It takes a special performance to earn a rare 10/10 rating from L’Equipe.
And we mean rare.
The French media outlet had, until last night, only ever given 11 perfect ratings in their history.
The ratings cover all French league and cup games, European fixtures, and international tournaments.
Serge Gnabry’s individual excellence in Bayern Munich’s spectacular thumping of Spurs was enough to add him to the illustrious list of names.
1 & 2 The exuberance of youth
We’re not saying L’Equipe wasted their first two ‘perfect’ ratings, but they did come in an Under-21 game.
Yes, it was the final of the Under-21 European Championships, but still.
Goalkeeper Bruno Martini and midfield general Franck Sauzee were heralded for their roles in helping France’s youngsters beat their Greek counterparts in 1988.
We can’t comment as we’ve never even seen a highlight of the game and if you say you have, you’re lying.
3 Five stars on the big stage
Oleg Salenko is the only man in history to have won the World Cup Golden Boot in the same year his country were eliminated at the group stage.
This historical quirk is because of a freakish performance against Cameroon in which he scored five goals in a 6-1 win for Russia in 1994.
Salenko’s predatory finishing gave L’Equipe no choice really — five goals in a World Cup game is something special.
The Russian’s rout remains the only solo performance in a World Cup to be awarded full marks by France’s most prominent paper.
That’s right, not even Zizou vs Brazil in 2006 was given 10/10…
4 A great Dane
The name Lars Windfeld will be unfamiliar to most.
But Nantes fans of a certain age will remember the Danish keeper’s inspired effort in a Europa League round of 32 second leg fixture in 1997.
The French side knocked on the door for 90 minutes but Windfeld turned them away time and time again.
Two miracle saves helped unfancied Aarhaus knock out Nantes and persuaded L’Equipe to produce just their second 10/10 rating in senior football.
5 The chosen one
Windfeld’s brick wall impersonation was to be the last 10/10 for 13 years.
Many mocked L’Equipe’s harsh standards and questioned whether they would give a 10 ever again.
Then Lionel Messi happened.
Barcelona’s extraterrestrial dismantled Arsenal at the Nou Camp in 2010 with four goals of startling quality.
Messi’s exhibition of finishing propelled Barca to the Champions League semi-finals and reaffirmed his status as the world’s best player.
L’Equipe were waiting for something remarkable — this was it.
6 A suitable sequel
Messi is the only player to have been awarded two 10/10 ratings from L’Equipe.
In 2012, he became the first player to score five goals in a Champions League game when poor Bayer Leverkusen eroded to his immense talent.
A series of almost contemptuous finishes reinforced the theory that Messi plays a different game to rest, even Champions League players.
7 Predator takes down sizeable prey
Robert Lewandowski enjoyed a breakout season in 2011/12 but it wasn’t until the following year he made those outside of Germany aware of his pedigree.
The giant Pole’s goals inspired Borussia Dortmund to the 2013 Champions League final with the highlight coming in the semis against Real Madrid.
Lewandowski combined strength, skill and razor-sharp instincts to put four past Los Blancos as Dortmund put one foot in the final.
L’Equipe recognised the emergence of a world-class No9 and gave appropriate credit.
8 Samba style
With the blueprint having seen set (score four or more in one game) Carlos Eduardo followed the formula for a 10/10 in 2014.
The Brazilian midfielder was on loan at Nice from Porto and seized on Guingamp’s slack defending to score five goals as part of a 7-2 win in Ligue 1.
The first, a pinpoint free-kick of Juninho quality, gave him a superhuman confidence that facilitated a masterclass.
Eduardo’s five-goal delight was the first Ligue 1 performance to earn the fabled 10/10.
9 £200million well spent
It’s normal for PSG to outclass some of Ligue 1’s smaller clubs but it’s rare to see one player so obviously superior in one of Europe’s top five leagues.
In 2018, Neymar treated Dijon defenders like toddlers as he glided about the Parc des Princes with the ball stapled to his toes.
The Brazilian superstar scored four goals and provided two assists as the Parisian giants swaggered to a record-breaking 8-0 home win.
Incredibly, Neymar was subjected to boos from some PSG fans during this skilful exhibition.
He denied Edinson Cavani the chance to become the club’s all-time top scorer when he refused to hand over penalty duties to the Uruguayan.
L’Equipe didn’t punish him for what many thought was an act of selfishness and awarded him their ninth ever 10/10.
10 A godly performance from a former Saint
We will never know whether Sergio Ramos would have allowed Dusan Tadic to turn the Bernabeu into a playground, but frankly, it doesn’t matter.
The Champions League is Real Madrid’s tournament and the hosts were favourites to eliminate ‘plucky’ Ajax.
But the famous Dutch side produced a memorable performance to thrash Real and Tadic was the standout player in a team containing four or five colossal efforts.
11 The ultimate cameo treble
This was the latest goal in Champions League history that changed the course of a club from elimination to qualification.
One of the greatest comeback’s the competition has ever seen, inspired by little Moura who – like his manager – was utterly inconsolable in the aftermath.
Lucas popped up with three delightful left-footed finishes in a whirlwind 45 minutes to book an all-English final against Liverpool.
If scoring a hat-trick in those kind of circumstances doesn’t merit a 10/10, then we’re not sure what does.
12 Power Serge
We imagine that Serge Aurier will be having nightmares about his namesake for some time.
Gnabry stunned the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium into silence with a four-goal haul that had ramifications on both sides of north London.
Robert Lewandowski tried nobly to match the heroics of his teammate but couldn’t compete with the German’s deadly accuracy in front of goal.
Four goals at the home of last season’s Champions League finalists was a statement that L’Equipe duly rewarded with a perfect 10.