With thousands of football players in the world, it is unfortunate that some will not be noticed for their greatness. These talented soccer players had the misfortune of playing at the wrong time for the wrong team, or were over-shadowed by bigger names. Get to know some of the biggest names you may have overlooked in the soccer world.
Gabriel Batistuta, Argentina
Image source: FIFA.com
Batituta played as a striker from Argentina and he was one of the greatest finishers of all time. He was nicknamed Batigol and also known as El Ángel Gabriel. He scored 300 goals in 494 appearances. Batituta began his career in 1988 where he won titles playing for Newell's Old Boys, River Plate, and Boca Juniors. He helped his club Fiorentina return to the top-flight league in 1994. Fans of the club erected a life-size bronze statue of him in 1996 in recognition of his spectacular performances.
Michael Laudrup, Denmark
Image source: gettyimages.ae
The former Danish soccer player who is the current manager of the Al Rayyan SC, won league titles with Ajax, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus, playing mainly as an attacking midfielder. Laudrup was a member of Johan Cruyff’s “dream team” at Barelona where he won nine trophies, including four successive La Liga titles from 1991 to 1994 and the European Cup in 1992. He played in the 1986 FIFA World Cup and from 1994 he was the captain for Denmark for a total of 28 matches.
Gheorghe Hagi, Romania
Image source: YouTube.com
Hagi was known as one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe during the 1980s and the 1990s. Fans called him Comandante which means The Commander and Regele which means The King. Hagi was a remarkable player and possessed incredible dribbling and passing abilities to match some of the best in the game. His shooting talent was so great that he is often left out of best player lists by people who think he was one-dimensional. Hagi currently owns and manages FC Viitorul.
Andrea Pirlo, Italy
Image source: irishtimes.com
The retired football player from Italy started his career in 1985 and retired in 2017. Pirlo was widely recognised for his ball control, creativity, passing ability as well as being a free-kick specialist. The midfielder played in three World Cups for Italy in 2006, 2010 and 2014. He won the 2006 World Cup with Italy, and has won 2 European Cups and 3 league titles.
Image source: gettyimages.com
Shaka Hislop, England
Hislop is a retired goalkeeper who spent majority of his career in the top division in England where he was part of the Newcastle United team. When he started playing, he wanted to be a striker but was positioned as a goalkeeper as he was the tallest person in the team. He now works for sports news and broadcasting service ESPN where he is most often seen as a commentator on ESPN FC.
Des Walker, England
Image source: Goal.com
Walker is a former England international footballer with 59 full caps. He played with distinction at two major international football finals. At club level he played in seven cup finals for Nottingham Forest at Wembley winning five of them. He was Forest's player of the year three times. On four straight occasions at Forest he was selected for the PFA Team of the Year. At Sheffield Wednesday he picked up another club player of the year accolade. He played in twenty seasons of senior football. Walker is currently an academy coach for Derby Country.
Image source: liverpoolecho.co.uk
Ronald Koeman, Netherlands
Koeman was a midfield defender and he began his career at FC Groningen before he transferred to the Netherlands most successful club, Ajax where he won the national Eredivise title in 1984 -1985. He was one of five European players to ever win a Treble with their club and a cup with their national team in the same year. Koeman guided the Netherlands to their only title in the 1988 European Championships, as well as leading PSV to their only European Cup win.
Gunter Netzer, Germany
Image source: pinterest.co.uk
As a football player, Netzer was considered one of the greatest passers in the history of football, this was proven when he was voted Footballer of the Year in Germany twice in 1972 and 1973. He started his professional football career at the age of 19 when he played for FC Mönchengladbach before switching to city rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach. With Borussia Mönchengladbach he won the Bundesliga in 1970 and 1971 and the DFB-Pokal in 1973. The final was a famous match against FC Köln in which he started as a sub and went onto the pitch during extra time, on his own authority, simply telling the coach "I'll go and play now". He then went on to score the winning goal with only his second contact three minutes later.
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