Sócrates

Era: 1974 - 1989

Nationality: Brazilian

Position: Midfielder

Team(s): Botafogo FC, SC Corinthians, AC Fiorentina, CR Flamengo, Santos FC

Caps: 60 - 22 goals (Brazil)

Trivia: Considered to be one of the greatest midfielders ever to play the game. Easily recognizable for his beard and headband, Sócrates became the “symbol of cool for a whole generation of football supporters”. He earned a doctor’s degree while concurrently playing professional football. There is a persistent myth that he studied medicine in Dublin, Ireland, and that during this time he played reserve football for University College Dublin A.F.C. Sócrates was also noted for being an intellectual, a heavy drinker and a smoker. He died on 4 December 2011 at the age of 57.

Alen Bokšić

Era: 1987 - 2003

Nationality: Croatian

Position: Striker

Team(s): Hajduk Split, AS Cannes, Olympique Marseille, Lazio Roma, Juventus FC, Middlesbrough FC

Caps: 40 - 10 goals (Croatia)

Trivia: Capped 40 times for the Croatia national team, scoring 10 goals. Bokšić played for his country at Euro 96. He missed Croatia’s surprising third place run in the 1998 FIFA World Cup due to injury. This was a devastating blow for the Croatian team as they could not pair him together with Davor Šuker to form arguably the most potent striking force in the tournament. Bokšić finally made his World Cup playing debut in the 2002 World Cup at the age of 32.

Stéphane Henchoz

Era: 1992 - 2008

Nationality: Swiss

Position: Defender

Team(s): Neuchâtel Xamax, Hamburger SV, Blackburn Rovers, Liverpool FC, Celtic FC, Wigan Athletic

Caps: 72 (Switzerland)

Trivia: Proved to be an inspirational signing for Liverpool and was popular with the fans during his five-and-a-half year stay. Henchoz formed an effective central defensive partnership with Sami Hyypiä. This partnership played an important part in Liverpool’s historic cup treble in 2001.

Jean-Marie Pfaff

Era: 1973 - 1990

Nationality: Belgian

Position: Goalkeeper

Team(s): KSK Beveren, Bayern Munich, Lierse SK, Trabzonspor

Caps: 64 (Belgium)

Trivia: Scored an own goal in his first competition game for Bayern Munich, a big one against Werder Bremen. But Pfaff quickly won over supporters, and both Belgian and German journalists, with his goalkeeping abilities and interviews in which he often spoke a memorable mix of dutch and ‘german’.

Jay-Jay Okocha

Era: 1985 - 2007

Nationality: Nigerian

Position: Midfielder

Team(s): Borussia Neunkirchen, Eintracht Frankfurt, Fenerbahçe SK, Paris Saint-Germain, Bolton Wanderers FC, Qatar SC, Hull City

Caps: 73 - 14 goals (Nigeria)

Trivia: Joined Turkish club Fenerbahçe following Eintracht Frankfurt’s relegation to Bundesliga 2 in 1996. Okocha amassed thirty goals in sixty appearances, many of them coming from direct freekicks which had become something of a trademark for him at the club. During his time in Istanbul he became a dual Turkish-Nigerian citizen, having acquired Turkish citizenship as “Muhammet Yavuz”.

Hossam Hassan

Era: 1985 - 2007

Nationality: Egyptian

Position: Striker

Team(s): Al-Ahly, PAOK Thessaloniki, Neuchâtel Xamax, Al Ain, Zamalek SC, Al-Masry Club, Tersana SC, Al-Ittihad Alexandria

Caps: 169 - 69 goals (Egypt)

Trivia: A prolific goalscorer, Hassan amassed well over 150 caps for Egypt, netting more than 50 times. His twin brother, Ibrahim, also played professional football, and they shared teams for most of their extensive careers.

RUUD KROL


Era: 1968 - 1986

Nationality: Dutch

Position: Defender

Team(s): Ajax Amsterdam, Vancouver Whitecaps, SSC Napoli, AS Cannes

Caps: 83 - 4 goals (Holland)

Trivia: One of only four players to score both a goal and an own goal in the World Cup; the others being Ernie Brandts (another Dutch player), Mexico’s Gustavo Peña and Serbia’s Siniša Mihajlović.

Noureddine Naybet

Era: 1989 - 2006

Nationality: Moroccan

Position: Defender

Team(s): Wydad Casablanca, FC Nantes, Sporting CP, Deportivo La Coruña, Tottenham Hotspur

Caps: 115 - 4 goals (Morocco)

Trivia: Agreed to a dream move to Treble winning Manchester United in August 1999. However, the Red Devils were worried about his injured knee and United subsequently signed Mikaël Silvestre instead. Naybet did eventually make a move to the English Premiership with Tottenham Hotspur in August 2004, aged 34.

Miklos Molnar

Era: 1987 - 2000

Nationality: Danish

Position: Striker

Team(s): Hvidovre IF, BK Frem, Standard Liège, Servette FC, AS Saint-Etienne, Lyngby BK, FSV Frankfurt, Herfølge BK, Sevilla FC, Kansas City Wizards

Caps: 18 - 2 goals (Denmark)

Trivia: Top goalscorer of the 1989 and 1997 Danish championships, and won the 2000 MLS Cup with American team Kansas City Wizards.

Germán Burgos

Era: 1989 - 2004

Nationality: Argentinian

Position: Goalkeeper

Team(s): Ferro Carril Oeste, River Plate, RCD Mallorca, Atlético Madrid

Caps: 35 (Argentina)

Trivia: Earning himself the nickname Mono (Monkey) because of his sometimes extravagant appearance and rock and roll attitude both on and off the pitch. During the early years of his footballing career in Argentina, Burgos was already active in the world of rock and roll with his band ‘Simpatía’. In 2002 they made some changes in their line-up and changed their name to ‘The Garb’.

Ronnie Wallwork

Era: 1995 - 2008

Nationality: English

Position: Defender/Defensive Midfielder

Team(s): Manchester United, Carlisle United, Stockport County, Royal Antwerp FC, West Bromwich Albion, Bradford City, Barnsley FC, Huddersfield Town, Sheffield Wednesday

Caps: -

Trivia: Moved to West Brom in 2002, where he was the voted Player of the Year for 2004-05. Wallwork was not always a regular in the side however, and spent time on loan at Bradford City, Barnsley and Huddersfield Town. His spell at Barnsley was cut short when he was stabbed in a nightclub, causing him to miss more than two months of the 2006–07 season. Wallwork was transferred to Sheffield Wednesday in January 2008, but was released just four months later and has since been without a club. Almost 3 years later, in December 2011, he was sentenced to 15 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to three counts of receiving stolen goods and handling in stolen cars.

VLADIMIR BESCHASTNYKH

Era: 1991 - 2008

Nationality: Russian

Position: Striker/Midfielder

Team(s): Zvezda Moscow, Spartak Moscow, Werder Bremen, Racing Santander, Fenerbahçe, FC Kuban Krasnodar, Dinamo Moscow, FC Rusichi Oryol, FC Khimki, FC Volga Tver, FC Astana-64

Caps: 71 - 26 goals (Russia)

Trivia: The all-time goal leader for the Russian national team (anno 2012) with 26 goals in 71 appearances. Beschastnykh has an identical twin, Mikhail, who also played football professionally, even though he was nowhere near as successful in his career as Vladimir was.

CARLOS HERMOSILLO

Era: 1983 - 2001

Nationality: Mexican

Position: Striker

Team(s): Club América, Standard Liège, CF Monterrey, Cruz Azul, Club Necaxa, LA Galaxy, Atlante FC, Chivas Guadalajara

Caps: 90 - 35 goals (Mexico)

Trivia: Gained respect in and out of Mexico for being one of the top all-time goalscorers for the Mexican national team. After his career Hermosillo was named the head of the National Commission for Sports in Mexico. After various scandals however, President Felipe Calderón requested him to resign at his post after only 2 years in office. Hermosillo became the first National Sports Minister to be fired by the President in Mexico.

FINIDI GEORGE

Era: 1989 - 2004

Nationality: Nigerian

Position: Midfielder

Team(s): Calabar Rovers, Iwuanyanwu Nationale, Sharks FC, Ajax Amsterdam, Real Betis, RCD Mallorca, Ipswich Town

Caps: 62 - 6 goals (Nigeria)

Trivia: A leading figure for the Ajax team which won eight major titles, including the 1994–95 UEFA Champions League. George also represented Nigeria in two FIFA World Cups, 1994 and 1998. He scored against Greece in a 2–0 win at the 1994 World Cup, famously proceeding to mimick a urinating dog whilst celebrating.

MARK FISH

Era: 1991 - 2009

Nationality: South African

Position: Defender

Team(s): Jomo Cosmos, Orlando Pirates, Lazio Roma, Bolton Wanderers, Charlton Athletic, Ipswich Town

Caps: 62 - 2 goals (South Africa)

Trivia: Gained a cult status among Bolton supporters, backed up by his nickname ‘Feesh’ and an eyecatching blue hat in the shape of a fish that was made available in the club shop.