Sunday, December 18, 2016

Canada or Canadian-born Greatest All-time team

Canada at Mexico 1986

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

This is my selection of a 23 member all-time team for players born or capped by Canada.  I am including players who chose to represent other countries. The number 23 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the World Cup Finals.

Canada's most significant achievements are winning the 1985 CONCACAF Championship to qualify for the 1986 FIFA World Cup and winning the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup to qualify for the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup. Canada also won a gold medal in the 1904 Summer Olympics. The 1986 World Cup was their only successful qualification campaign in their history.
Canada's Gold Cup victory
GK: Joe Kennaway (Scotland, but also played for Canada)
Born in Canada.  He played in the American Soccer League between 1927 and 1931.  He moved to Scotland and joined Celtics in 1931.  He made 295 total appearances.  He represented Canada once in 1926.  In 1933, Kennaway represented Scotland to play against Austria.  Due to objections from other Home Nations, he never played for Scotland again.

GK: Craig Forrest 
Craig Forrest spent 12 years with Ipswich Town.  He also played with Chelsea and West Ham United, whilst also spending time on loan in the Football League with Colchester United. He was capped 56 times. He was voted the MVP of the 2000 Gold Cup as Canada won their first major international tournament.

GK: Asmir Begovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
The Begović family fled the Bosnian War to Germany and moved Canada when Asmir was 10 years old. He grew up in Canada and played for their youth team before switching to play for Bosnia and Herzegovina senior team. He helped Bosnia and Herzegovina to qualify for the WC in 2014.  Professionally, he started with Portsmouth. He spent most of his career with Stoke City in England. He was used as a backup for Chelsea.
Bergovic with Canada

RB: Robert Iarusci
In 2012, he was named to the all-time Canada XI men's team. He began his NASL career with Toronto Metros-Croatia. At the end of the 1977 season, he joined the New York Cosmos. They won consecutive Soccer Bowls. He was traded in the Spring of '79 to the Washington Diplomats and played there two seasons. Iarusci returned to the Cosmos to play 1981 through '83, and finished with the San Diego Sockers. He had 22 caps.

CM/RB: Atiba Hutchison 
Atiba Hutchison was six-time Canadian Player of the year in 2010 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. He was Danish Super Liga Player of the Year in 2010.  He was a central midfielder or a right wingback.  Between 2010 and 2013, he played for PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Eredivisie. At the time of writing, he plays for Beşiktaş J.K. From 2003, he played over 78 times for Canada.
Atiba Hutchison 
CB: Bob Lenarduzzi
Lenarduzzi began his career with Reading in England. He then joined Vancouver Whitecaps in 1974 in the team's first season. He played 11 seasons for Vancouver until the league folded in 1984. Lenarduzzi holds the record for most games played in the league, with 312. Lenarduzzi played all eleven positions during his tenure with the team. He was also voted NASL North American player of the year in 1978.  The Whitecaps won the NASL Soccer Bowl championship in 1979. Earned 47 caps and went to Mexico 1986.

CB: Jason de Vos 
He is considered to be Canada's greatest center-back.  He captained Canada as it won the Gold cup in 2000.  He made the Gold cup all-tournament team in 2000 and 2002.  He spent most of his career in the UK, playing for Dundee United, Wigan Atletic and Ipswich Town. In 2012 as part of the Canadian Soccer Association's centennial celebration, he was named to the all-time Canada XI men's team.

CB: Frank Yallop 
Frank Yallop played in the Premiership before moving to play in MLS in 1996.  He spent 13 seasons with Ipswich Town and a brief loan move to Blackburn rovers.  With Ipswich Town, he relegated to the seond divsion im 1986.  In 1992, he helped the club to gain to First Divison. He played with Tampa Bay Mutiny between 1996 and 1998.  He capped 52 times for Canada from 1990 and 1997.
Frank Yallop 

CB: Randy Samuel
Samuel started his career with the Edmonton Eagles and Vancouver Whitecaps, before joining PSV Eindhoven in 1985. Playing just five Eredivisie games for PSV, he moved on to FC Volendam in 1987, becoming a key member of the team until he moved on to league rivals Fortuna Sittard in 1990.   He later played for Port Vale , Harstad IL(Norway),Vancouver 86ers, the Hampton Roads Mariners, and the Montreal Impact. He went to Mexico 1986 for Canada.

LB: Bruce Wilson 
Considered to be Canada's greatest player. He captained Canada at the WC Finals in 1986.  He was capped 50 times. He played for the Vancouver Whitecaps from 1974 to 1977, the Chicago Sting in 1978 and 1979, the New York Cosmos in 1980, and the Toronto Blizzard from 1981 to 1984. He was a six-time all-star selection, including three first-team selections (Vancouver in '77, Chicago in '79, Toronto in '84).

DM/RB: Paul Stalteri 
Paul Stalteri is Canada's all-time cap record holder with 84 caps.  He was a member of Canada's Gold Cup winning team in 2000. He played over 150 times for Werder Bremen winning the Bundesliga in 2003-2004. He also played for Tottenham Hotspurs and Fulham.  He was elected Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame.

DM: Mike Sweeny
In 1980, the Edmonton Drillers of the North American Soccer League signed Sweeney. He spent three seasons with the Drillers before moving to the Vancouver Whitecaps for the 1983 season. While he began the 1984 season with the Whitecaps, he was traded to the Golden Bay Earthquakes. The NASL folded at the end of the 1984 season. He continued to play indoor soccer.  He was capped 61 times and went to Mexico 1986.

CM/DMJulian de Guzman 
Julian de Guzman is one of the most successful Canadian player in Europe.  He is best remembered for Deportivo La Coruna between 2005 and 2009.  He was voted their best player for the 2007-2008 season. He also had a remarkable career with Hanover 96. For the national team, he is capped 76 times at the time of writing.  He was the MVP for the 2007 Gold Cup.

CM: Owen Hargreaves (England)
Born in Canada, Hargreaves began his career with Bayern Munich. He spent 7 years there, winning the Champions League. He joined Manchester United in 2007, winning the Premier League and Champions League in his first season.  He was capped by Wales on the youth level, but played for England as a senior.  In 2001, he became the first English international who never lived in England.  He played in the WC Finals of 2002 and 2006, and the Euro 2004.
Owen Hargreaves
CM: Jonathan de Guzman (Holland)
Jonathan De Guzmán is the brother of Julian. He progressed through the Feyenoord Academy, making his first team debut in 2005. In 2010 de Guzmán signed with RCD Mallorca following a free transfer. The following summe.  he went to Villarreal.  He later played for Swansea and Napoli.  Born in Canada, he became a Dutch citizen in 2008.  He played for Holland youth side.  In 2013, he finally received his first senior cap.  He played at the World Cup Finals in 2014.
Jonathan de Guzman

LW: John van 't Schip (Holland)
Born in Canada, Van 't Schip began his career in the Jong Ajax youth academy. He would spend the next 11 seasons with the club. During this period he became league champion in 1982, 1983, 1985, and 1990, and cup champion in 1983, 1986 and 1987. He also helped Ajax win the 1987 European Cup Winners' Cup and the 1992 UEFA Cup. After Ajax's UEFA Cup victory, he was bought by Italian team Genoa, where he played four seasons.
John van 't Schip 
FW: Edward Hagarty Parry (England)
Born in Canada, Parry played 3 times for England in 1882. He scored once. He was captain (and goal-scorer) of the Old Carthusians team which won the 1881 FA Cup Final.   He was the first overseas-born captain of an FA Cup winning team. He was also a member of the Wanderers club as well as for Swifts of Slough, Remnants, Windsor, and Stoke Poges clubs.

FW: Tomasz Radzinski 
He played youth football in Poland and Germany before moving to Canada.   He began his career in Canada before he returned to Europe, joining Germinal Ekeren in Belgium in 1994. From there he eventually signed for Anderlecht. At Everton, Radziński scored 25 times in 91 Premiership outings before requesting a transfer, eventually securing a three-year deal with Fulham F.C. worth £1.75 million.  He played 46 times for Canada.
Tomasz Radzinski 
FW:  John Catliff
Catliff was an All-American at Harvard.  He was a Canadian Soccer League star, scoring the second most goals of anyone in the League's six-year history with 69 goals in total. He played with Calgary Kickers. He then spent the next six seasons with the Vancouver 86ers, who became the CSL champions in 4 consecutive seasons from 1988 through 1991. He was capped 44 times.  He missed Mexico 1986 through an injury.

FW:  Alex Bunbury
Born in Guyana, Bunbury started playing professionally in Canada. In 1993, after an unassuming season for West Ham United, he moved to Portugal's C.S. Marítimo, going on to become the club's all-time leading goalscorer in the Primeira Liga with 59 goals. In his second season, he won the Foreign Player of the Year award, and he scored a career-best 15 goals in the 1998–99 campaign. In early 1999, he joined Kansas City Wizards of MLS. Capped 65 times for Canada.
Alex Bunbury
ST:  Paul Peschisolido
Over 16 seasons, he played for 9 different clubs in England: Birmingham City, Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers, Sheffield United, Norwich City, Derby County and Luton Town.  From 1992 onward, he played 53 times for Canada, scoring 10 goals, in a 12-year senior international career. On 1 June 2013, he was inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame.

ST:  Dale Mitchell
Mitchell began his career with the Vancouver Whitecaps (1977, 1978), then played for the Portland Timbers (1979 to 1982) and for the Montreal Manic (1983). He was an original player with the Vancouver 86ers of the Canadian Soccer League and APSL for whom he scored 37 goals during seasons from 1988 to 1990 and 1992 to 1994. He was with the Toronto Blizzard for the 1991 season. Capped 55 times.  He played in Mexico 1986.

FW:  Dwayne De Rosario
He played for the Toronto Lynx, FSV Zwickau and Richmond Kickers early in his career. He came to prominence in the 2000s playing for the San Jose Earthquakes, Houston Dynamo, Toronto FC, NY Red Bulls and D.C. United. A four-time MLS Cup champion, he also won the 2011 MLS MVP award. He is the sixth-leading scorer in MLS history with 104 goals.  He was capped 81 times.  He was a part of the team that won the Gold Cup.
Dwayne De Rosario

Honorable Mention
Lydon Hooper, Lars Hirschfeld, Richard Hastings, Paul James, Mark Watson, Colin Miller, Norm McLeod, Wes McLeod, Mark Watson, Nick Dasovic, Carlo Corazzin, Colin Miller, Mike Stojanović, Kevin McKenna, Mark Watson, Pat Onstad, Ian Bridge, Paul Dolan, Paul James, Jim Brennan, Simeon Jackson, Sam Lenarduzzi, Lee Wilson,  Jimmy Douglas, Fred Whittaker, Geordie Campbell, Dave Turner, Errol Crossan, Mark Chung(USA), Daniel Fernandes (Portugal), Ricardo Ferreira (Portugal), John Little (Scotland), Alan Mannus (Northern Ireland), John Kerr Jr (USA), Ricardo Ferreira (Portugal), Jimmy Nicholl (Northern Ireland), Yassine Bounou (Morocco).

Squad Explanation
-- As titled, all players were born in Canada or capped by Canada.
-- Jimmy Nicholl (Northern Ireland) who was born in Canada went to the World Cup Finals in 1986, the same tournament where Canada qualified.  I decided to go with two Canadian rightbacks. Robert Iarusci is named by Canadian FA as its Best XI.  Atiba Hutchison probably would become one of the greatest Canadian players.
-- Asmir Begovic, Joe Kennaway (Scotland, but also played for Canada), Edward Hagarty Parry (England), John van 't Schip (Holland), Jonathan de Guzman (Holland) and Owen Hargreaves (England) were capped by other countries.  
-- John van 't Schip (Holland), Jonathan de Guzman (Holland) and Owen Hargreaves (England) had successful European club careers that none of the Canadian national team players could match.
-- Daniel Fernandes was born in Canada. He was capped twice by Portugal between 2007 and 2009. 
-- Julian and Jonathan de Guzman are brothers and represented different countries. Jonathan chose to represent Holland.
-- Landon Donovan's father was born in Canada, but Landon was born in the USA.  He is not Canadian. I don't think he should include in this blog.
-- Mark Chung was born in Toronto to Chinese Jamaican parents. His family moved from Toronto to Florida when he was twelve. He was one of the best players in MLS during the mid-1990's. He made my honorable mention.
-- Carlo Corazzin led Canada to the victory at the 2000 Gold Cup, but he only made honourable mention. The forwards who made this team were Catliff, De Rosario, Mitchell, Bunbury, Peschisolido and Radzinski.  They are all big names in Canadian football. Four of them were selected by the Canadian FA as their Best XI.  Both Radzinski and Peschisolido had one of the most successful club career for a Canadian international player.
-- I was reluctant to drop Kevin McKenna.  He was a part of the 2000 Gold Cup team and had a successful club career in Europe. The rest of the defensive corps was also outstanding. Iarusci, Wilson, Samuel and de Vos were selected by Canadian FA for their Best ever XI.  Bob Lenarduzzi holds the record for most games played in NASL. Frank Yallop is probably the most famous Canadian defender in the last 20 years. Hutchison is getting to be one of greatest Canadian footballer of all-time.
-- Dwayne De Rosario, Craig Forest,  Jason de Vos, Paul Stalteri,  Tomasz Radzinski, Alex Bunbury and Paul Peschisolido were on the 2000 Gold Cup winning team.  Six other players made the honourable mention: Pat Onstad, Kevin McKenna, Richard Hastings, Mark Watson, Nick Dasovic and Carlo Corazzin.
-- Bob Lenarduzzi, Bruce Wilson, Mike Sweeney, Randy Samuel and Dale Mitchell went to the 1986 WC Finals in Mexico. John Catliff missed the tournament because of an injury.  He contributed during the WC Qualifiers.
-- Except for the "foreign" players, Alex Bunbury, Atiba Hutchison and  Robert Iarusci are the only players who do not belong to the 2000 Gold Cup team or the 1986 World Cup team.
--Fred Whittaker, Geordie Campbell and Dave Turner played before the War.  Whittaker played for Notts County in 1946. Errol Crossan also played in England during the 1950's.  They only made honourable mention.
-- Fikayo Tomori also switched his international commitment to England at the youth level, but he has not played at the senior level.  He is an interesting prospect for this blog in the future.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

French-Born Players Capped by other national teams

Anthony Lopes and Guerreiro won the Euro 2016 after beating France in Paris
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

I have created blog entries for Brazilian-born players, Argentine-born players and German-born who were capped by other countries.  This is my selection of a 23 member all-time team for French-born players capped by other country.  The number 23 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the World Cup Finals. 

Due to its colonial past, France is becoming an ever-more-multiethnic society.  Many sons of immigrants decided to represent the national teams of their motherland.  At the 2014 World Cup, there were 25 French-born players representing other countries — 16 alone for Algeria. That's not only enough to field another full team for France, but also five more players than are actually on the French team, Les Bleus, in Brazil. 

At Euro 2016, Benatia, Mahrez and Aubameyang would have helped them.  Instead, they lost to Portugal that consisted two French-born players, Anthony Lopes and Guerreiro on their team.

I have also created an all-time team for:
Players born in the Overeseas Department and former French Colonies
French Black Players
Argentine-born players capped by other national teams
German-born players capped by other national Teams
Brazilian players capped by other national teams

GK: Anthony Lopes (Portugal)
Anthony Lopes came through the ranks with Olympique Lyonnais in France and made his professional debut in 2013.  At the time of writing, it is only club.  He made his first team debut in 2011.  Born in France of a Portuguese father, he chose to play for Portugal internationally.  He played for their youth team and then, the senior national team.  He was the backup keeper for the Euro 2016 winning team and the World Cup team in 2018.

GK: Raïs M'Bolhi (Algeria)
M'Bolhi was born in Paris, France to a Congolese father and Algerian mother. He started playing football (soccer) for RCF Paris. Then, he joined Olympique de Marseille, though he never made a league appearance before his release in January 2006. He played in Turkey, Bulgaria, the USA, Russia, etc. He was capped by France at the youth level before switching to Algeria.  He played in both WC Finals in 2010 and 2014.

GK: Charles Itandje (Cameroon)
Born in France, Charles Itandje was capped by France at the youth level, but chose to represent Cameroon at th senior level.  He was their starting keeper at 2014 World Cup Finals. He started with Lens in 2001.  in 2007, he moved to Liverpool, but did not find playing time. Since 2009. he has been playing in the Greek and Turkish league.

RB: Guy Demel  (Ivory Coast)
Demel started his career in France with Nîmes Olympique before joining English club Arsenal in 2000. He then played in Germany for ten years, signing for Borussia Dortmund in 2001 and then Hamburger SV in 2005. He also played with West Ham United and Dundee United. Demel was born in France but represented  Ivory Coast making 35 appearances. He was in the Ivorian squad for the 2006 and 2010 World Cups and the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations.

CB: Kalidou Koulibal (Senegal)
Kalidou Koulibal played with Metz and Ghent before making a move to Napoli.  He played for the U-20 French side. However, in early September 2015, Koulibaly changed federations and joined the Senegal national football team, despite the interest to call him for Les Bleus from Didier Deschamps.

CB: Medhi Benatia (Morocco) 
Born in France of Moroccan and Algerian roots, Medhi Benatia  chose to play for Morocco. He first made a name with Udinese and then, AS Roma, where he was considered a top defender in the Serie A.  In the summer of 2014, he joined Bayern Munich.  In 2016, he returned to Italy to play for Juventus.  Since 2008, he has been representing Morocco.  He was a part of the team that went to the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russia.
Medhi Benatia

CB: Noureddine Kourichi (Algeria)
Born in France, Noureddine Kourichi chose to represent Algeria. Between 1980 and 1985, he had 30 caps for Algeria. He played in the 1982 and 1986 World Cup Finals. He played in 5 out of six games in those Finals.  For club football, he played with Valenciennes, Girondines Bordeaux and Lille in France.  

CB: Abdoulaye Méïté (Ivory Coast)
Born in France, Abdoulaye Méïté was capped 46 times for Ivory Coast.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 2006. He played across Europe for various clubs.  His longest career was with Olympique de Marseille, where he played between 2000 and 2006.  He also played in England for Bolton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion.  

LB:  Benoît Assou-Ekotto (Cameroon)
Benoît Assou-Ekotto was born in France of Cameroonian heritage. He chose to represent Cameroon in football after rejecting callus by the French youth team.  He was capped 24 times between 2009 and 2014, He was a member of Cameroon's World Cup team in 2010 and 2014.  He started his career with Lens.  He had played 7 seasons with Tottenham Hotspurs.  He also played for Queen's Park Rangers, St. Etienne and FC Metz.    
Benoît Assou-Ekotto 

LB: Raphaël Guerreiro (Portugal)
Born in France, Raphaël Guerreiro began his career at Caen, signing in 2013 with Lorient where he made his Ligue 1 debut. In June 2016, he joined Borussia Dortmund. Guerreiro represented Portugal at under-21 and senior level, first appearing for the latter in 2014. He was part of their squad at Euro 2016, winning the tournament.

CM/DM: Mohamed "Momo" Sissoko (Mali)
Momo Sissoko began his professional career with Valencia in Spain.  He would play for Liverpool, PSG, Juventus, Forientina and Shanghai Shenhua. Born in France, he was capped by Mali between 2003 and 2013. He is the nephew of Salif Keita, and the uncle of Seydou Keita. At the end of his career, he played  club football in India, China, Mexico and Hong Kong.

CM/DM: Petit (Portugal)
Born in France, Peit's full name was Armando Gonçalves Teixeira, he received the moniker Petit because of his small frame, and also because he was born in France. He moved back to Portugal when he was young.  He made his name with Boavista FC before joining Benfica in 2002. He also played for Koln in Germany.  He was capped 58 times. He was also a member of the national team that reached the final at the Euro 2004, hosted by Portugal.  He also went to the World Cup in 2006 and Euro 2008.
CM/DM: Tobias Linderoth (Sweden)
Tobias Linderoth began his career in Sweden and Norway. In 2001, he joined Everton in the English Preimer League. Later, he played for  Copenhagen and Galatasaray.  Linderoth was a midfield dynamo on the Swedish national team, where he also served as the vice-captain. Tobias played for Sweden in the European Championship of both 2004 and 2008, as well as in the 2002 and 2006  World Cup tournaments. He was born in France while his father Anders Linderoth was playing football there.
Tobias Linderoth
AM/CM: Dušan Maravić (Yugoslavia)
Born in France, his family moved back to Yugoslavia after the War. In 1958, aged 19 he became a member of Yugoslavian giants Red Star Belgrade. In six years with Red Star,  Maravić appeared in 232 official matches, scoring 82 goals. He was capped 7 times. After winning the gold Olympic medal, he was allowed to go abroad. He played for Racing Paris until 1969 when he shortly moved to OFK Beograd, and then proceed to Venezuelan Deportivo Italia.

AM/RW: Mustapha Hadji (Morocco)
Mustapha Hadji grew up in France, but chose to represent Morocco in 1993. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1994 and 1998.  After the World Cuo Finals in 1998, he won the African Player of the Year award that year.  He was named the 50th greatest African player of all time by African football expert Ed Dove. Professionally, he played for many clubs mainly in Spain and England. He had stints with Nancy, Sporting SP, Deportivo La Coruna, Coventry, Aston Villa, etc.
Mustapha Hadji
RW: Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)
Born in France, Riyad Mahrez joined Leicester from La Harve in 2014.  He helped Leicester Town to win the Premiership in 2015-2016.  He won the PFA Players' Player of the Year, and was a member of the Premier League PFA Team of the Year as he helped Leicester City win the Premier League.  In 2018, he joined Manchester City. For the national team, he was eligible to play for France. He was selected to play for Algeria at Brazil 2014, but only played in one match. 
Riyad Mahrez 
LW/FW: Istvan Nyers (Hungary)
Istvan Nyers was of the same age as the members of the Mighty Magyars, but he was not a member of them.  He was capped twice by Hungary between 1945 and 1946. Born in France of Hungarian immigrants, he moved back to Hungary and played for various clubs in Eastern Europe.   He joined Inter Milan in 1948, where he won two Serie A titles and finished as the top scorer of the league.

LW: Andre Ayew (Ghana)
Ayew is the son of Abedi Pele.  He began his career in Ghana, playing for Nania. In 2005, he signed with his father's former club, Marseille. He made over 200 appearances and winning consecutive Trophée des champions and Coupe de la Ligues in both 2010 and 2011. He also played for Swansea. In 2011 Ayew was named the BBC African Footballer of the Year and Ghanaian Footballer of the Year. He represented Ghana at the WC Finals in 2010 and 2014.

LW/AM: Joseph-Desire Job (Cameroon)
Job played for Lens and Lyons in France. After starting his career in France, Job moved to English team Middlesbrough, where he spent six years and is most remembered for scoring one of the two goals in the 2004 League Cup Final, where Middlesbrough won their first ever trophy. He also played for clubs in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Belgium. Whilst playing for Saudi club Al-Ittihad, he won the 2005 AFC Champions League and scored in the final.

FW: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)
He began his career at Milan, who loaned him to four French clubs before he joined Saint-Étienne permanently in 2011. After winning the 2013 Coupe de la Ligue Final, he joined Dortmund, where he has twice won the DFL-Supercup in 2013 and 2014. Despite playing once for France Under-21, Aubameyang made his senior international debut for Gabon in 2009, and has represented them at three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and the 2012 Olympics. He is the African Player of the Year of 2015.

ST: Frederic Kanoute  (Mali)
Frederic Kanoute won two UEFA Cups while playing for Sevilla in Spain.  He was African Player of the Year in 2007.  He was born in France.  He was capped by French youth team, but he did not received any senior callup from France. He represented Mali internationally in the senior level.  He also played in France for Lyon, in England for West Ham and Tottenham, and in China for Beijing Guoan.
Frederic Kanoute 
ST: Marouane Chamakh (Morocco)
Born in France, Marouane Chamakh played for the French youth team before switching to play for Morocco at the senior level.  He had 64 caps between 2003 and 2014. For his club career, he started his career with Bordeaux before moving to England, where he played for Arsenal, West Ham and Crystal Palace.

ST: Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina)
Higuain first starred for River Plate in Argentina.  He joined Real Madrid in 2006.  He would stay with the club until 2013.  Higuain later played with Napoli and Juventus.  In the 2015–16 season, he scored 36 league goals, winning the Capocannoniere title and equalling Gino Rossetti's 87-year-old record for goals in an Italian top-flight season. For the national team, he earned 52 caps.  He was brought into the national team after Argentina struggled to qualify for South Africa 2010.
Gonzalo Higuain 

Honorable Mention
Jacques Fatton(Switzerland), Adrien Silva(Portugal), Madjid Bougherra (Algeria), Mamadou Samassa(Mali), Faouzi Ghoulam (Algeria), Demba Ba (Senegal), Jordan Ayew (Ghana), Sofiane Feghouli (Algeria), Ludovic Obraniak (Poland), Jan Michaelsen (Denmark), Jean-Joël Perrier-Doumbé (Cameroon),  Moussa Sow (Senegal), Lamine Sané (Senegal), Ali Ahamada (Comoria), Erwin Vandendaele (Belgium), Sanjin Prcić (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Sanel Jahić (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Nicolas Pépé (Ivory Coast).

Squad Explanation
--  This blog post is based on birth place.  
-- All French-born players who were capped by France in the senior level and later switched to another national team are not selected.  France did not lose those players.
-- Tobias Linderoth  is the son of Swedish football coach Anders Linderoth.  His selection to this team is based upon his birth place.
-- Gonzalo Higuaín was born in France while his Argentine father was playing club football there.  
-- The father of the Ayew brothers is Abedi Pele.  So they played for Ghan and they were Ghanians, but this blog was about the place of birth.
-- Mustapha Hadji who who was eligible for France chose to play for Morocco in 1993 before France was eliminated by Bulgaria in the World Cup Qualifiers.  He did not know that France won't be going to the 1994 World Cup Finals when he earned his first cap for Morocco.  His decision had not nothing to do with France's elimination from the World Cup Finals. If he chose to play for France, Hadji might make an impact during France's Golden Generation in the 1990's.
-- I only brought 10 defenders so that I can bring Joseph-Desire Job.
-- I chose two leftbacks out of Raphaël Guerreiro, Faouzi Ghoulam, and Benoît Assou-Ekotto.
-- Leroy Sané was born in Germany, which made him ineligible for this team.  His father Souleyman Sané grew up in France and met Leroy's mother while serving in the French army stationed in Germany.  He played for Senegal internationally.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Black Portuguese Greatest All-Time Team

Euro 2016 Final
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
French Black Players 
African American Players,
Black Portuguese Players
Afro-Brazilian Players 

This is my selection of a 23 member all-time team for Black Portugese players.  The number 23 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the World Cup Finals.

Afro-Portuguese, African-Portuguese or Black Portuguese are Portuguese citizens or residents of Portugal with total or partial ancestry from any of the Black ethnic groups of Africa. Most of those perceived as Afro-Portuguese are descent of immigrants from former Portuguese overseas provinces in Africa. Alternatively, Afro-Portuguese may also refer to populations of partial Portuguese descent living throughout Africa.

The impact of Black players on Portuguese football is great.  Eusebio and Mario Coluna were leading members of Portugal's Gold Generation in the 1960's.  Eder scored the winning goal at Euro 2016.

Please also see:
Black Players who played for England 
African-American Players
French Black Players
African-American Players
Afro-Brazilian Players 

GK: Nuno Espírito Santo
During his club career, Nuno first made a name for himself in Spain, playing for three teams in five years between 1997 and 2002. He later represented Porto in his country, albeit with little impact, and also played professionally in Russia. Nuno was part of the Portuguese squad at the Euro 2008, but never won a cap for the national team. He represented and played at the 1996 Summer Olympics.

GK: Ernesto
Born in Portugal, Ernesto represented Cape Verde internationally. In the summer of 2009, he signed for A.D. Carregado, where he remained for one season following the club's relegation to the third tier. In December 2012, Ernesto signed for Mozambican side Vilankulo F.C.

GK: Fernando
Born in Portugal, Fernando's full name was Fernando Domingos Pereira. He represented Angola internationally.  He earned a total of 3 caps.  He played for Santa Clara from 1997 to 2008.

RB: Jose Bosingwa
Born in Mbandaka, Zaire to a Portuguese father and a Congolese mother, Jose Bosingwa started with Boavista before joining  FC Porto coached by José Mourinho for 2003–04.  He played 8 matches as Porto won the Champions' League that season. In 2008, he joined Chelsea along with his national teammmate Deco.  Later, he also played in Turkey.  He was capped 25 times for Portugal between 2007 and 2015. He went to the Euro 2008.
Jose Bosingwa

RB: Miguel
Miguel played the vast majority of his professional career with Benfica (five seasons) and Valencia (seven). Miguel gained 59 caps for Portugal during the 2000s, and represented the country in two World Cups (2006 and 2010) and as many European Championships (2004 and 2008). In 2004, he was a part of the national team that finished second in Euro 2004.

CB: Vicente Lucas
Born in Mozambique while it was under Portugal, Vicente played for C.F. Os Belenenses in 13 Primeira Liga seasons, making his debut in 1954 and winning the Portuguese Cup six years later. He gained 20 caps for Portugal, his debut coming on 3 June 1959 in a 1–0 win against Scotland.  He was a member of the 1966 World Cup squad.

CB: Bruno Alves 
Bruno Alves spent most of his professional career at Porto, winning a total of nine titles, seven as first-choice, and appearing in 171 official games. He also won trophies in Russia with Zenit St. Petersburg, and in Turkey with Fenerbahçe. A Portuguese international since 2007, Alves represented the country in two World Cups and three European Championships, winning the 2016 edition of the latter tournament.

CB: Pepe
Born in Brazil, Pepe moved to Portugal playing for Maritimo.  In 2004, he moved to Porto while he established himself as one of the best defender in Portugal.  In 2007, he earned a dream move to Real Madrid.  At the time of writing, he won two Champions' league with them.  Although born in Brazil, he chose to represent Portugal.  At Euro 2016, he emerged as one of Portugal's best player as Portugal won their first ever international trophy.  He earned the Man of the Match in the Final against France.
CB: Abel Xavier
Abel Xavier played for clubs in Portugal, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, England, Turkey, Germany and the USA.  Xavier was selected for UEFA Euro 2000, and became one of the key figures in the competition, not only due to playing some of his best football but also due to a distinctly bleached-blonde hairstyle with a matching beard. 

CB: Jorge Andrade  
Jorge Andrade started with Estrela da Amadora and was bought by Porto FC in 2000.  After Japan/Korea 2002, he joined Deportivo La Coruna.  In 2007, he joined Juventus, but this spell was very unsuccessful due to injuries.  He was capped 51 times by Portugal and went to the World Cup Finals in 2002 and the European Championship in 2004.

LB: Hilario 
Hilario was first noticed at Sporting de Lourenço Marques in Portuguese Mozambique along with teammate Eusébio.  He joined Sporting CP in 1958 while Eusebio went to Benfica. He played his entire professional career with Sporting CP, appearing in nearly 450 official games and winning seven major trophies.  He was the starting leftback of Portugal in 1960's.   He went to the 1966 World Cup finals in England.

DM: Costinha
Costinha played in the lower division in Portugal before getting discovered by Monaco. In 2001, he joined FC Porto, where he was a part of the team that won the Champions league in 2003. He also played in Russia, Italy and Spain.  Capped over 50 times.  He played at both Euro 2004 and 2000, and the 2006 FIFA World Cup. D uring the latter, on 25 June, he took part in the Battle of Nuremberg, being one of four players sent off against the Netherlands after two bookable offenses. 
DM: William Carvalho 
Born in Luanda, Angola, Carvalho moved to Portugal when he was just a few years old. At the time of writing, except two loan spells, he has mainly played for Sporting SP.  Carvalho first grained international recognition when he was named player of the tournament at the 2015 European Under-21 Championship.  At Euro 2016, he established as a starter of the national team.  He was also a member of Portugal's team at the 2014 WC Finals.  

DM: Oceano
Born in Cape Verde, he was probably the greatest player from there. Oceano's family emigrated to Portugal when he was a child. He started his career at Almada A.C. in the lower leagues and after spells in the second division with Odivelas F.C. and C.D. Nacional, he signed with Sporting Clube de Portugal for the 1984–85 season.  He appeared in over 400 matches for two spells.  In between, he played for Real Sociedad and Toulouse.  He earned 54 caps and was a top player in the early 1990's.  He went to Euro 1996.

CM: Renato Sanches 
Renato Sanches played for Benfica for a single season (2015-2016) before moving to Bayern Munich in 2016.  He played a big role during Portugal's Euro 2016 winning campaign. 
At one point, he was considered one of the best young midfielder in the world.  Since his move to Germany, he has yet to live up his promise. He was not called up for the 2018 World Cup Finals.

CM: Mario Coluna 
Mario Coluna is one of the greatest player ever for both Portugal and Benfica. He spent most of his career with Benfica, appearing in 525 official games and scoring 127 goals during 16 professional seasons. Dubbed Monstro Sagrado (Sacred Monster), he won 19 major titles with his main club, including ten national leagues. He won two European Cup with Benfica in 1961 and 1962.  He was the captain of Portugal in the 1966 World Cup. He was known to be Eusebio's friend and his top assister on the field.
Captain of Portugal in 1966
LW: Silvestre Varela
He represented mainly Sporting and Porto during his career, amassing Primeira Liga totals of 212 games and 44 goals over the course of nine seasons and winning 11 major titles with the latter, including three national championships and the 2011 Europa League. He also competed professionally in Spain, England and Italy. Varela appeared for Portugal at Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup, scoring in both tournaments.

LW/AM: Luís Boa Morte
Having come through the youth ranks with Sporting Clube de Portugal, Boa Morte received his first big break by joining Premier League side Arsenal in 1997. He also went on to play for Southampton, Fulham and West Ham United. He joined Greek side Larissa before moving on to South African side Orlando Pirates. In October 2012 he returned to England and joined fourth-tier side Chesterfield. Boa Morte earned 28 caps for Portugal and was selected for the 2004 Olympics and the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

RW: Nani
Nani came through the ranks of Sporting CP.  In 2007, he joined Manchester United, where his career was up and down. He was a part of the team that won the Champions' League in 2009. He earned over a 110 caps for Portugal.  He is a regular member of the national team from 2006 onward. He contributed to Portugal's winning Euro 2016 as one of their key players. He also particoipated at the 2014 World Cup Finals in Brazil.
FW: Liedson 
Liedson moved to Sporting CP in 2003 after playing for Corinthians and Flamengo without successes. From 2003 to 2011, he scored 173 goals for them, becoming one of the club's greatest players.  He helped them to reach the UEFA Cup Final in 2005.  With Corinthians, he won the Copa Libertadores in 2012. Although he is a Brazilian by birth, he chose to play for Portugal.  He was first capped by Portugal in 2009 and went to play at the World Cup in 2010. He had 15 caps in total.

ST: Eder
Born in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, Eder made his Primeira Liga debut for Académica on 24 August 2008.  He also played for Braga, Swansea, Lille and Lokomotiv Moscow.  At time of the writing, he has 32 caps, but unfortunately, known for his low scoring rate. However, he scored the only goal against France at the Final of Euro 2016 that gave Portugal its first ever major international trophy. He was also on the 2014 World Cup team.
Eder scoring against France 
ST: Rui Jordão 
Rui Jordão played for Benfica, Sporting CP, Racing Zaragoza and Vitoria SC.  With Sporting CP, he was the league's top scorer twice and was Portuguese Player of the Year in 1980.  He had 37 caps in total.  He was probably best remembered for scoring twice against France at the semifinal of Euro 1984 in one of the most famous game of the tournament. 

ST: Eusebio 
Along with Pele, he was considered to be the best player in the world during the 1960's.  He helped Portugal reach third place at the 1966 World Cup, being the top goalscorer of the tournament with nine goals (including four in one match against North Korea) and received the Bronze Ball award. He won the Ballon d'Or award for European footballer of the year in 1965 and was runner-up in 1962 and 1966. He played for Benfica 15 out of his 22 years as a footballer.  He won the European Cup in 1961.

Honorable Mention
José Luís Vidigal, Rolando, Nelson Marcos, Jorge Cadete, Danilo Pereira, Nélson Semedo.

Squad Explanation
-- I have difficult time looking for goalkeepers.  I found 4 keepers, whom I knew nothing about.  I chose three with the most experience according to their bios. Nuno was the only one with some international experience with Portugal. And I made an exception case of including Portuguese-born goalkeepers of African decent who chose to represent a country other than Portugal.
-- Jose Aguas was born in Angola, but he was not of African descent.
-- Eder scored the most important goal ion Portugal's history.  That put him in a special place in Portugal's football history.
-- Renato Sanches is actually too young, but he contributed to the Euro 2016 victory.  At the time of writing, his career with Bayern Munich has not panned out.  He is fading quickly. However, his contribution for Euro 2016 is too important for the history of Portuguese football.  I am keeping him on the squad as of 2018, but his status will be reviewed.
-- William Carvalho also played a part in that victory, but when I first created the blog, he only made honourable mention.  In 2017, I decided to select him to the squad.  I dropped José Luís Vidigal who spent his career playing in Italy 
-- According to various source, Cristano Ronaldo is of Cape Verdean descent. I excluded him because of the uncertainty.