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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Lazio 1998 - No.9 Salas.


The man known as El Fenómeno, Marcelo Salas had a truly wonderful left foot and won a staggering amount in the air for a 5ft 8ins striker.

In his time at Lazio and Juventus he won Serie A three times, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, the Coppa Italia, the UEFA Super Cup and the Supercoppa Italiana three times.


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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Napoli - No.10 Maradona.


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Nottingham Forest 1980 - No.7 Francis.


In February 1979, Brian Clough had elected to spend the money that Forest had made from winning the league title in 1978 on a forward from Birmingham City. Trevor Francis became Britain’s first £1 million footballer, famously being introduced to the media by Clough who was in his red gym kit and carrying a squash racquet.

Later that season Forest beat defending champions Liverpool in the first round of the European Cup and advanced to the final. Due to UEFA registration rules the first game that Francis was eligible for was the final itself and, with Martin O'Neill injured and Archie Gemmill not selected by Clough, Francis was picked to play his first ever European club game. Forest took on Swedish side Malmö in the final in Munich, and a major instalment of the huge investment money was repaid with francis scoring the only goal just before half time.

Francis arguably did not achieve his full potential as a Forest player. This may partly be due to Clough frequently playing Francis on the right wing, rather than in his preferred position as a central attacker. He was in the side which lost the League Cup final to Wolves in 1980, but missed the European Cup final against Hamburg due to an Achilles injury. Somehow the success of his Forest career never quite reflected his huge fee. But there was always that night in Munich.

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Friday, 10 October 2014

Juventus 1993 - No.10 Baggio.


In 1990 Roberto Baggio moved from Fiorentina to Juventus for a world record transfer fee, sparking riots in Florence.
He adopted the number ten shirt that Michel Platini had made his own in the eighties and became an instant success for 'I bianconeri'.

Predominantly played as a second forward or as an attacking midfielder, he was a versatile player comfortable attacking on both wings as well which allowed him to play in various positions along and behind the front line throughout his career.

Baggio played some sublime football during his five years at Juve, doing more than anyone to overcome the monopoly Italian football had become under Silvio Berlusconi’s Milan. His touch, finesse and vision were unparalleled. A believer in the Buddhist faith, Roberto Baggio truly was a player blessed from above.

A technical playmaker, or fantasista, he had great dribbling ability and his one on one success with the keeper was legendary, as was his set piece ability.
Baggio is currently the 6th highest goalscorer of all time in Serie A, with 205 goals.
Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, in 1993 he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d'Or.

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AC Milan 1994 - No.7 Donadoni.


Roberto Donadoni started his career with Atalanta in 1982 and transferred to AC Milan in 1986 to became a mainstay in the team for a decade.
A complete winger, known for his pace, stamina, offensive capabilities, distribution, and technique, he was a pillar of a side that became the powerhouse in World football.

Donadoni was a vital part of Milan's squad under both Sacchi and Capello, and his trophy haul was more than impressive, winning six Serie A titles, three European Cups, four Italian Supercups, three European Super Cups, and two Intercontinental Cups.

Donadoni was never a person who stood in the middle of the attention and this could be the reason he isnt more revered.
Nevertheless, Milan would never have been the team it was without his outstanding gameplay. It was a pleasure to watch him feinting and dancing with the ball and making a fool of his adversaries. But he would work as hard tracking back as we would going forward which made his name one of the first on the teamsheet.

He spent two seasons in the USA where he played for the New York Metrostars, but in 1997 with Milan lacking some firepower he was called back by Capello. He stayed another two years wearing the Rossoneri jersey before heading to Saudi Arabia where he played for Al-Ittihad.

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