and a close examination of his career shows that he was simply average.