Dribbling and 1 v. 1 is THE MOST critical skill in soccer because it allows you to create a “numbers up” situation. In principle it’s 11 v 11 so no one would be open. The only time you have open players is when the man with the ball can beat his direct opponent and create the “numbers up situation”. Without ball control the game becomes a running contest. Without ball control you are limited to long ball tactics. You won’t even be able to execute a good counter attack. Best team in the world? Barcelona. Why? They all have ball control and can dribble (as well as pass).
Messi is the most feared player in the known universe because no one can get the ball from him. He controls it as if it is under his spell. Ronaldo, great dribbler. Ronaldinho, great dribbler, Fat Ronaldo, great dribbler, Maradona, great dribbler, Cruyff, great dribbler, George Best, great dribbler, Giggs, great dribbler. Pele, great dribbler. Baggio, Laudrup, Romario, Rivelinho, all great dribblers…