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Forgotten Greats of the Beautiful Game

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Forgotten Greats of the Beautiful Game

The concept of this topic is to shine a light of those players who once dominated the game and/or their position, yet have since disappeared a bit from the collective memory, for whatever reason.

And what beter candidate to kick things off with than...

Jari Litmanen (Born February 20th, 1971)

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Career: 22 years and counting, one CL title, one CL runner-up, 9-time Finnish footballer of the year, four Dutch titles, three Dutch cups, three Dutch Super-cups, one club world cup, one European super-cup, all-time European scorer for Ajax Amsterdam, all-time leading scorer for the Finnish national team, most capped player for the Finnish national team, CL topscorer (95-96), Dutch league top scorer (93-94), one third place in European footballer of the year voting

The last ever modern incarnation of the classic-number ten, before the game shifted towards scoring AMs, and the play-making responsibilities were handed over to the Pirlo's and Deco's of the world - (who played at the opposite end of the triangle from Litmanen). Captained the famous Ajax side of the mid-nineties after Frank Rijkaard retired. But deserves to be remembered as the metronome that made one of the most efficient and fun to watch offensive machines in the history of the world tick. The fact that he never recreated his earlier form at either Barça or Liverpool should be disregarded. Why? Because I say so, dammit!

One of the main reasons he has withered away into obscurity is that he was all about the game and was infamous for shunning the media and desperately trying to keep as much of his personal life and feelings hidden from them. As such, there wasn't much more to love about him than his game, and when that started to fade, so did his reputation.

Jari Litmanen deserves to be remembered for the two year-stretch from 94-96 in which he lead Ajax to two consecutive CL finals, winning the first against Milan, and losing the second to Juve on a penalty shoot-out. But his story starts before that. When Dennis Bergkamp left for Inter after the 92/93 season, the n

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Excellent write up.

But typo in the title! :o

Last I heard about Jari was a few years ago when Roy Hodgsen brought him to Fulham, back when they seemed doomed for relegation. I don't remember him ever getting on the pitch, the story doing the 'rounds was that he was very out of shape.

I was trying to find on YouTube a goal he scored against Villa from his Liverpool days, where Peter Schmeichel threw the ball straight onto one of our defender's backs, only for it to then land right in the path of the goal hungry Finnish predator.

I look forward to Ed's installment on Australia and Portsmouth legend, John Aloisi!

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Thanks for pointing out the typo, no idea how I missed that one!

I tried and failed to find my favorite youtube clip of his: a game after his return to Ajax in which he sets up four goals (that's the number I remember :D) by drawing in defenders and then smartly finding a way to thread a pass to an unmarked team mate. After completing the quadsist (yes, I just invented that word), he scores the last goal of the game himself and the Amsterdam Arena goes completely bonkers.

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My pick is Fernando Redondo. I'm certain he'd be widely recognised as one of the masters of his generation had he not been so plagued by injury, and had he not fallen out with Argentina's then coach Daniel Passarella.

Here's one of those wildly emotional YouTube compilation videos to illustrate my point.

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Aloisi? I hate him :laugh: He scored that one penalty and he gets famous! What a dick :p

:heart: Redondo... my word that man was a legend, on and off the pitch. I'm sure that compilation contains the Backheel of Old Trafford just to make it sweeter :bounce:

I don't know m/any forgotten greats. It'd be hared for me to contribute to this thread without copy and pasting Wikipedia :( Does Hagi count as forgotten yet?

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I'd like to nominate Dejan Savicevic. I'm not sure if he's completely forgotten since he's currently the president of the Montenegro FA (thanks Wikipedia (Y)) but I loved his close control, pace and vision. He was a unique player and a joy to watch in full flow. If Yugoslavia hadn't been banned from the major international competitions at the time, I dare say he'd have been one of the stars of the European Championships in 1992 as well as the World Cup in 1994.

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Especially for Ed! Playing for Red Star against Man Utd in the 1991 European Super Cup -

A Champions League goal against Barcelona, voted the best in the history of the competition -

And finally, my favourite. A great goal for Red Star, this time from a free kick -

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My pick is Fernando Redondo. I'm certain he'd be widely recognised as one of the masters of his generation had he not been so plagued by injury, and had he not fallen out with Argentina's then coach Daniel Passarella.
^He fell out with everyone - Passarella, Bielsa, Bilardo. Our only coach he ever liked was Coco. What a waste for los albicelestes... <_<

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My pick is Fernando Redondo. I'm certain he'd be widely recognised as one of the masters of his generation had he not been so plagued by injury, and had he not fallen out with Argentina's then coach Daniel Passarella.
^He fell out with everyone - Passarella, Bielsa, Bilardo. Our only coach he ever liked was Coco. What a waste for los albicelestes... <_<

Would I be right in thinking that Redondo initially fell out with Passarella when he told him to cut his hair? :unsure:

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My pick is Fernando Redondo. I'm certain he'd be widely recognised as one of the masters of his generation had he not been so plagued by injury, and had he not fallen out with Argentina's then coach Daniel Passarella.
^He fell out with everyone - Passarella, Bielsa, Bilardo. Our only coach he ever liked was Coco. What a waste for los albicelestes... <_<

Would I be right in thinking that Redondo initially fell out with Passarella when he told him to cut his hair? :unsure:

^That's what the (somewhat hysterical :gocho: ) press said at the time but - bearing in mind most of our team was pretty heavy on the long, lank, and greasy persuasion - that woud be a bit rich... :whistle:

I think it was more a refusal of Redondo's to play in a certain position.

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My pick is Fernando Redondo. I'm certain he'd be widely recognised as one of the masters of his generation had he not been so plagued by injury, and had he not fallen out with Argentina's then coach Daniel Passarella.
^He fell out with everyone - Passarella, Bielsa, Bilardo. Our only coach he ever liked was Coco. What a waste for los albicelestes... <_<

Would I be right in thinking that Redondo initially fell out with Passarella when he told him to cut his hair? :unsure:

^That's what the (somewhat hysterical :gocho: ) press said at the time but - bearing in mind most of our team was pretty heavy on the long, lank, and greasy persuasion - that woud be a bit rich... :whistle:

I think it was more a refusal of Redondo's to play in a certain position.

Yes.

Aloisi? I hate him :laugh: He scored that one penalty and he gets famous! What a dick :p

I once saw Aloisi score twice in one of the worst games I've ever been to, a 1-4 home defeat to Coventry. Even now I sometimes wake up in sweats, screaming his name. Oh God the pain.

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My pick is Fernando Redondo. I'm certain he'd be widely recognised as one of the masters of his generation had he not been so plagued by injury, and had he not fallen out with Argentina's then coach Daniel Passarella.
^He fell out with everyone - Passarella, Bielsa, Bilardo. Our only coach he ever liked was Coco. What a waste for los albicelestes... <_<

Would I be right in thinking that Redondo initially fell out with Passarella when he told him to cut his hair? :unsure:

^That's what the (somewhat hysterical :gocho: ) press said at the time but - bearing in mind most of our team was pretty heavy on the long, lank, and greasy persuasion - that woud be a bit rich... :whistle:

I think it was more a refusal of Redondo's to play in a certain position.

I think I once read politics had a lot to do with it as well. Supposedly Redondo (who is left-leaning politically) didn't like some of the things Passarella had said about gay people.

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That's what the (somewhat hysterical :gocho: ) press said at the time but - bearing in mind most of our team was pretty heavy on the long, lank, and greasy persuasion - that woud be a bit rich... :whistle:

I think it was more a refusal of Redondo's to play in a certain position.

That description of the players' hairstyles brings back memories of a great line I read in a little write-up about Argentina's World Cup squad once (I forget if it was '98 or '02) - "He might look like a Metallica fan, but there are no spots on Sorin" :rofl:

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^Very true! :laugh:

I think I once read politics had a lot to do with it as well. Supposedly Redondo (who is left-leaning politically) didn't like some of the things Passarella had said about gay people.
^Truth is, La Selección is constantly marred by opposing political leanings and social views - to the point that I don't think we've ever had the "best" squad sent to a major tournament. I can get the more 'moral' objections but, honestly, it gets so petty and tiresome with all this face-saving that you just think: get over it already... :/

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Especially for Ed! Playing for Red Star against Man Utd in the 1991 European Super Cup -

:clap:

I once saw Aloisi score twice in one of the worst games I've ever been to, a 1-4 home defeat to Coventry. Even now I sometimes wake up in sweats, screaming his name. Oh God the pain.

:rofl:

There there *pat pat*

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I don't mean to make it look as if I'm favouring temperamental Eastern European AC Milan midfielders from the mid 90's or anything, but my next pick is Zvonimir Boban. Like Redondo, he was a modern-style withdrawn playmaker who was ahead of his time and a forerunner of the biggest tactical innovation of the past ten years or so. He could play anywhere across the midfield and captained Croatia to third place in the '98 World Cup.

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Boban was incredible and I'm not just referring to his always delightful facial hair. The Croatia side for the '98 World Cup was, by and large, a joy to watch and were it not for Lili Thuram, who knows what might have been?

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