The Other Greats

I’ve been fortunate enough to see many footballers ply their trade. So many that I’ve forgotten names and faces that perhaps I shouldn’t have. My memory isn’t completely useless though. I’ve pulled some names from the bank and formed a very good squad. Some players you may have heard of and even seen play. Others might require a visit to their old clubs’ or national federations’ websites.

I’ve chosen a traditional 4-4-2 formation to be managed by Jean Tigana. In most cases, they are not household names. Some might have even been forgotten.

GK
Hubert Birkenmeier (Germany):
Even though he played for Cosmos (a club I despised) I always felt that he was a fantastic keeper. Good command of his area, sure hands, and an excellent shot stopper.

Claudio Taffarel (Brazil):
He won a FIFA World Cup winner’s medal and proved that Brazil can produce good goalkeepers.

RB
Leandro (Brazil):
A raiding right back and good defender. He was part of the 1982 Brazil World Cup team but controversially fell out with management and didn’t play in the 1986 team.

Manuel Amoros (France):
Ex captain of France, he was a strong, tenacious marker who didn’t have Leandro’s flair, but could be just as dangerous on the overlap. Tough as nails!

LB
Sylvinho (Brazil):
He played only 55 games for Arsenal but left a good impression on me. Good enough to play in midfield yet a determined and sound defender.

Branco (Brazil):
Another FIFA World Cup winner – solid defender with a powerful left foot.

CB
Pietro Wierchowod (Italy):
Old fashion no nonsense defender. Powerfully built, tactically sound, reliable – all the good things a central defender should be.

Ricardo Ferri (Italy):
Much like Wierchowod and partner of the great Franco Baresi at Italia ’90 – they were AWESOME together. Ricardo Ferri was very under-rated.

Agostino Di Bartolomei (Italy):
A classy defender with a powerful shot. One of my favorite players. He captained Roma in their European Cup Final defeat to Liverpool in 1984.

MF
Toninho Cerezo (Brazil):
Another member of Brazil’s 1982 FIFA World Cup team, he was a reliable holding midfielder who won a scudetto with Sampdoria in Italy before later managing in Japan.

Jimmy Hartwig (Germany):
I’m a bit partial to Jimmy. I watched many Hamburg matches when I was growing up. A no frills hard man who did the simple but essential things that successful teams must do.

Manfred “Manny” Burgsmuller (Germany):
When Borussia Dortmund played, I always watched because of Manny Burgsmuller. A high energy, skillfull midfielder. I loved this guy. What a player! As foil or play maker, he graced the middle of the park with German industry but with no shortage of flair.

Enzo Scifo (Belgium):
Another player from my favorites list. A true no. 10 with the guile, vision, and flair.

Johnny Van ‘t Schip (Holland):
Not an out an out winger but versatile enough to play on the right side of my midfield. A key member of the 1992 UEFA Cup winners Ajax. Excellent technique.

Paulo Isidoro (Brazil):
An efficient and versatile winger who also played on the 1982 Brazil team. He was a key member of the Gremio side that won the Brazilian championship in 1981. Voted the best player in the country in fact.

Eder (Brazil):
A powerful winger (also from that 1982 team). Scorer of some fantastic long range goals. I remember a friendly played vs. England in the old Wembley Stadium. He didn’t score but the man shot from near the 90˚ angle where subs cross the touchline to enter matches. It was not only on target but the ball never rose higher than the height of the crossbar on its way to the England goal.

STRIKER
Francois Omam-Biyik (Cameroun):
He won EVERYTHING in the air and was also quite good on the deck. But for immaturity and lack of tactical discipline, Omam-Biyik’s Cameroun would have gone further than the ¼ finals.

Ramon Angel Diaz (Argentina):
It is said that Diego Maradona demanded that Diaz not be picked for the national team because he felt that Diaz stole the spotlight. I don’t know how true that is but Ramon Diaz was a fantastic player.

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