The number of footballers who have graced your television in the modern era is humongous. The number of footballers who have captured your imagination from that set is obviously smaller, but is still a considerable amount. Here are three footballers who are now retired and have been cruelly wiped off from the publics’ short-term memory.
1. Steve McManaman
A true man of class, this English footballer ruled the roost for many years at Anfield with his stunning dribbling and playmaking abilities. A precursor to the great Makelele, Mcmanaman could hold the midfield by himself. The first British player to win the UEFA Champions League title twice, and also with a foreign club.
He played for Liverpool and Manchester City and was the only second English player at Real Madrid after Laurie Cunningham. He won the Champions League with Madrid in 2000 and proved his worth. Being hailed as ‘Spice Boys’ along with Robbie Fowler at Liverpool because of their modelling contracts with Hugo Boss and Armani, the fans could never get enough of this winger. Not surprisingly, he was also the highest paid British footballer in history, between 1999 and 2001. From investing in race horses to producing Goal! 2, his post-retirement activities are not restricted to being a football pundit.
2. Gaizka Mendieta
Not as versatile or full of panache as the aforementioned, but he was one of the star transfers in 2001. His €48 million transfer from Valencia to the Italian club, S.S. Lazio made him the sixth most expensive player of that time. But disappointment followed, and he was loaned off to Barcelona, and then carted off to Middlesbrough. In his first season at the Boro, they won the Football League Cup, and he was made a permanent name on the payroll.
But a string of injuries and fallout with the then manager Gareth Southgate, he found himself off the first team. He scored a total of 8 goals in 40 appearances for the Spain National side from 1999 to 2002. His career tally is a paltry 62 goals from 362 matches which is not unusual for a quiet midfielder, but not so much for Mendieta. His high point was his inclusion in the 2002 World Cup and his time at Valencia CF (45 goals from 231 apps) where he lost successive Champions League finals in 2000 and 2001, and that’s about it. Oh and he was also named the the UEFA Champions League’s midfielder of the year in 1999-00 and 2000-01. We don’t blame you for forgetting him, neither does he.
3. Dion Dublin
A centre back? A centre forward? Even he couldn’t decide at times. Starting his career in the back line, Dublin found his scoring boots really quickly and starred in a number of Premier League games. He has found his name in the team sheet of Manchester United, Aston Villa and most notably, Coventry City, where he netted 61 goals in 145 appearances between 1994 and 1998.
Internationally, he managed four caps for the English National side before being controversially omitted from the 1998 World Cup squad. His ability to double up as an attacking and a defensive player was overlooked and he took no further part in the side. Even after retiring in 2008, he found his groove in the media as a football pundit. The DUBE, a percussion instrument, is his invention, which has also found takers in the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Certainly a brilliant footballer whom most have forgotten, except when we need him for the ‘name footballers with a place in the name’ game.