5 utility players who have lifted the World Cup
- These players weren't the best footballers yet somehow managed to be a part of world cup winning squads.
The world cup is the most illustrious football tournament on the planet. Regarded by most as the pinnacle of a player’s career, yet, only eight nations have managed to lift the trophy. Previously known as the Jules Rimet trophy until 1970, Brazil are the most successful nation in terms of lifting the world cup, having done so on five separate occasions.
The teams that have gone on to lift the world cup, have generally been pre-tournament favourites, therefore these squads have mostly contained the country’s best players. The illustrious list of winners contains the likes of Pele, Diego Maradona and Zinedine Zidane, all great players of their respective eras.
As a result, this list contains players who might not have been the best, but their utility and selflessness made them a part of world cup winning teams:
5. Junior (Brazil)
Jenilson Angelo de Souza, better known simply as Junior, was a back-up to the legendary Roberto Carlos at the 2002 World cup. The Brazilian full-back won 22 caps for his nation as Carlos’s deputy.
Renowned for his pace and stamina, Junior had all the Brazilian flair, yet his defending was not very good. In 2002, the attacking full-back was the part of a Parma defence, containing the likes of Fabio Cannavaro and Lilian Thuram. That may have played a part in Junior’s selection for the national team as his defensive incapabilities were masked by these legendary defenders.
Junior, in general, had a decent world cup and also scored against Costa Rica during the group stage. All in all, he had a successful stint with the national team, having also been part of the squads that won the 2001 Copa America and 1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Yet, except for his semi-successful 4-year stint with Parma, Junior spent the rest of his career in Brazil and is remembered as an average player at best.