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Saturday, 31 January 2015

Lazio 2000 - No.9 Salas.


Marcelo Salas never played more than 100 games for a any single club and only played in Italy for five years, but for Lazio, in the years 1998–2001, he was a key catalyst in helping turn around a team that hadn't won a Scudetto since 1974.

Lazio's second title success came in chaotic circumstances in the 1999-2000 season as a team bankrolled by Cirio magnate Sergio Cragnotti, coached by Sven-Goran Eriksson and inspired by the likes of Salas, Veron, Nesta, Simeone and Nedved snatched glory away from Juventus on the final day of the campaign, with the Turin side all but needing to beat lowly Perugia.

With the 'Biancocelesti' Salas also won an Italian cup, a Cup Winners' Cup and a European Super Cup, scoring the match's only goal in the latter, in a 1-0 win over Manchester United.
In 2001 he was transferred to Juventus where Salas would endure the worst moments of his career; he was hampered by injuries, allowing him to participate in only 14 games and scoring just 2 goals in two seasons and was eventually loaned to River Plate.


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Thursday, 22 January 2015

Napoli 1987 - No.10 Maradona.


Napoli broke the world transfer record, turning to Diego Maradona with a €12 million deal from Barcelona in June 1984. The squad was gradually re-built and by 1986, they had a third place finish under their belts, but better was yet to come.

Maradona was a symbol of not just the football team but of Naples as a whole during his time there - the Neapolitans treated him like a son and his was a character that fit perfectly into the mentality of the port city he had become a resident of, a city similar to his own Buenos Aires.

He finally put Napoli on the football map as the mercurial Argentine produced football the world had never seen before.
The 1986–87 season was the landmark in Napoli's history; they won the double, securing their first Serie A title by three points and then beating Atalanta 4–0 to lift the Coppa Italia.

Maradona’s legend is enhanced by the popular refrain that he won either the Serie A or the World Cup by himself, but this is not fair to his teammates of either team. However, Diego was the star, the captain, the main goal-scorer and creator, and chief motivator for club and country. The supporting cast at Napoli was good enough to create the nickname 'MaGiCa' – composed of Diego himself, Bruno Giordano and Brazilian striker Antonio Careca.
Although it is the legend of 'El Pibe de Oro' that will surely endure the test of time.


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Away.

Because a mainland Southern Italian team had never won the league before, this turned Diego Maradona into a cultural, social and borderline religious icon for Neapolitans, which stretched beyond the realms of just football.
Its fair to say that when you think about the best football player ever, you visualize him playing in the light blue shirt of the Partenopei.


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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

AC Milan 1989 - No.9 van Basten.


A global poll of experts conducted by World Soccer magazine recently voted the 1989 Milan team as the best club side ever, and the European cup final of that year was a stroll for the Rossoneri.
The Italians, as used to be their tradition in finals, played the game without a shirt sponsor, and two goals apiece for Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit without reply was more than enough to see off the Romanians Steaua Bucharest.



As good as that Milan side was it was van Basten's legend that truly endured, fans believing they will never see his like again and it was lamented that football had “lost its Leonardo da Vinci” the day van Basten retired due to injury.
Fabio Capello remarked "Marco was the greatest striker I ever coached. His early retirement was a mortal misfortune for him, for football, and for Milan"


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Monday, 19 January 2015

Barcelona 1992 - No.4 Guardiola.


Josep 'Pep' Guardiola played 479 games for the club he joined as a thirteen yr old. He won 16 trophies in 12 seasons and was part of Johan Cruyff's dream team that won Barcelona's first European Cup, beating Sampdoria at Wembley in 1992.

A defensive midfielder, Guardiola became a first team regular in the 1991–92 season and at only 20 years old the prestigious Italian magazine Guerin Sportivo heralded him as the finest player in the world under the age of 21. As the pivot around which everything ticked, he would become the boyhood hero of Barca's next midfield prodigy, Xavi.

"Why don't I give orders to my players during matches? Guardiola is closer to them and does it better than I do" Cruyff was once quoted as saying. He has since become manager in his own right at the Catalan giants and in 2010 guided them to an unprecedented 'sextuplet', including la Liga, Champions league and World club titles.


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Saturday, 3 January 2015

Stuttgart 1988 - No.9 Klinsmann.


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Inter Milan 2009 - No.22 Milito.


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