There is, perhaps, no greater honour in a footballer’s career than lifting the prestigious FIFA World Cup. On the international front, there is no bigger, more historic title there is to win. While millions grow up aspiring to help their countries reach the pinnacle of the sport, only a handful of people have actually managed to do so.
However, a player’s nationality could define whether or not one can even compete at a World Cup, let alone win it. Qualifying for the quadrennial tournament is a long process which many lesser-known nations fail to achieve.
Even if they do, the level of competition is brutal as they are likely to come up against star-studded squads such as France, Portugal, and other great sides. Although an upset could be on the cards, the likelihood is quite low. Unfortunately, this directly puts great players born into lesser-established footballing nations at a great disadvantage.
Club football is a lot more forgiving in this regard. Many of football’s touching stories have to do with players who rise through the ranks against all odds to play for some of the best clubs in the world.
Players from lesser-established nations have a much higher possibility of winning club honours. They could be purchased by top teams and compete in the UEFA Champions League, the Premier League, and other historic competitions.
However, there are a select few in football history to have enjoyed the best of both worlds. Superstars who have experienced international success as well as immense success at club level.
On that note, here is a look at the only six players to have won the Premier League, the Champions League, and the World Cup.
Fabien Barthez | France, Manchester United, Marseille
Former goalkeeper Fabien Barthez had an illustrious career across all fronts and enjoyed great success wherever he played. The Frenchman was the first-choice keeper during one of their greatest eras and helped them win the 1998 FIFA World Cup, conceding just two goals. He also holds the record for most clean sheets at FIFA World Cups with 10, along with Peter Shilton.
The 87-time Les Bleus international already had a UCL medal to his name prior to his World Cup heroics as he helped Olympique Marseille win it in 1992. Barthez conceded just four goals and kept seven clean sheets in his 10 games that season. He then won two Premier League titles between 2000 and 2004 with Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United to complete the set.
Juliano Belletti | Brazil, Chelsea, Barcelona
One of the more under-appreciated players during his club career, Juliano Belletti, has one each of the Premier League, Champions League, and World Cup. That being said, he's had varying levels of involvement in his sides, winning said honours. Belletti didn't have too much of a contribution to make during Chelsea and Brazil's Premier League and World Cup, respectively.
He was largely a bit-part player during the Blues' victorious 2009/10 campaign and played five minutes in Brazil's 2002 World Cup triumph. It was a whole different story at Barcelona, however, as he featured ten times in their UCL campaign and scored in the final. Belletti came on as a substitute and scored the eventual winning goal — his first-ever goal for Barcelona — from a Henrik Larsson assist.