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Saturday, 30 April 2011

Boca Juniors 1981 - No.10 Maradona.


Born in Buenos Aires, Diego Maradona was nurtured at Argentinos Juniors for five years before his dream £1m move to Boca Juniors, the team he supports, in 1981. In his first full season at La Bombanera he was the guiding light that secured Boca the league title, his first piece of silverware.

Maradona's exceptional vision, passing, ball control, dribbling skills, speed, reflexes and thinking time was combined with his small size (he was 5'5") giving him a low center of gravity which allowed him to be more maneuverable than most other football players.
A team mate once remarked "He had complete mastery of the ball. When Maradona ran with the ball or dribbled through the defence, he seemed to have the ball tied to his boots. I remember our early training sessions with him: the rest of the team were so amazed that they just stood and watched him. We all thought ourselves privileged to be witnesses of his genius."

His presence on the pitch would have a great effect on his team's general performance, while he would often be singled out by the opposition who realised that stopping the mercurial Argentine would usually be crucial.

After an impressive 1982 World Cup, Maradona was transferred to Barcelona in Spain for £5m, a then world record fee.

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Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sampdoria.


Unione Calcio Sampdoria is based in Genoa. The club was formed in 1946 from the merger of two existing sports clubs whose roots can be traced back to the 1890s, Sampierdarenese and Andrea Doria.
Sampdoria play at Stadio Luigi Ferraris, which it shares with Genoa's other club, Genoa CFC. The derby between the two teams is commonly known as the Derby della Lanterna.

'I Blucerchiati', the blue-ringed, have won the scudetto only once in their history, in 1991. Their biggest European success came when they won the Cup Winners' Cup a year earlier. They also reached the European Cup final in 1992 only to lose against Barcelona, 1–0 after extra time.

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AS Nancy 1978 - No.10 Platini.


One of AS Nancy-Lorraine's most notable former players is Michel Platini, who began his career at the club in 1972 and played eight seasons with 'the Thistles'. He scored the only goal in the Coupe de France final in 1978, Nancy's only major trophy, and won two French Player of the Year awards.

Platini also established himself as a French international while at the club and went on to achieve numerous team and individual accolades after his departure from Nancy, including a record 3 Ballon d'Ors in a row from 1983.

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Inter Milan 2010.


The 2009-10 season proved to be the most successful in Internazionale Milano's illustrious history. By winning the Scudetto, a fifth on the bounce, the Coppa Italia and the prestigious Champions League in a single season, Inter completed the Treble, becoming the first ever Italian team to achieve the feat.

With a formidable backbone of Lucio, Sneijder and Milito, under the masterful stewardship of Jose Mourinho, they powered their way to glory.
In December 2010, they claimed the FIFA Club World Cup for the first time after a 3–0 win against TP Mazembe in the final, becoming only the fourth team ever to win a Quintuple.


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France 1984 - No.12 Giresse.


Alain Giresse was a member of the 1984 European Championship winning team, and alongside Michel Platini, Luis Fernández and Jean Tigana formed the legendary "Carré Magique", the Magic Square, in midfield.

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Spain 2010.


Number 8 - Xavi Hernandez.
La Furia Roja, the Red Fury, are the current reigning World and European champions, having won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship. In July 2008 Spain rose to the top of the FIFA World Rankings for the first time in the team's history, becoming the sixth nation to top this ranking.

Xavi's abilities on the football pitch have led his teams to numerous titles and placed him among the most decorated footballers of all time. The playmaker has won every major honour available as a player with Spain and FC Barcelona.


Spain's playing style is based on the tiki-taka, quick one touch passing, a style perfected so well at Barcelona. The Blaugrana president once remarked "Tiki-taka is Xavi’s registered trademark. The day he is not here I do not know if we will be able to continue with it.”

He has received five Ballon d'Or nominations, and finished in third place in 2009, 2010 and 2011 (in all these years, his colleague, Lionel Messi was the winner). He won the World Soccer Player of the Year in 2010, especially for his performance with Spain at the 2010 World cup.

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Number 6 - Iniesta.

Recently, the team has become known for using a style of play which involves roaming movement and positional interchange amongst midfielders, moving the ball in intricate patterns, and sharp, one- or two-touch passing; this style of play has been dubbed Tiki-taka, which is also associated with FC Barcelona.


Having been brought through the La Masia academy at Barcelona, Andres Iniesta has represented Spain at all levels. He was an integral part of the victorious Spanish team at the European championships in 2008 and two years later he scored the goal that gave Spain their first ever World title in South Africa.
He was also awarded Man of the Match and was selected in the Fifa team of the tournament.


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Fiorentina 1984.


Fiorentina have won two Italian Championships, in 1956 and again in 1969, as well as winning six Coppa Italia trophies and one Italian Super Cup.
On the European stage Fiorentina won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1961 but Europe's major honour eluded them when they lost the 1957 European Cup final against Real Madrid.



Fiorentina have a strong and bitter rivalry with Juventus, ever since the early 80's when Juve denied the Florence team a Scudetto on the last day of the season with a disputed penalty. They were again beaten in the 1990 Uefa Cup final by the Bianconeri, and to add insult to injury their best player Roberto Baggio was sold to their rival team on the day of the final.

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Juventus 1982.


The Giovanni Trapattoni-era in the early 80's was highly successful. Around this time the club's players were attracting considerable attention; Paolo Rossi was named European Footballer of the Year in 1982 and then Frenchman Michel Platini was also awarded the title for the next three years. Juventus are the only team to have players from their club winning the award in four consecutive years.

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Monday, 11 April 2011

AC Milan 1995 - No.5 Costacurta.


Alessandro Costacurta spent some twenty years at Milan, and playing alongside Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini and Mauro Tassotti, formed one of the meanest defences in Serie A and Europe during the 90's. He was mainly a central defender, but could also play on the right flank if necessary.


Affectionally known to fans as "Billy", he won the Scudetto seven times with Milan, and the European Cup five times in 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003 and 2007. He became the oldest footballer ever to play in the Champions League, against AEK Athens in November 2006, at 40 years and 211 days.

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