Sunday, November 30, 2014

Croatia Greatest All-time Team


World Cup 1998

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.


I have create an all-time Yugoslavian team that featured played from all the former republics.  This one is the all-time 23 member team for Croatia .  

Historically, Yugoslavia is loaded with football talents, but they did not perform as well as they should have. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, Croatia is the most successful national team of all the former republics.  In 1998, they made history by finishing 3rd at the World Cup in France.  They beat Germany 3-0 in the quarterfinal.  They led eventual winner France 1-0 in the semifinal before France scored twice to win 2-1.  After the World Cup in 1998, Croatia became a regular fixture at major tournament, qualifying for most of them.
World Cup 2018
Team
GK: Vladimir Beara  
Vladimir Beara played on three World Cups; 1950, 1954 and 1958.  He was considered one of the greatest keepers from the Warsaw Pact.  With Hajduk Split , he won the Yugoslav league title in 1950, 1952 and 1955. In 1955, he moved to Belgrade's Red Star, where he won even more Yugoslav league titles, in 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, and won the Yugoslav Cup in 1958 and 1959. He ended his career in German clubs Alemannia Aachen and Viktoria Köln.
Vladimir Beara 
GK  Franjo Glaser
Franjo Glaser was a keeper during the 1940's.  Before the war, he played 35 times for Yugoslavia.  After the invasion of Yugoslavia, Glaser played further 11 matches for Croatia, all four matches that Banovina Croatia played, and seven matches for the Independent State of Croatia    He is the only Yugoslav footballer who won national titles before and after the Second World War, with three different clubs BSK Belgrade, Građanski Zagreb and FK Partizan.

GK: Danijel Subašić
Danijel Subašić made his name with Hajduk Split. In 2012, he joined Monaco in France, winning Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year: 2016–17.  Since 2010, he earned 44 caps.  He was the starting keeper at Euro 2016.  He was a hero of the 2018 World Cup team, where he saved 4 penalties in two penalty shootouts in the knockout stage as Croatia reached the Final.

RB:  Darijo Srna
Darijo Srna is one of the best wingbacks of his generation. He started Hajduk Split. He is best remembered for playing over 10 years for Shaktar Donetsk and winning the UEFA Cup with them in the 2008-2009 season.  He is both captain for his club and country.  He played 134 times for Croatia, having represented his country at the 2006 and 2014 FIFA World Cups, as well as at UEFA Euro 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016.
Darijo Srna
CB: Igor Stimac
Igor Stimac won 53 caps and scoring two goals, and a member of the Croatian squad that came third at the 1998 FIFA World Cup. He was also a member of the highly talented Yugoslavia under-20 team that won the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship.  In his playing career he had three spells with Hajduk Split and also played for Cádiz in Spain and for Derby County and West Ham United in England. 


CB: Igor Tudor 
Igor Tudor was most notably a member of the national side that reached the semi-finals of the 1998 World Cup, eventually finishing in third place. He also represented Croatia at Euro 2004, and the 2006 World Cup.  For his club career, he started with Hajduk Split and spent 9 seasons with Juventus. He was a part of the mighty defensive unit of Juventus from 1998 to 2007.

CB/RB: Dario Šimić 
He earned 100 caps for Croatia. He was a member of the  national side that reached the semi-finals of the 1998 World Cup. He also played in the 2002 and 2006 World Cup Finals and three UEFA European Championships in 1996, 2004 and 2008. He played for both Inter Milan and AC Milan and Ligue 1 side Monaco, before returning to his home club, Dinamo Zagreb in 2010.

CB: Ivica Horvat
Horvat gained 60 caps.  He played in both 1950 and 1954 World Cup Finals and won a silver medal at the 1952 Summer Olympics.  In the Final, they lost the legendary Hungarian team of the 1950's. Horvat played from 1945 until 1957 for Dinamo Zagreb. In 1957 he moved to Germany to Eintracht Frankfurt, where he stayed until the end of his career.

CB/DM: Niko Kovac
Born in Germany of Croatian background,  Niko Kovac spent most of his career playing in the Bundesliga, where he played for Hertha Berlin, Hamburger SV, Bayern Munich and Bayer Lerkusen. He also played for Red Bull Salzburg. He earned 83 caps for Croatia and was their captain from 2004 onward.  He is Robert Kovac's older brother.

CB: Robert Kovac
Robert Kovac represented Croatia in two World Cup Finals, 2002 and 2006, and has also participated at two European Championships, 2004 and 2008.  He was the captain of the national team after his brother Niko retired.  He made his name with Bayer Leverkusen. He played a few of the biggest clubs in the world, notably with Bayern Munich and Juventus.  

LW/LB/CB: Branco Zebec 
Zebec was one of the greatest players ever from Yugoslavia. In his heyday the player from FK Partizan and Red Star Belgrade fascinated the world with his performances at the World Cups in 1954 and 1958. With Partizan he won 3 Yugoslav Cups (1952, 1954, 1957). With Red Star Belgrade he won the national championship in 1960. He led Yugoslavia to second-place at Euro 1960. 

LB: Robert Jarni 
Robert Jarni was a member of Yugoslavia's Golden Generation of the 1990's.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 1990 with Yugoslavia and later, represented Croatia at the World Cup Finals in 1998, where they reached the semifinal.  Professionally, he began Hadjuk Split had played in big clubs such as Juventus and Real Madrid as well as Real Betis where he played the longest.  He also played in England and Italy.
Robert Jarni

CM: Ante Zanetic
Ante Zanetic earned 15 caps for the Yugoslavia national team, and participated in the 1960 European Nations' Cup.  He won  Gold Medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics. He deflected to the West in 1961 when his club team Hajduk Split was playing in West Germany.  He moved to Belgium, where he played for for Club Brugge K.V. and Racing White. 

CM: Ivan Rakitic 
Born in Switzerland of Croatian background, Rakitic started his career with FC Basel. He played with Schalke 04 from 2007 and 2011.  Then, he moved to Sevilla in 2011.  At Sevilla, he won the Europa Cup in 2014.  He moved to Barcelona.  For Croatia, he earned 100 caps at the time of writing. He played in the midfield with Luka Modric as Croatia reached the Final of the 2018 World Cup Finals.

CM: Luka Modric 
Luka Modric is one of the greatest playmakers of his generation. He earned more 90 caps for Croatia.  He currently plays for Real Madrid and won the Champions' League for the 2013-2014,  2015-2016, 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons.  He also played with Dinamo Zagreb and Tottenham Hotspurs.  He played in the World Cup Finals of 2006 and 2014, as well as the European Championship of 2008, 2012 and 2016. He was voted the best player of the World Cup Finals in 2018 as Croatia finished second.
Luka Modric
CM: Zlatko Čajkovski
He was considered one of the best Yugoslavian players ever.  He played for FK Partizan before moving to play for Koln in Germany. Internationally, he played between 1942 and 1943 twice for the Independent State of Croatia, and between 1946 and 1955 he played 55 times for the Yugoslav national team scoring seven goals. Participating at the Olympic Games 1948 and 1952 he won the silver medal on both occasions.  He also participated in the FIFA World Cups of 1950 and 1954. 

LW: Ivan Perisic
Perisic is a product of the Hajduk Split and Sochaux youth academies, he played for Club Brugge, where was named Belgian Footballer of the Year for 2011. He later played for Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg before joining Inter Milan in 2015.  For Croatia, he had over 70 caps.  He played in Euro 2012 and 2016, and the World Cup Finals of 2014 and 2018.

AM/CM: Zvonimir Boban
Zvonimir Boban was the captain of the national team that finished third at the World Cup in 1998.  He was also an important player of the highly talented Yugoslavia under-20 team that won the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship. He was also remembered for his career with AC Milan with whom he won four Serie A and one UEFA Champions League titles. He also played Bari and Celta Vigo at the club level.
Zvonimir Boban
AM: Robert Prosinecki
Robert Prosinecki was considered one of the most talented players from Yugoslavia in the 1990's.  In 1987, Prosinečki was named the tournament's best player as Yugoslavia won the World Youth Championship.  He then played for Yugoslavia at the 1990 World Cup and for Croatia at the European Champion in 1996, and both of the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.  For his club career, he played for both Real Madrid and Barcelona, but he failed to establish himself at neither club.
 Robert Prosinecki
LW/FW: Bernard Vukas 
In 2000, he was voted by the Croatian Football Federation as the best Croatian player of all time.  He had 59 caps.  He was also a part of the Yugoslavia team in the 1950 FIFA World Cup and 1954 FIFA World Cup.  With Yugoslavia he won 2 silver medals in the Olympic games: 1948 and 1952. His career was associated with Hajduk Split, but he also played in Italy and Austria.

FW:  Stjepan Bobek 
He played for Partizan between 1945 and 1959 helping them win two Yugoslav First League titles and four Yugoslav Cups, and was named the club's greatest player in history in 1995. Internationally, he is the all-time top scorer for Yugoslavia, scoring 38 goals in 63 appearances between 1946 and 1956, and was member of Yugoslav squads which won two Olympic silver medals (in 1948 and 1952) and played in two World Cups (in 1950 and 1954).

ST:  Alen Boksic
Alen Boksic won the 1992–93 UEFA Champions League, and was voted fourth in the 1993 European Footballer of the Year poll. That same year, he was named Croatian Footballer of the Year. He also won two Serie A titles in 1997 and 2000 with Juventus and Lazio respectively, and is regarded as one of the best foreign players in the history of Serie A since 1980's.  He played for both Yugoslavia and Croatia.  He missed the 1998 World Cup Finals due to an injury.

ST: Davor Suker 
Davor Suker  was a part of Yugoslavia's Golden Generation in the 1990's.  He later played for Croatia, where he is the all-time leading scorer.  He is best remembered for finishing the top scorer at the World Cup Finals in 1998, where Croatia reached the semifinal.  For his club career, he won a Champions' League in 1998 with Real Madrid.  He also played with Sevilla, Arsenal, West Ham and 1860 Munich. He was Croatian Footballer of the Year: 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998.
Davor Suker

Honorable Mention
Ivica Olić, Tomislav Crnković, Ivica Šurjak, Gustav Lechner, Jurica Jerković, Aljoša Asanović, Mario Mandžukić, Vedran Ćorluka, Velimir Zajec, Domagoj Vida, Josip Skoblar.

Squad Explanation
-- Vladimir Beara, Bernard Vukas, Luka Modric, Davor Suker and Branco Zebec are automatic selections.  No explanation is needed. Zvonimir Boban, Robert Prosinecki, Zlatko Čajkovski and Robert Jarni almost belong to this list.
-- Seven members of this all-time team went to the World Cup Finals in 1998: Igor Stimac, Igor Tudor, Dario Šimić, Robert Jarni, Zvonimir Boban,  Robert Prosinecki and Davor Suker.  Alen Boksic missed the Finals because of an injury.
-- Croatia reached the Final of the World Cup in 2018. After the World Cup Finals, Danijel Subašić replaced Stipe Pletikosa as the third keeper.  Ivan Perišić and Ivan Rakiticalso earned spots on the team.  Ivan Rakitic, Mario Mandžukić, Domagoj Vida and Vedran Ćorluka made honorable mention.
-- Luka Modric should now be considered Croatia's greatest ever player.  He was the best player at the World Cup Finals in 2018 as well as winning 4 Champions' League with Real Madrid.
-- Mario Mandžukić still has Bernard Vukas, Davor Suker, Alen Boksic and Stjepan Bobek ahead of him.  At this point, it is hard for him to displace the old-timers. 
-Ivan Perišić was probably Croatia's second best player in Russia.  He has not been recognised for his prior performance in big tournaments.  For tactical purposes, the team also needed a winger.  I dropped Gustav Lehner for him. 
-- I dropped Velimir Zajec for Ivan Rakitic. Rakitic accomplished a lot of things with Sevilla and Barcelona.
-- Vedran Ćorluka had a limited role in Russia, but he deserved the honorable mention for his 12 year career with the national team.
-- Nine playeres were on my Yugoslavia All-Time Team: Luka Modric, Ivica Horvat, Vladimir Beara, Robert Jarni, Branco Zebec, Zlatko Čajkovski, Bernard Vukas, Stjepan Bobek and Davor Suker.
-- Vladimir Beara was born in modern day Croatia.  He is of Serbian ethnicity.  The ethnic issue is very sensitive in the region.  He is chosen for both all time teams for Serbia and Croatia.  
-- Darijo Srna was the most underrated fullback of his generation.  He accomplished a lot with FC Shakhtar Donetsk, but if he played his club football in Western Europe, he would be a household names.  He is the most capped player in the history of Croatia with over 130 caps.  
-- Branko Zebec and Robert Jarni kept Tomislav Crnković out of the team.
-- The Kovac brothers were well-known players because they played in the Bundesliga.
-- Robert Prosinecki did not make my Yugoslavia All-Time Team, His failure to settle with Real Madrid and Barcelona cost him a spot there, but he easily made the Croatia all-time team.
--- Bernard Vukas was chosen in 2000 as the greatest Croatian player of the century.
-- Alen Boksic's club career was among the most successful for the Golden Generation in the 1990's.  He was as good as Davir Suker, but Suker has the World Cup Finals to back his credentials.
-- I have no space for Ivica Šurjak, Gustav Lechner, Jurica Jerković and Aljoša Asanović. Croatia has great midfielders. Luka Modric, Zvonimir Boban, Robert Prosinecki, Zlatko Čajkovski and Ivan Rakitic are ahead of them.

Starting lineup 
Formation: 4-3-3
Luka Modric is the greatest player from Croatia.  I started Davor Suker over Alen Bokšić because I rewarded Suker a starting position as a World Cup hero.







Saturday, November 29, 2014

Serbia Greatest All-time 23 member team


World Cup 2010

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

I have create an all-time Yugoslavian team that featured played from all the former republics.  This one is the all-time 23 member team for Serbia.  I have also create an all-time team for Croatia and the rest of the former Yugoslavia without Serbia and Croatia.  This is the all-time team for Serbian players.

Yugoslavia World Cup 2018


After the end of Yugoslavia, Serbia was once completed as Serbia and Montenegro national team. Following the dissolution of Serbia and Montenegro, Serbia has played as an independent nation since 2006, and qualified for the World Cup in 2010 and 2018.

Historically, Yugoslavia is loaded with football talents, but they did not perform as well as they should have. Dragan Stojkovic and 
Dragan Dzajic were some of the greatest Serbian players playing under Yugoslavia.  Serbia is also the home of Red Star Belgrade, the 1991 European Cup champion.
World Cup 2018
Team
GK: Vladimir Beara  
Vladimir Beara played on three World Cups; 1950, 1954 and 1958.  He was considered one of the greatest keepers from the Warsaw Pact.  With Hajduk Split , he won the Yugoslav league title in 1950, 1952 and 1955. In 1955, he moved to Belgrade's Red Star, where he won even more Yugoslav league titles, in 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, and won the Yugoslav Cup in 1958 and 1959. He ended his career in German clubs Alemannia Aachen and Viktoria Köln.
Vladimir Beara  
GK:  Milutin Soskic  
Milutin Soskic  was a legend with FK Partizan between 1955 and 1966.  In 1966, Partizan  reached the Final of the European Cup, where they lost to the Ye-Ye team of Real Madrid. He later played for Koln in Germany from 1966 to 1971, winning the German Cup in 1968.  He was capped by Yugoslavia for 50 times between 1959 and 1966.

GK: Srđan Mrkušić
Srđan Mrkušić was capped by both the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and  Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia between 1941 and 1950.  He was  one of only seven footballers who represented both the pre and post World War II Yugoslavia. He went to the WC Finals in 1950.  He also went down in history as one of the founders of Red Star Belgrade football club in early March 1945.

RB: Branko Stanković
He is a Bosian Serb. He was best remembered for his career with Red Star Belgrade, where he won 4 league titles and established himself as one of the best defender in Yugoslavian football history.  He participated at two World Cups and twice at Olympic Games. Stanković is one of the most elegant defensive players of his time. Because of his playing style, he earned his nickname Ambassador. 

RB: Milutin Ivković 
Milutin Ivković played 39 times for Yugoslavia.  He played for them at 1928 Summer Olympics and FIFA World Cup 1930, where they reached the semifinal. He is considered the best rightback in Yugoslavian football history.  He obtained a medical degree in 1931 while serving as an active player.  During the War, he was an active in resistance movement. He was executed by firing squad in 1943.

CB: Nemanja Vidic
Nemanja Vidic spent 9 seasons as the starting center-back at Manchester United from 2006 and 2014, where he won every major trophy and established himself as one of the best center-backs of his generation.  He also played for Red Star Belgrade and Spartak Moscow.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 2006 and 2010. He was part of the "Famous Four" Serbian national team defense that conceded just one goal during the 2006 World Cup qualification campaign.
Nemnja Vidic
CB: Velibor Vasovic
He was a legend at FK Partizan.  He lost the European Cup to Real Madrid in 1966.  A year later, he later joined Ajax and established himself as one of the best defenders in Europe.  In 1971, he captained Ajax as they won their first European Cup, playing alongside Johan Cruyff.  He is considered one of the greatest Ajax defenders. He played 32 times for Yugoslavia.

CB: Miroslav Djukic
Miroslav Djukic spent 14 years of his professional career in Spain, notably at the service of Deportivo de La Coruña and Valencia, amassing La Liga totals of 368 games and 11 goals, and winning six major titles for the two clubs combined. In 1994, Đukić missed a penalty kick in the game's last minute (eventual 0–0 draw) for Deportivo. As a result FC Barcelona were crowned champions instead. He had 48 caps and  played at Euro 2000 for Yugoslavia.


Sinisa Mihajlovic was capped 63 times between 1991 and 2003 for Yugoslavia.  He won the European Cup with Red Star Belgrade. In 1992, he moved to Italy and became was one of the best defender in Serie, notably played for Roma, Sampdoria, Lazio and Inter Milan.  With Lazio, he won UEFA Cup Winners Cup: 1998–99. He was part of the golden generation of Yugoslav players who won the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship in Chile.
Sinisa Mihajlovic

DM: Milorad Arsenijević
He earned 52 caps for the Yugoslavia, and played in the 1930 FIFA World Cup, where they reached the semifinal and served as the highest finishes for an European team.  He was born in Smederevo. However, he grew-up in Šabac where he started playing for the local team FK Mačva Šabac when he was 14.  In 1925, He joined BK Belgrade and retired there in 1938.

CM: Vladimir Jugovic
Jugovic was a member of Red Star Belgrade that won the European Cup in 1990.  He won another European Cup with Juventus in 1996. He also played for Sampdoria, Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, Lazio, LR Ahlen, AS Monaco FC and VfB Admira Wacker Mödling. At the international level, he was limited to 41 caps because of the ban placed on Yugoslavia during the prime of his career. He played at Euro 2000 and the World Cup 1998 for Yugoslavia.  
Vladimir Jugovic
AM: Dejan Petković
After leaving Red Star Belgrade in 1995, Petkovic's career in Europe did not succeed.  In 1997, he joined Vitória in Brazil.  He was one of the few Europeans to play and succeed in the Brazilian league.  He was considered one of the best players in Brazil during his days there.  Between 2000 and 2011, he played for 7 Brazilian clubs.  He was a hero for three Rio clubs.  His international career, however, was limited to 7 caps.

AM: Dragan Stojkovic
Dragan Stojkovic is considered one of the best players in the history of Yugoslavian and Serbian football. He starred for Yugoslavia at the 1990 FIFA World Cup (where he was named in the World Cup All-Star Team) and 1998 FIFA World Cup where he captained the team. He was a star player at Red Star Belgrade, but he was playing for Marseille when Red Star Belgrade beat Marseille in the 1990 Final of the European Cup.  He played in Japan at the end of his career.
Dragan Stojkovic
AM: Dragoslav Sekularac
Dragoslav Sekularac was considered one of the best player in Red Star Belgrade history.  He was a football idol door g the 1960's. He played in the 1958 and 1962 World Cup Finals, where his team reached the semifinal in 1962.  He later played for Independiente Santa Fe in Colombia for five seasons, before transferring to Millonarios from Bogotá and ending his playing career in the German Bundesliga with Karlsruher SC.

CM/DM/RM: Dejan Stankovic
Dejan Stankovic played for Red Stars Belgrade and Lazio, but he is best remembered for his stint with Inter Milan where he won 5 league titles and one Champions League title.  He earned 103 international caps. He played in three World Cup Finals for three different national teams: Yugoslavia(1998), Serbia and Montenegro (2006) and Serbia (2010).  He captained the Serbia national team until 2011, when he announced his retirement from international football. 
Dejan Stankovic
RW:  Vujadin Boškov
Vujadin Boškov played with FK Vojvodina for most of his career (1946–1960). In 1961 he moved to Italy to play for Sampdoria for one season and then, joined Young Boys in Switzerland as a player/cooach.  He also played for the Yugoslavia national team, and was part of the team that won the silver medal at the 1952 Olympic. Also he played at the 1954 and 1958 FIFA World Cups

RW: Aleksandar Tirnanić
He played 50 times for the Kingdom of Yugoslavia between 1929 and 1940.  He went to the WC Finals in 1930, where he became among the youngest goal-scorer in history.  Tirnanić spent most of his senior club career with BSK Beograd for which he appeared in 500 matches. He later played for SK Jugoslavija, BASK, Jedinstvo  and Sloga .

LW: Bora Kostić
Bora Kostić is the all-time leading scorer Red Star Belgrade,  During his club career, he played for Red Star Belgrade until 1961.  Then, he played for Lanerossi Vicenza in Italy and then, St. Louis Stars in the United States. Internationally, he earned 33 caps and 26 goals for the Yugoslavia, and participated in the 1960 European Nations' Cup. He won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1960.

LW: Dragan Dzajic
Dragan Džajić is viewed by some football experts as perhaps one of the most underrated players in European football, partly because he played in Yugoslavia. He is considered one of the greatest left wing in history of the game.  He played most of his career with Red Star Belgrade.  He was capped 85 times for Yugoslavia between 1964 and 1978.  He was voted the best player at European Championship in 1968, where Yugoslavia finished second behind Italy.
Dragan Dzajic
ST/SS: Milan Galic
He scored 37 international goals in 51 matches for the Yugoslavia. He participated in the 1960 Summer Olympics, winning the gold medal, the 1960 UEFA European Football Championship, where Yugoslavia finished second and the 1962 FIFA World Cup, where Yugoslavia finished fourth. On the club level, he played for FK Partizan and Standard Liège.

ST/SS:  Rajko Mitic
Mitic started his career with BSK Belgrade. After the World War II, he was the captain of Red Star Belgrade when it was found in 1945.  He played 14 seasons there and was known for his leadership. He was considered one of the club's greatest players.  He won 59 caps (in which he was captain 34 times) for Yugoslavia, and scored 32 goals.

ST:  Blagojie Marjanovic 
He played 57 times for the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.  He was one of the first superstars in Yugoslavia.  He played in the WC Finals of 1930, where Yugoslavia reached the semifinal before losing to host and eventual winner Uruguay.  He spent most of his career with BSK Belgrade. He was captured as a POW during the War.  He returned to football after the war.

ST/SS:  Miloš Milutinović
Miloš Milutinović was one of the Milutinović brothers who were famous players and coaches in Yugoslavia.  His was the brother of famous coach Bora Milutinović. At the international level, he earned 33 caps in total and represented the country in the 1954 and 1958 World Cups.  During his club career he played for FK Bor, FK Partizan, OFK Beograd, FC Bayern Munich, RCF Paris, and Stade Français Paris. 
Miloš Milutinović

Honorable Mention
Mirolad Arsejanovi, Jovan Acimovic, Savo Milosevic, Petar Radenkovic, Vladimir Durković, Nemanja Matic, Branislav Ivanović, Aleksandar Kolarov.

Squad Explanation 
-- Vladimir Beara, Nemanja Vidic, Velibor Vasovic, Dragan Stojkovic and Dragan Dzajic are automatic selections.  
-- Ten players are on my Yugoslavia All-Time Team: Branko Stankovic, Vladimir Beara, Milutin Soskic, Nemanja Vidic, Velibor Vasovic, Milutin Ivković, Dragan Stojkovic, Dragoslav Sekularac, Aleksandar Tirnanić and Dragan Dzajic.
-- Vladimir Beara was born in modern day Croatia.  He is of Serbian ethnicity.  The ethnic issue is very sensitive in the region.  So he is chosen for both all time teams for Serbia and Croatia.  
-- Branko Stankovic is listed as a Bosnian Serb.  He was born in Sarajevo. Again, ethnicity is a serious issue in the region. He is both of my all time team: Serbia and Former Yugoslavia Without Serbia and Croatia.
-- Fahrudin Jusufi sometimes listed on many Serbia All-Time list.  He is definitely considered to be an all-timer.  However, due to the complexity and sensitivity of the ethnic issue in the region, I decided to leave him out.  He was born in Dragas, Kosovo.  His ethnicity is listed as Gorani.  I do not know if he is considered to be Serbian. Now, I listed him as a player from Kosovo.
-- Serbia and Montenegro was still known as FR Yugoslavia at the 1998 World Cup Finals. Dejan Savićević and Predrag Mijatović are from Montenegro.
-- I tried to mix players from the days of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia to the modern era. 
-- Sinisa Mihajlovic, Vladimir Jugovic, Dragan Stojkovic and Miroslav Djukic are from the Golden Generation of the 1990's.  Dejan Stanković was still a youth player in 1992.
-- Branislav Ivanović starred for Chelsea.  However, I opted for the older rightbacks, Branko Stanković and Milutin Ivković s.  He only made honorable mention.  Aleksandar Kolarov also should be on the team.
--Velibor Vasovic's career was defined by being a pioneer for Total Football when he played with Ajax.  He was credited for changing the way the game was played.
-- Nemanja Vidic is the best Serbian player to emerge after the end of Yugoslavia.  Dejan Stankovic another recent Serbian player was also underrated.  Nemanja Matić probably deserved a spot, but he is only on honorable mention.
-- Dejan Petkovic was relatively unknown in Europe, but he accomplished something few footballers were able to achieve. He found stardom playing league football in Brazil. I selected him for his cult status.
-- Dragan Džajić is considered one of the greatest left wing in history of the game. He is probably the greatest player from Yugoslavia before the breakup. And Dragan Stojkovic is probably the most famous player from the Golden Generation of the 1990's.
-- Savo Milosevic is probably among the most famous Serbian player after the end of Yugoslavia, but it is hard for him to displace the older players.
-- Miloš Milutinović was one of the Milutinović brothers. His brothers Bora and Milorad were also footballers.  Bora was a famous coach.

Starting lineup 
Formation I: 4-3-3

Formtion II: 4-2-3-1
This is a more defensive approach. I added Stankovic who is better defensively.



Friday, November 28, 2014

Bulgaria Greatest All-time Team


Bulgaria 1994
This is my all-time team for Bulgaria. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Barcelona
Former Yugoslavia(all republics),
Yugoslavia 1994,
Serbia Croatia,

The rest of Southeast Euorpe(Greece, Turkey and Albania).

Bulgaria qualified for four straight World Cup Finals between 1962 and 1974, but they left no impression. Finally, the birth of the Golden Generation in 1990's gave rise of the Bulgarian football. In November, 1993, Bulgaria won probably their most important match in history.   They pulled a dramatic upset of France at the last match of the World Cup Qualifying rounds by scoring the winning goal at the dying minutes of the match. They leapfrogged France and qualified for USA 1994. At the World Cup Finals, they came from behind to beat defending champion Germany 2-1 in the quarterfinal.  They went on to finish 4th.
World Cup 1986

Team
GK: Georgi Naydenov
Georgi Naydenov is considered the greatest Bulgarian goalkeeper for all time. Between 1955 and 1965 he played in 176 matches for CSKA Sofia. He was honoured as Bulgarian Footballer of the Year in 1961.  For Bulgaria, he had 51 caps.  He won a bronze medal at the1956 Summer Olympics.  He represented Bulgaria at 1962 and 1966 World Cup Finals.

GK: Borislav Mikhailov
Borislav Mikhailov was captain of the Bulgaria national team during their surprising fourth-place run at the 1994 FIFA World Cup, as well their participation in European Championship of 1996. He also played at the 1986 FIFA World Cup and is currently the second most capped player for the Bulgaria national team with 102 caps (60 as captain).  His son also played for Bulgaria as a goalkeeper.

GK: Apostol Sokolov 
Apostol Sokolov was Lev Yashin's idol.  He was believed to be one of the greatest keeper from Eastern Europe.  Sokolov started his career with FC Bulgaria Sofia. In 1939 he joined Levski Sofia. After six first-team games, Sokolov moved to Spartak Sofia. Then he played for Prince Kiril Sofia, before returned to Levski in 1944.He was capped 15 times for Bulgaria during the 1950's.  He is the father of Georgi Sokolov.

RB: Aleksandar Shalamanov
Aleksandar Shalamanov earned 42 caps for the Bulgarian national team, with which he participated in the World Cup 1966 and World Cup 1970.  He has participated in the Winter Olympics as an alpine skier in 1960.  He was a reserve player for Bulgaria's volleyball team in 1964. He began his career as a defender with CSKA Sofia in 1960-61, but moved to Slavia Sofia in 1961 to remain there until 1974, 

CB: Manol Manolov 
Manol Manolov played 57 games for Bulgaria and won a bronze medal at the 1956 Summer Olympics. Between 1948 and 1962 he played in 239 matches and scored 8 goals for CSKA Sofia. He was Bulgarian Footballer of the Year in 1958. He also played for Septemvri Sofia from 1944 to 1948 before joining CSKA.
  
CB: Dimitar Penev
Dimitar Penev is regarded as one of his country's best ever defenders.  He was awarded the Bulgarian footballer of the year in 1967 and 1971. At the international level, he also participated in 3 World Cup Finals for his country in 1966, 1970 and 1974. He started his career with Lokomotive Sofia in 1962.  He spent most of his career with CSKA Sofia.  He won 7 league titles for them. He was also known for his coaching career with CSKA Sofia, where he mentored Hristo Stoichkov, Emil Kostadinov, Martin Petrov, Stiliyan Petrov, Dimitar Berbatov, etc.
Dimitar Penev
CB: Ivan Dimitrov
Ivan Dimitrov was a tall, solid center-back. He played 340 matches in the first League during his career. He played mainly for PFC Lokomotiv Sofia and PFC Akademik Sofia at home.  He played 70 matches for the Bulgarian national team between 1957 and 1970.  He represented Bulgaria in the 1962 and 1970 FIFA World Cups.

CB:  Kiril Ivkov
Kiril Ivkov spent most of his career with Levski Sofia.   In 1974 and 1975 he was named Bulgarian Footballer of the Year. With the national team, he was capped 44 times between 1968 and 1979.  He played in the World Cup Finals in 1974.  He was also a part of the national team that won a silver medal at the 1968 Summer Olympics.

LB:  Boris Gaganelov
Boris Gaganelov was born in 1941. He made 51 appearances for the Bulgaria between 1963 and 1970 and 29 times as their captain. He represented Bulgaria at the FIFA World Cups in 1966 and 1970.  With CSKA, he played over 350 league games.  He won Bulgarian league 7 times and Bulgarian Cup 6 times.

LB: Trifon Ivanov 
Nicknamed "the Wolf" due to his appearance, Trifon Ivanov was a member of Bulgaria's Golden Generation that reached the semi-final of the 1994 World Cup in USA.  He also played in the 1996 European Championship and the 1998 World Cup in France. He was capped 76 times.  At the club level,  Ivanov started his career with Etar Veliko Tarnovo. He later played for Real Betis, Etar, CSKA, Neuchâtel Xamax, Rapid Wien, etc. He died in 2016 at he age of 50.
Trifon Ivanov 

LM/CM/AM: Yordan Letchkov
Letchkov had over 45 caps for Bulgaria, but he was best remembered for scoring the winning goal against Germany in the quarter-final at the World Cup Finals in 1994, which gave his country the best ever finish at a major tournament.  He also played at Euro 1996.  He played for CSKA Sofia, Hamburger SV, Olympique de Marseille and Beşiktaş. His longest career was spent with Hamburger SV between 1992 and 1996.

Zlatko Yankov was the defensive midfielder for Bulgaria's Golden Generation in the 1990's.  He was capped 80 times between 1990 and 1999.  He played at the World Cups in 1994 and 1998, and he was also in the Bulgarian Euro 1996.  He played for many clubs all over Europe: Strandzha, Naftex Burgas, Chernomoretz Burgas, Levski Sofia, Lokomotiv Sofia, Kameno, Real Valladolid, Bayer Urdingen, Besiktas , Adanaspor , Vanspor and Genclerbirligi. 

Stiliyan Petrov was most prominently played professionally for British clubs Celtic and Aston Villa.  At Celtic,  he became the first foreign player to win the SPFA Young Player of the Year award.  At Aston Villa, he was Players' Player of the Year: 2009, 2012.  He was also Bulgaria Player of the Year in 2003. He indicted to Aston Villa's Hall of Fame. He played 105 times for Bulgaria, appearing in Euro 2004.
Stiliyan Petrov(R) with Dimitar Berbatov 
RW: Hristo Bonev 
Between 1967 and 1979, Bonev played for the Bulgarian national team 96 times, scoring a record 48 goals. He played for his country at the 1970 and 1974 World Cups. Most of Bonev's club career was spent with Lokomotiv Plovdiv, but he also played for CSKA Sofia and AEK Athens FC. One of the greatest Bulgarian footballers, Bonev was renowned for his vision and technique.

RW/CM/SS:  Ivan Petkov Kolev
Ivan Petkov Kolev was considered to be one of the best ever Bulgarian player.  He was capped 75 matches with 25 goals. He represented Bulgaria at both the 1962 FIFA World Cup and the 1966 FIFA World Cup.  He won a bronze medal at the 1956 Summer Olympics.  He was the first Bulgarian to be nominated for Ballon d'Or.

LW: Martin Petrov
Martin Petrov was the 2006 Bulgarian Footballer of the Year.  He was with CSKA Sofia when he moved to Switzerland.  He went on to play in the Bundesliga, La Liga and the Premiership.  His international career started badly.  He was sent off for a second yellow card just eight minutes after coming on as a substitute. Nevertheless, he went on to capture 90 caps for Bulgaria, playing at Euro 2004.  
Martin Petrov
LW:  Dimitar Yakimov
Nicknamed "the poet of football" for his dribbling skills. Dimitar Yakimov was a star in the 1960's.  He went to three WC Finals: 1962, 1966 and 1970.  He scored the winning goal for Bulgaria in the World Cup qualifier play-off against France in 1961, leading his country to its first participation in a World Cup finals. Four years later, he again assisted on the important goal that helped Bulgaria to qualify for the WC Finals. He played mainly with CSKA Sofia.

AM: Krassimir Balakov 
Krassimir Balakov was one of the star player from the Golden Generation of the 1990's. He made 92 appearances for Bulgaria, between 1988 and 2003.  He was best remembered for forming a successful attacking partnership with strikers Fredi Bobic and Giovane Élber at Stuttgart, where he won two UEFA Intertoto Cups (2000 and 2002) and a DFB-Pokal (1997).  Before Stuttgart, He also had a successful spell with Sporting CP, playing with Luis Figo.

Krassimir Balakov 

ST: Nasko Sirakov
Nasko Sirakov is a legend at Levski Sofia in the 1980's.  In 1988, Sirakov moved abroad, playing in La Liga, with Real Zaragoza and RCD Español. He also played with Ligue 1's RC Lens. He was the Buglarian league top scorer four times.  He played in the World Cup Finals: 1986 and 1994.  He was a connection between the Golden Generation of 1990's to the 1986 World Cup team.  He also played at Euro 1996 at the age of 34.

ST: Georgi Asparukhov 
He is considered to be among the top Bulgarian footballers of all time. He was voted the best Bulgarian footballer of the 20th Century, ahead of Hristo Stoichkov.  He played for Levski Sofia from 1960 to 1961 and 1964 to 1971, and for Botev Plovdiv from 1961 to 1963.  Asparuhov was also nominated for the 1965 Ballon D'Or award, finishing eighth in the final standings. Asparuhov's career was cut short in 1971 at the age of 28 when he was killed in a vehicle accident.

ST:  Emil Kostadinov
He is best remembered for scoring two goals against France in the World Cup Qualfying match that helped Bulgaria to qualify for the WC in 1994.  He was capped 70 times.  Kostadinov started his career in CSKA Sofia. There he formed a trio with Hristo Stoichkov and Luboslav Penev in the late 1980s.  His best stint was with Porto where he spent 4 seasons and became a fan favourite. With Bayern Munich, he won the 1996 UEFA Cup with him scoring in the final itself.
Emil Kostadinov
ST: Dimitar Berbatov
Dimitar Berbatov is its all-time leading goalscorer for Bulgaria. He has also won the Bulgarian Footballer of the Year a record seven times, surpassing the number of wins by Hristo Stoichkov.  He started with CSKA Sofia, but earned his reputation with Bayer Leverkusen between 2001 and 2006, playing in the Champions league Final in 2002. After two seasons with Tottenham Hotspur, he joined Manchester United.

ST/FW: Hristo Stoichkov
Hristo Stoichkov is Bulgaria's greatest player. At the 1994 World Cup, Stoichkov was awarded the Golden Boot as the joint top goal scorer of the tournament with six goals, as well as earning the Bronze Ball award. Bulgaria reached the semifinal before losing to Italy. At Barcelona, he was part of Johan Cruyff's "dream team" that won four consecutive La Liga titles and one UEFA Champions League.  He also won the Ballon d'Or in 1994.
Hristo Stoichkov
Honorable Mention
Lyuboslav Penev, Nikolay Ilie, Dobromir Zhechev, Kiril Rakarov, Dinko Dermendjiev, Radostin Kishishev, Ivan Kolev, Atanas Mihaylov.

Squad Explanation
-- Apostol Sokolov was a piooner in the goalkeeper position. He is regarded as the first goalkeeper who began to leave the goal line like modern keepers and even Lev Yashin said Sokolov was his inspiration.
-- Georgi Asparukhov was voted as the greatest Bulgarian footballer of the Century, ahead of Hristo Stoichkov.
-- Eight members of this team came from the Golden Generation in the 1990's that reached the semifinal of the 1994 World Cup Finals. Hristo Stoichkov, Emil Kostadinov, Nasko Sirakov, Krassimir Balakov, Zlatko Yankov, Yordan Letchkov, Trifon Ivanov and Borislav Mikhailov all went to that WC Finals.
-- Borislav Mikhailov and Nasko Sirakov were also on the 1986 World Cup team.
-- Hristo Stoichkov needed no introduction.  He was runner-up for the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 1992 and 1994, and received the Ballon d'Or in 1994. 
-- Bulgaria qualified for four straight World Cup Finals between 1962 and 1974.  That generation was also considered to be very good even through Bulgaria had not won a single game in previous WC Finals.  It is streak hard to maintain.  Dimitar Penev and Dimitar Yakimov played in three of the four Finals.
-- Only four players did not come from the 4 straight WC Finals' period and the 1994 World Cup Finals.  Dimitar Berbatov, Martin Petrov and Stiliyan Petrov were from after the 1994 WC Finals. They achieved great club careers in the West after the end of communism. Goalkeeper Apostol Sokolov was from before the Communist era.  
-- Stiliyan Petrov was the first foreign player to win the SPFA Young Player of the Year award in Scotland.
-- Dimitar Berbatov was known for his career with Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich.
-- Bulgaria took the bronze medal at the 1956 Olympics and a silver medal in 1968.
-- Lyuboslav Penev was unable to participate at the WC Finals in 1994. He might have made the team if he had a good WC Finals.  He helped Atletico Madrid to win the league in 1996.  He only made honorable mention.
-- Dimitar Berbatov won the Bulgarian Player of the Year 7 times, a record. He is probable,y the best known Bulgarian footballer since the 1994.
-- Krassimir Balakov was best remembered for forming a successful attacking partnership with strikers Fredi Bobic and Giovane Élber at Stuttgart.  It was one of the most dynamtic trio in Europe.
-- It will take a lot more from Ivelin Popov to make this team. He is the best player of his generation.


Starting lineup