Friday, February 19, 2010
GREATEST PLAYERS NEVER TO PLAY
IN A FIFA WORLD CUP
ALFREDO DI STEFANO
“SAETA RUBIA (THE BLONDE ARROW)”
Full Name: Alfredo Di Stefano Laulhe
Date of Birth: 4 July 1926
Alfredo Di Dtefano was one of the greatest footballers the game of football has ever produced. Di Stefano’s most successful era was with Real Madrid in the late 50’s where he won the first 5 consecutive European Cups with the club. Along with Ferenc Puskas, Francisco Gento, Jose Santamaria & Raymond Kapo, Di Stefano was part of the greatest teams of all time at Real Madrid. The 7-3 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in the 1960 final was one of the greatest displays of football ever a game in which Di Stefano scored 4 times. Up until recently he held the Record for most European Goals of all time with 49 goals in just 58 matches as well as holding the record for most League goals scored for Real Madrid 216 in 282 League matches, both of which are now held by Raul. Di Stefano was also named European player of the year twice in 1957 & 1959.
Although his playing position was that of a centre forward Di Stefano was a very versatile and perhaps the most complete footballer of all time. He could play in almost any outfield position and his playing style defined that as he would collect the ball from his own goal area when initiating attacks.
Pele said about Di Stefano “People talk about the best being Pele or Maradona, but for me the best player ever was Alfredo Di Stefano.”
Sir Bobby Charlton said “Pele was Magnificent, but the greatest player I ever saw was Alfredo Di Stefano. He was the brainiest player I ever saw. And I always saw him in his 30’s . He must have really been something at 19.
Maradona has said the following about Di Stefano “I don’t know if I was a better player than Pele, but I can say without any doubt that Di Stefano was better than Pele. I am proud when one speaks of Di Stefano. I can say that Maradona could be worse than Pele, but I emphasize that Di Stefano was better.”
How he missed out.
Alfredo Di Stefano at the age of 24 missed out at the 1950 World Cup as Argentina refused to play at the tournament because they were not the hosts.
In 1954 Di Stefano was ineligible to play as he had played for both Colombia & Argentina however both were not present at the tournament.
In 1956 he became a Spanish International but Spain failed to qualify for the 1958 World Cup tournament.
In 1962 Di Stefano finally managed to help Spain qualify for the 1962 tournament in Chile and was part of the Spanish squad along with the likes of Ferenc Puskas, Francisco Gento & Jose Santamaria, however he got injured before the tournament and never featured.
Alfredo Di Stefano, The greatest player never to play at the FIFA World Cup.
George Best undoubtedly made his name in football with Manchester United. At the Age of 15 he was first discovered by MUFC scout Bob Bishop who told manager Matt Busby “I think I’ve found you a Genius”.
The brilliant and legendary right winger, Best possessed pace and acceleration as well as dribbling skills to beat any defender in the game, the ability to use both feet and the ability to score goals regularly.
George Best was a Manchester United Legend whose defining season came in 1968 when he helped Man United to win the European Cup. Best scored in the final when United beat Benfica 4-1. He also went on to win the European Player of the Year Award that year in 1968. Best also won the English League Title with Man United in 1965 & 1967.
George Best was a brilliant footballer with dazzling skills. However his extravagant lifestyle also made him a celebrity. In fact when Best scored twice against Benfica in the European Cup quarterfinal in 1966, the Portuguese media dubbed him “El Beatle” and was also known as “the fifth Beatle”. GQ magazine also named best as one of the 50 most stylish men of the past 50 years. However it was the fame and celebrity status that ultimately led to George Best’s football career fading away before time and him turning towards alcohol. This ultimately led to his death at the age of 59 in 2005.
George Best represented Northern Ireland at international level. He represented Northern Ireland 37 times but could not lead them to the FIFA World Cup and thus never featured at Football’s Greatest Stage. Best was considered for selection at the age of 36 for the 1982 World Cup which Northern Ireland qualified for but due to his drinking and lack of football playing time coach Billy Bingham decided against it.
In Northern Ireland George Best was an icon and the people created the following saying about the football superstar
“Maradona Good, Pele Better, George Best”
Full Name: George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah
Date of Birth: 1 October 1966
George Weah was arguably the Greatest African footballer of all time. Weah’s greatest success came with his club football career with notably AC Milan. He played for AC Milan from 1995-2000 where he won 2 Italian Serie A League Titles. In 1995 George Weah had undoubtedly his greatest season ever with Milan where he was top scorer in the Champions League, where Milan were finalists, as well as won World Footballer of the Year, European Footballer of the Year and African footballer of the Year. His award as FIFA World Player of the year in 1995 makes George Weah the only FIFA World Player of the year to have never qualified for or played at a FIFA World Cup.
George Weah moved to Europe in 1988 to play for Monaco where his talent was spotted by then coach of Monaco, Arsene Wenger.
As an African footballer Weah won the Best African Player of the year award 3 times as well as The African Player of the Century Award.
Weah was however unable to lead his nation Liberia to the World Cup as both a player or later as a coach. In total he played 60 times and scored 22 goals. Africa’s greatest player never featured at the World Cup.
“THE AFRICAN MARADONA”
Full Name: Abedi Ayew
Date of Birth: 5 November 1964
Abedi Pele like George Weah was very dominant at club level in the 90’s. Abedi was most successful with Olympique Marseille where he won 4 French league titles as well as a very famous European Cup by beating the mighty Milan in the finals. Abedi Pele won African footballer of the year 3 times in a row, 1991, 1992 & 1993. He was part of Marseille’s Magical Trio along with Jean Pierre Papin & Chris Waddle and was the only 1 remaining when Marseille won the European Cup in 1993. He later played for Torino in Italy where he won the Best Foreign Player in Serie A in 1996.
For Ghana Abedi Pele was most successful at the 1982 African Cup of Nations Tournament where he was part of the team that won that tournament. 10 years later Abedi Pele won the Golden Ball Award for best player of the 1992 AFCON where Ghana lost to Ivory Coast on penalties in the final as Abedi was suspended for picking a 2nd yellow card in the semi-finals. In this tournament he scored 3 spectacular goals, a solo run from his own half against Congo which is compared to Maradona’s 2nd goal against England in the 86 World Cup as well as back header from the edge of the penalty area in the semi-final against Nigeria. In 1996 Abedi at the twilight of his career led Ghana to the semi-finals of the 1996 AFCON tournament scoring 3 times.
Abedi Pele played 73 times for Ghana scoring 33 times as well as holds the record for most appearances ever at the African Cup of Nations. Unfortunately during his footballing career Ghana never qualified for the FIFA World Cup and so Abedi Pele missed out.
Full Name: Eric Daniel Pierre Cantona
Date of Birth: 24 May 1966
Eric Cantona’s greatest success as a footballer was with Manchester United. His early career in France in the late 80’s was filled with disciplinary problems and issues which resulted in numerous suspensions and ultimately led to Cantona himself retiring from football, completely in 1991. However due to the influence of coaches Michel Platini and Gerard Houllier Cantona’s career as a footballer was revived back in England in 1992 with Leeds United whom he joined half way through the season and was instrumental in Leeds winning the English Title that season. The following year Cantona was signed on by Manchester United coach Alex Ferguson where he was instrumental in Manchester United winning the title in the 92-93 season, their first title since 1967. Cantona became the first and only player ever to win back to back English League Titles with 2 different clubs. Cantona’s career with Manchester United resulted in the club winning the title the following year as well as well as 2 further League titles in 1996 & 1997. Cantona is often credited with bringing Manchester United back to the top of the English Game. However his stint with the club, though filled with major success, was not without controversy, most notably his Kung-Fu kick on a spectator after being Sent Off against Crystal Palace.
Cantona was then banned for the rest of the season, which was the only season of Cantona’s stint with Manchester United that they did not win a trophy. In total Cantona scored 80 times for Manchester United and was instrumental in their success in the 1990’s in English football. He retired from football after the 1997 season with Manchester United at the age of 30. Cantona was named Overseas player of the Decade in the FA Premier League.
Eric Cantona never featured at the FIFA World Cup due to various reasons. In 1987 he made his debut for the French Team but after being dropped by coach Henri Michel he publicly referred to him as a “Bag of Shit” and was banned from all International Games for the French Team. After Michel was sacked for failing to make the 1990 World Cup coach Platini who liked Cantona, said he would just Cantona for the national team as long as he was playing competitive football and was instrumental in Cantona’s move to Leeds. However Platini resigned as coach after France failed to win a game at the 1992 Euro Champs even with Cantona and Papin being the front line partnership.
Under Coach Houllier Cantona and France failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup. New Coach Aime Jacquet made Cantona captain but after his infamous Kung-Fu Kick in 1995 he was suspended from international football as well. With the likes of the highly talented Zidane now pulling the strings for France Cantona was no longer instrumental in the national team plans and retired from all football in 1997 and thus never featured at the FIFA World Cup.
Full Name: Ryan Joseph Giggs
Date of Birth: 29 November 1973
Ryan Giggs was and still is a Manchester United Legend. The highly talented and skillfull left winger holds a number of records for both the Club Manchester United as well as in the FA Premier League. Since his debut in 1991 with Manchester United, Ryan Giggs has won 11 League Title, which is an English record for a player as well as 2 Champions League titles with the club. Giggs also hold the record for the only to have played and scored in all 16 seasons of the Premier League since it’s start in 1993. He also won a FIFA World Club Cup in 2008. Giggs also holds the record for the most appearances for Manchester United and was also the first player to score in 11 consecutive UEFA Champions League seasons. In 2005 Ryan gigs was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame.
At International Level for Wales Giggs played a total of 64 games scoring 21 times but was unable to lead his team to a single World Cup tournament from 1991 up to his international retirement in 2007.
Full Name: Bernhard Schuster
Date of Birth: 22 December 1959
Berns Schuster was a classy midfielder who was instrumental in West Germany winning the European National Championships in 1980 and finished 2nd to team-mate Karl Heinz Rummenigge that year as European Footballer of the Year, However due to constant disagreements between himself and the German National Team, Schuster strangely retired from international football at the Age of 24. He cited his reasons for retirement due to disagreements with the National team as well as players such as Paul Breitner. His club Barcelona were also at loggerheads with the German National Team with regards to the playing of friendlies. Schuster’s refusal to play for Germany in a friendly against Albania in order to be home for the birth of his son caused a major sporting scandal. In all Schuster played 22 times for Germany and having retired at the Age of 24 never featured at the FIFA World Cup.
Meanwhile we have been out and about JHB and the 2010 atmospher is bulding.I cant wait