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Saturday, 29 November 2014

Holland 1998 - No.8 Bergkamp.

Away.


Dennis Bergkamp once said "Behind every kick of the ball there has to be a thought". Its a simple football philosophy and would help mark him out for legendary status for club and country.
A true giant of the game, he is respected and admired by football fans everywhere, whatever their allegiance.
One of the Premierships first genuine superstars, Bergkamp will be remembered as one of the most influential figures in its history.


As a youngster, Bergkamp learned from the Dutch master Johan Cruyff at Ajax, and it was apparent. He has been described by writer Jan Mulder as having "the finest technique" of any Dutch international and a "dream for a striker" by teammate Thierry Henry.
With the Netherlands, Bergkamp surpassed Faas Wilkes's record to become the country's top goalscorer of all time in 1998, a record later eclipsed by Patrick Kluivert and Robin van Persie.


Bergkamp's imagination was his gift and his curse. It elevated him above his peers, but it is also meant he was in danger of driving himself round the bend aiming for something that he could not explain and which might not even exist.
The perfectionist's perfectionist summed it up with "There's a tremendous pleasure in doing something that someone else couldn't see."


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The non-flying Dutchman scored three times in the 1998 World Cup.
These included a memorable winning goal in the final minute of the quarterfinal against Argentina. He took one touch to control a long 60-yard aerial pass from Frank de Boer, brought the ball down through Argentine defender Roberto Ayala's legs, and finally finished by firing a volley with the outside of his right foot, past the keeper at a tight angle from the right. The goal, cited by Bergkamp as his favourite ever.

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Friday, 28 November 2014

Bordeaux 1985 - No.10 Giresse.


Diminutive he may have been, but as a player Alain Giresse towered at the heart of the France and Bordeaux sides in the 1970s and 1980s, writing his name into legend as one of his country's finest ever midfielders.
French footballer of the year in 1982, 1983 and 1987 Giresse, was certainly the 'little magician'. A central attacking midfielder, Giresse was an intelligent playmaker who possessed fine technique, agility and acceleration due to his short frame.

In 1984 he helped steer Bordeaux to their first French title since 1950. "We felt so strong that, when we went onto the pitch, we knew practically every time that we were going to win," explained Giresse, whose expert lob also helped Bordeaux down Marseille in the 1986 Coupe de France final. It was another moment of magic from the captain, whose influence on the club was exceptional during his 18 years in navy blue.

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Boca Juniors.


Boca Juniors is traditionally regarded as the club of Argentina's working class, in contrast with the supposedly more upper-class base of cross-town arch rival Club Atlético River Plate.
Boca claims to be the club of "half plus one" (la mitad más uno) of Argentina's population, but a 2006 survey placed its following at 40%, still the largest share in the country.

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Thursday, 27 November 2014

Kaiserslautern 1977.

Away. No.2 - Briegel.


One of the most popular German players of his generation, Hans-Peter Briegel was known primarily for his physical abilities, and his original sport was athletics, but he went on to play 72 times for West Germany. 

With his socks pulled down, he usually played as a left back and was affectionally known as the 'Panzer' for his combative nature.
He would go on to win a Serie A title with Verona and German Footballer of the year in 1985.

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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Parma 1999 - No.17 Cannavaro.

Away.


Fabio Cannavaro is regarded by pundits as being one of the greatest and most complete defenders of his generation, winning the World Cup, the Ballon d'Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year Award in his career. He was at one point the record appearance holder for the Azzurri until his friend Gianluigi Buffon overtook him.

Cannavaro was sold to Parma in the summer of 1995 from Napoli and was instantly a fan favourite. With Buffon and Lilian Thuram, they formed one of the tightest defensive units in Europe and won the 1999 Uefa Cup and Coppa Italia double.
Although he predominantly excelled as a centreback, he was also deployed as a right or left sided fullback on occasion. This was made possible due to Cannavaro's tactical versatility, technical ability, ball playing ability and pace.
After over 250 games for Parma he joined Inter Milan in 2002 for €23m.

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Bordeaux 1994 - No.17 Zidane.


Zinedine Zidane was transferred to Girondins de Bordeaux from Cannes in 1992. Although his four years at the Stade Chaban-Delmas were largely unsuccessful - runner-up against Bayern Munich in the 1996 UEFA Cup being the highlight - he did attract much attention from other European clubs. In 1995, Blackburn Rovers manager Kenny Dalglish had expressed interest, to which team owner Jack Walker famously replied, "Why do you want to sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?"

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Friday, 14 November 2014

Nottingham Forest 1980 - No.11 Robertson.


In 1979 Forest won the European Cup by beating Malmö 1–0 in Munich's Olympiastadion, only two years after promotion to the top division in England.
Remarkably they retained the trophy in 1980, beating Hamburg 1–0 in Madrid, thanks to a strike from John Robertson and an outstanding performance by goalkeeper Peter Shilton.

Beside Shilton, key players of that era included right-back Viv Anderson (the first black player to play for the England national team), midfielder Martin O'Neill, striker Trevor Francis and a trio of Scottish internationals: winger Robertson, midfielder Archie Gemmill and defender Kenny Burns.

John Robertson was the main attacking architect. In his autobiography Clough noted that "Rarely could there have been a more unlikely looking professional athlete... scruffy, unfit, uninterested waste of time...but something told me he was worth persevering with." but that "[He] became one of the finest deliverers of a football I have ever seen – in Britain or anywhere else in the world – as fine as the Brazilians or the supremely gifted Italians."

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Monday, 3 November 2014

West Germany 1990 - No.10 Matthäus.


Though highly successful in club football, it was his appearances for the national team that made Lothar Matthäus famous. The most capped German player of all time, he retired with a total of 150 appearances spanning 20 years, from 1980, and scored 23 goals.
Matthäus was voted FIFA World Player of the Year in 1990 and 1991, and in 1990 he was also named European Player of the Year, acknowledgement of his outstanding performances for club and country.


The West Germany victory in the 1990 World Cup marked without doubt the pinnacle of the defensive midfield player’s career. The German captain scored five goals and was voted player of the tournament.
He holds the appearance record for an outfield player at World Cup finals after playing in five tournaments.

A versatile and complete player, Matthäus was renowned for his perceptive passing, positional sense, well-timed tackling, as well as powerful shooting. During his career, he usually played as a box-to-box midfielder, although late in his career he played as a sweeper. His excellent shooting skills also made him very dangerous in front of goal. He hit the target 23 times in internationals.

The German was admired for his strong will, forthright opinions and readiness to lead a team. “I admire Platini. I admire Maradona. But to win, I need Matthäus.” commented Giovanni Trapattoni, Italy’s most successful coach, with whom Matthäus worked with on a number of occasions.
In his autobiography Diego Maradona said of Matthäus, "he is the best rival I've ever had. I guess that's enough to define him".

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