Thursday, June 29, 2017

Anderlecht Greatest All-Time Team

UEFA Cup Winner: 1982-1983
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.


This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for the club.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.

RSC Anderlecht  won their first major trophy after World War II with a championship win in 1946–47. Since then, they have never finished outside the top six of the Belgian first division. They are ranked 12th amongst all-time UEFA club competition winners. Between 1975 and 1978, they won two Cup Winners' Cup in two years.  In 1986, they won the first UEFA Cup.

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for the club.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League. 

1976 Cup Winners' Cup Winner
Team
GK: Henri Meert (Belgium)
Henri Meert was the goalkeeper of Sporting Anderlecht in the entire 1950s. For eight times he took home the Belgian Championship with the Mauves. He played 343 official matches (among which 312 in the first division) for the club. At the international level, he appeared 33 times in the Belgian national selection. He was born 27 August 1920 in Schaerbeek, Belgium. 

GK: Jacky Munaron (Belgium)
Jacky Munaron started with FC Dinant in 1973. In 1974, Jacky was discovered by RSC Anderlecht.  Munaron stayed in total 15 seasons in Anderlecht, from 1974 until 1989. He was four times champion with Anderlecht, won 4 times the Belgian Cup, two times the Europacup II and the UEFA-cup in 1983.  He was capped 8 times between 1982 and 1986. He went to three major tournaments as Jean-Marie Plaff's backup. He was born in 1956.
Jacky Munaron
GK: Filip De Wilde (Belgium)
During a 23-year professional career Filip De Wilde played mainly with Anderlecht, appearing in nearly 400 official games in two different spells. He started with Anderlecht as a replacement for Jacky Munaron. He also competed in Portugal and Austria. De Wilde earned 33 caps, represented Belgium for 11 years, playing for the country in three World Cups and Euro 2000.

RB: Gilbert Van Binst (Belgium)
Gilbert Van Binst was capped 15 times.  He was a part of Belgian team that finished third at Euro 1972.  He played for more than 10 seasons for R.S.C. Anderlecht. He won two UEFA Cup Winners Cup. At the end of his career, he played a single season for Toulouse FC and two more seasons with Club Brugge.  He retired in 1983.

RB: Georges Heylens (Belgium)
The rightback was one club man.  He played his entire career with Anderlecht.  He won 7 Belgian championship titles with the club. At the international level, he earned 67 Belgian team caps between 1961 and 1973.  He played all three games in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, but Belgium was eliminated in the first round. He earned his 50th cap in Mexico.  He was a part of the team that finished third at Euro 1972, the tournament put Belgium on the map.
Georges Heylens 
RB/CB: Georges Grun (Belgium)
Georges Grün played for Anderlecht in two separated stints and for Parma in between.  He earned 77 caps for Belgium.  He is most famous in his home country for scoring the away goal that qualified Belgium at the expense of their neighbours Netherlands in the 1986 World Cup qualifying rounds. Belgium would go on to a very respectable fourth-place finish. He played in three FIFA World Cups for the Belgium national football team (1986, 1990 and 1994).

CB: Hugo Broos (Belgium)
 For more than ten years he was their central defender and helped them win three European trophies: UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: (1975–76) and (1977–78), and UEFA Cup (1982–83). Between 1974 and 1986 he gained 24 caps and finishing fourth at the World Cup in Mexico in 1986. In 1983 started playing for Club Brugge. He played there for five seasons until season 1987–88. 

SW: Laurent Verbiest (Belgium)
Nicknamed "Lorenzo the Magnificent",  he started at AS Ostend before joining Anderlecht in 1960. With Belgium,  he played 23 matches2 including a famous friendly match between Belgium and Netherlands in 1964 where Belgium field a squad entirely made up of players from Anderlecht in the second half. Lorenzo died prematurely in a road accident in Ostend, on 2 February 1966, when he was not 27 years old.


CB: Morten Olsen (Denmark)
Morten Olsen was one of the greatest Danish players ever.  He captained the Danish national team in 50 games during the 1980s, and represented Denmark at the 1984 European Championship, 1986 FIFA World Cup, and 1988 European Championship.  He was named Danish Player of the Year in1983 and 1986. For his club career, he won the 1983 UEFA Cup with Anderlecht. He also played for Cercle Brugge K.S.V., Koln, etc.
Morten Olsen 
LB: Henrik Andersen (Denmark)
Andersen played eight years at Belgian club RSC Anderlecht, with whom he won the 1983 UEFA Cup. He joined Koln in 1990.  He represented Denmark in 30 matches, and scored two goals. He represented Denmark at the 1986 World Cup and the triumphant Euro 1992 tournament, where he suffered a serious knee injury, during the semi-final.

LB: Adri Van Tiggelen (Holland)
Van Toggelen was the starting left back at Euro 1988, where Holland won its first major international trophy.  He earned 56 caps.  He also went to the 1990 World Cup in Italy and the 1992 European Championship in Sweden. At the club level, he played mainly for Sparta Rotterdam early on in his career.  He later moved to Anderlectd and PSV.


CB/DM: Arie Haan (Holland)
Haan won three European Cups with Ajax in the 1970's as member of that great club team.  In 1975, he moved to Anderlecht and became a part of the club's most successful team, winning two Cup Winners' Cup.  He also joined Standard Liege and reached the Final of 1982 Cup Winners' cup Final.  He later joined PSV late in his career before playing in Hong Kong. He was a key player at both WC Finals in 1974 and 1978.  in 1978, he scored two long range goals that were considered among the best ever goals at the WC Finals.

AM/CM: Enzo Scifo (Belgium)
Enzo Scifo was among the greatest ever Belgian footballer. He was born in Belgium of Italian background. He made his name with Anderlecht, helping the team to the 1984 UEFA Cup Final.  He also played in both France and Italy.  He appeared for Belgium in the World Cups of 1986, 1990, 1994, and 1998, playing sixteen games in total.  He was a star at the World Cup Finals in 1986 and 1990, where he scored one of the best goals of the tournament in 1990.  
Enzo Scifo
LW/CM: Ludo Coeck (Belgium)
Ludo Coeck played Berchem Sport, Anderlecht, Internazionale and Ascoli Calcio. Capped for the Belgian national team 46 times. He went to Spain 82, where he scored with a long-range free-kick against El Salvador, and at Euro 84, where he appeared as a substitute in the defeats by France and Denmark. He died in a car accident right after signing for R.W.D. Molenbeek in 1985.

AM/RW/CM: Armand Joseph Jurion (Belgium)
Jurion was an all-time great with Anderlecht. He spent most of his club career at R.S.C. Anderlecht where he won 8 championship titles and one Cup and was awarded 2 Golden Shoe.  In 1962, he led his club team to eliminate Real Madrid at the European Cup. He scored a goal in the game, earning the nickname of "Mister Europe".  He was capped 64 times. He played at 7 different positions and scored 9 times for Belgium.
Joseph Jurion 
RW/SW: Pierre Hanon (Belgium)
Pierre Hanon signed to Anderlecht in 1945 as a young player. He was first called in the first team in 1954. He played for them until 1954, where he joined Cercle Bruges KSV. Hanon was right wing, but became a libero at the end of his Anderlecht career. He also played for RAEC Mons. At the international level, he played 48 timed for Belgium.

RW: François Van der Elst (Belgium)
From 1969 to 1980 Van der Elst played for R.S.C. Anderlecht. In 1976 he was part of the 1975–76 European Cup Winners' Cup-winning squad, netting twice in the final against West Ham United (4–2) and, in the following season's league, was crowned the competition's top scorer at 21 goals, as the Brussels side finished in second position. He also played for NY Cosmos and West Ham.  He was capped 44 times and went to Euro 1980.

LW: Franky Vercauteren (Belgium)
Vercauteren made his first team debut for Anderlecht in 1975. He won the five European titles with Anderlecht (two European Cup Winners' Cups, one UEFA Cup and two European Supercups). In 1987, he joined Nantes in France and came back to Belgium three years later to play with Molenbeek. Vercauteren played 63 times with the Belgium national team. He was part of the squad that finished fourth at the 1986 FIFA World Cup, and also featured in the 1982 World Cup and at UEFA Euro 1984. 

AM: Pär Zetterberg (Sweden)
Zetterberg started his career at his local club, but after only seven game, he joined the Belgian team RSC Anderlecht. He has remained loyal to Anderlecht, except for spells at Charleroi (1991–1993) and Olympiacos F.C. (2000–2003).  He has twice been football player of the year in Belgium and won the Guldbollen as the Swedish Footballer of the Year in 1997.  His international career was limited by a row he had Tommy Söderberg. He only had 30 caps for Sweden.
Pär Zetterberg 

LW/FW: Rob Rensenbrink (Holland)
Rob Rensenbrink had an uneventful career in Holland playing an amateur side named DWS before he moved to play in Belgium.  He first played for Club Brugge, but his greatest height was with Anderlecht, where he played from 1971 to 1980.  He won two Cup Winners' Cup in 1976 and 1978.  He also played in the NASL and in France for Toulouse FC. For the national team, he earned 46 caps for Holland.  He was a key player as Oranje reached both World Cup Final in 1974 and 1978.
Rob Rensenbrink
FW/SS: Paul Van Himst 
Paul Van Himst is viewed as the greatest Belgian player of all-time. He played mainly for Anderlecht.  He won the Belgian championship 8 times, all of them with Anderlecht. He won the Golden Shoe(the Belgian Player of the Year award), a record 4 times.  For the Red Devils, he was capped 80 times between 1960 and 1974.  He put Belgium's football on the map by leading them to 3rd place at European Championship in  1972.  He also went to the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico.
Paul Van Himst 
ST: Wilfried Puis (Belgium)
Wilfried Puis won the Belgian Golden Shoe in 1964 while playing for Anderlecht. In November 1971 Puis moved to rival Club Brugge. He also played for Lokeren.  Puis was in the Belgium-Netherlands match in 1964 with 10 teammates from Anderlecht after the substitution of goalkeeper Delhasse by Jean Trappeniers. In total, he played 49 times for the national team between 1962 and 1975., He played in the 1970 World Cup.

ST: Erwin Vandenbergh (Belgium)
Between 1981 and 1991, he finished six times topscorer of the Belgian First Division, with three clubs (the first three with Lierse, the following two with Anderlecht, and the last one with Gent). In 1981, he was European topscorer with 39 goals out of 34 games. As a Belgian national team regular Vandenbergh scored a memorable victory goal against Argentina in the opening game of the 1982 World Cup in Spain. Vandenbergh also played for the French club Lille. 

ST: Joseph Mermans (Belgium)
Joseph Mermans played much of his career at Anderlecht, with whom he won 7 Belgian Championship titles and finished top scorer of this competition 3 times. Mermans played 56 matches with the Belgium national football team, 2 of which in the 1954 FIFA World Cup. He is also the 4th top scorer ever for the Belgium national team with 27 goals.

ST: Luc Nilis  (Belgium)
Luc Nilis played for K.F.C. Winterslag, R.S.C. Anderlecht, PSV Eindhoven and Aston Villa. During his time with PSV, Nilis formed one of the deadliest partnerships in Europe with team-mate Ruud van Nistelrooy, who signed for PSV in 1998. He joined Aston Villa in 2000,  but his career there was limited to a serious injury. Nilis was capped 58 times for Belgium.  He went the World Cup Finals in 1994 and 1998 as well as the European Championship in 2000, co-hosted by Belgium.
Luc Nilis 

Honorable Mention
Silvio Proto, Jean Caudron, Jean-Marie Trappeniers, Philippe Albert, Luka Peruzović, Michel De Groote, Johan Walem, Hippolyte Van den Bosch, Marc Degryse, Michel De Wolf, Ariel Jacobs, Jan Mulder, 

Squad Explanation
-- Silvio Proto and Jean Caudron were the other keepers considered.  I picked the three players who were more famous outside of Belgium.
-- Luka Peruzović  and Philippe Albert have shorter careers with Anderlecht. The other centerbacks have much longer careers.
-- I am unfamiliar with most of the players.  I selected a few bigger names.

Formation



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