Archive for the ‘Blast from the Past’ Category

Blast From The Past – Sinisa Mihajlovic

21/07/2009

Ex Yugoslavian/Serbian left back Sinisa Mihajlovic this time round. He spent most of his career in Italy and probably only really came to prominence in the Lazio side that won Serie A and the Coppa Italia in 1999-00.

Having said that he did also win a European Cup with Red Star Belgrade in 1991 (he scored one of the penalties in the shootout) which was probably a greater achievement. He was a little bit racist truth be told but he sure did take a mean free kick…

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T.

Blast From The Past – Zvonimir Boban

06/07/2009

A quick one today. Zvone Boban was one of my favourite ever players (and one of the Football Guy‘s too no doubt), another legend from the days of mid 90’s Serie A. A star for AC Milan for nine years, his unique blend of flair and vision for some reason made me really like him. His performances for Croatia in Euro 96 (along with Davor Suker, who will also star in these pages at some point) and the World Cup in France ’98 brought him to wider attention and I particularly remember how he basically single handedly led Milan to the Serie A title in 1998-99. After Lazio led the race for most of the season, his consistently creative performances coupled with the goals of George Weah and Oliver Bierhoff meant Milan pipped the Biancocelesti to the title on the last day. Seven straight wins at the end of the season saw Boban get his fourth and final title with the Rossoneri and more than any of the previous three he was most responsible for it. Chuck in a Champions League title too and you have one of Milan’s most fondly remembered players.

Awesome

Awesome

His international appearances were excellent too as a newly formed Croatia played some brilliant football in Euro 96 before he captained them to third place in France 98. He’ll always be a national hero both for that but also for an altercation early in his career with a Yugoslav (Serbian) policeman whilst still playing for Dinamo Zagreb.

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I’ll leave with some greatest hits (of the football kind) from his Milan days. Enjoy…

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T.

Blast From The Past – Gheorghe Hagi

01/07/2009

USA 94 wasn’t the best World Cup I’ve ever seen but it was probably the first one I properly watched. I was seven at the time of Italia ’90 and whilst aware of what was happening, it was more through passing and only the latter stages really caught my attention. Anyway, I digress. With England not qualifying thanks to Graham Taylor’s belief that the likes of Andy Sinton and Carlton Palmer were good enough to play international football, it left a tournament that I could watch as a neutral. I’d heard of the likes of Stoichkov, Hagi and Romario being a bit good but in the days before La Liga was widely broadcast I had yet to see much of them. By the end of the tournament I could see why they were so highly rated.

A bit good.

A bit good.

Gheorghe Hagi took Romania all the way to the quarter finals (their best ever performance) and scored one of the goals of the tournament with this delicious lob against Colombia. It’s not as if it was a fluke either, given he had shown Higuita warning signals not long before. Someone who played for both Real Madrid and Barcelona, he was one of the best attacking midfielders/number 10’s I’ve seen. Nicknamed “the Maradona of the Carpathians“, his similarity in size and playing style certainly justified those comparisons. Possessing a sweet left foot and part of one the great strikeforces in history (in ability if not achievement) alongside the aforementioned Romario and Stoichkov who destroyed many a defence for Barcelona in the 1994/95 season. Their humiliation of Man Utd in the Champions League in November 1994 did much to change Fergie’s approach in Europe. Though his success in major leagues was mainly in cups, he won plenty of league titles in Romania and Turkey, before going onto to a (as it stands) so-s0 coaching career. We’ll let him off though, and just focus on the best bits of his playing career.

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Enjoy…

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T.

Blast From The Past – Gabriel Batistuta

23/06/2009

Growing up watching Football Italia on Channel 4, many a fantastic player would etch themselves in mind with some ridiculous goal or brilliant piece of skill. A time when Serie A had unquestionably the best players in the world, every week you were spoilt for choice.

A particular favourite was ex Fiorentina and Roma superstar Gabriel Batistuta. One of the great forwards of any decade let alone the 90’s, Batigol was a complete striker. Powerful in the air, quick, could shoot from range on either foot, and a nice line in curling free kicks. Give him any space from 35 yards or less and you were in trouble. I always thought Arsenal would be safe from his fearsome right boot, but he made them look silly at Wembley in 1999. As with so many of his goals there was just no stopping it, such was the speed and accuracy. He seemed to have it in for all English clubs, scoring a beauty against Man Utd too.

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Bang bang goal.

Bang bang goal.

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I always admired him for staying at Fiorentina for nine years despite their continued failure to win a Scudetto. When he eventually did move (to Roma for some £20million) he helped them win the title for the first time in 18 years. Unlike many players he had a personality too, from his crazed machine gun celebrations, his arguments over hair length with Argentine coach Daniel Passarella and a vague recollection of an interview he once gave in which he said he didn’t actually like football, he just played as he was good at it.

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184 Serie A goals in 318 games (8th all time). The highest ever goalscorer for Argetina too (56 in 78!). Can’t really argue with that. Enjoy…

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T.

Blast From The Past – Paolo Maldini

10/06/2009

A new feature for the inevitable slow news days that will come over the summer. It’s pretty simple really – pick a great player from the past, find a decent youtube compilation, reminisce at how great they were. It wouldn’t normally be a player who has only just retired but then Paolo Maldini wasn’t just a normal player and he seems like a good place to start off. 25 years, one club, seven league titles, five European cups (plus three losing finals), all with model good looks to boot.

A record number of appearances for Milan and Italy, plus he played in four World Cups. He sadly never won an international honour, losing a World Cup final in 1994 and a European Championship final in 2000 (it seems a bit wrong that Marco Materazzi has won a World Cup but he hasn’t) but with Milan he won it all. His career has been legendary and for me he was the best left back ever.

Enjoy…

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T.

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Update: At the request of one of our readers, here are a few more in depth tributes to the great man. One, two, and of course three.


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