Sunday, May 26, 2019

Tottenham All-Time Team for foreign players

Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricky Villa
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

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

Tottenham Hotspurs All-Time Team
Tottenham All-Time Team for English Players
Tottenham All-Time Team for British Isles Players(excluding England)
Greater London All-Time Team

Founded in 1882, Tottenham won the FA Cup for the first time in 1901, making them the only non-League club to do so since the formation of the Football League in 1888. Tottenham were the first club in the 20th century to achieve the League and FA Cup Double, winning both competitions in the 1960–61 season. After successfully defending the FA Cup in 1962, in 1963 they became the first British club to win a UEFA club competition – the European Cup Winners' Cup.  They won the UEFA Cup in 1972, becoming the first British club to win two different major European trophies. In the 1984, Spurs again won the UEFA Cup. In the 1990s the club won the FA Cup and the League Cup.  They had won a major trophy in each of the last six decades – an achievement only matched by Manchester United. In 2019, they reached their first ever Champions' League Final against Liverpool with many foreigners as star players.
Luka Modric and Rafael Van der Vaart 


GK: Hugo Lloris (France)
Lorries started his career with Nice.  He moved to Lyon in 2008 to replace Coupet. In 2012, he moved to Tottenham Hotspurs.  Tay the time of writing, he has over 80 caps for France.  He is a key player since the World Cup Finals in 2010, participating in every major tournaments.  He was the starting keeper for France at the Euro 2016 and the World Cup Finals in 2018.

GK: Erik Thorstvedt (Norway)
Erik Thorstvedt has played for Viking, Eik-Tønsberg, Borussia Mönchengladbach,  IFK Göteborg and Tottenham Hotspur.  He was one of the top goalkeepers in the Premiership during the 1990's.   He spent 6 seasons with Tottenham Hotspurs, where he was the first Norwegian to win the FA Cup. He was capped 97 times and went to the World Cup in 1998.

GK: Brad Friedel (USA)
Brad Friedel is the current holder of the English Premier League record for most consecutive appearances with 310.  He played with Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspurs.  He is one of the oldest player to start a game at the English Premiership.  He also played for clubs in Denmark and Turkey.  He earned 82 caps.  He represented the USA at the World Cup in 1994, 1998 and 2002. He is best remembered for reaching the quarterfinal in 2002. 

RB: Vedran Corluka (Croatia) 
Ćorluka started with Dinamo Zagreb before moving to Manchester City, and after a season moved on to Tottenham Hotspur in 2008.  In 2012, he joined Lokomotiv Moscow.  For Croatia, he went to the European Championships in 2008, 2012, 2016 and at the World Cup in 2014 and 2018, earning over 100 caps. He was a part of the team that reached the World Cup Finals in 2018.

RB/RH/RM: Max Seeburg (Germany)
Seeburg moved to London in 1886, at the age of two. His first professional club was Chelsea, who he joined in 1906. He did not play a competitive match for them, and two years later moved across the city to join Tottenham Hotspur. Seeburg's first and only league match for Tottenham was on 26 September 1908 against to Hull City in the Second Division. He became the first European-born foreigner to play in England.

CB/LB: Jan Vertonghen (Belgium)
Jan Vertonghen began his career with Ajax in 2016, where he was Dutch Footballer of the Year in 2012.  In 2012, he moved to Tottenham Hotspurs.  He is considered one of the best defenders in the Premiership. At the time of writing, he had ever 100 caps. He played in both 2014 and 2018 World Cup Finals. He was an important part of the team that reached the semifinal in 2018.
Jan Vertonghen
CB: Younès Kaboul (France)
For his club career, Younès Kaboul started with Auxerre in 2004.  In 2007, he moved to play in England.  He played for Tottenham Hotspurs, Portsmouth, Sunderland and Watford.  With the Spurs, he played in two stints.  From 2011 to 2012, he earned 5 caps for France.  He never played in a major tournament.

CB: Gheorghe Popescu  (Romania)
Gheorghe Popescu was perhaps the most famous Romanian defender and the second most important player during Romania's Golden Generation in the 1990's.  He was Romanian Player of the Year 6 times.  He played for a string of European clubs in his career, including Barcelona where he was their captain and a four-year stint at PSV Eindhoven. In 2000, he helped Galatasaray to win the UEFA Cup, the first time ever for a Turkish club. 

CB: Toby Alderweireld (Belgium)
Alderweireld began his professional career at Ajax.  In 2013, he moved to Atlético Madrid, where he won La Liga and reached the Champions League final in his first season.  Since 2015, he has been playing with Tottenham Hotspurs.  At the time of writing, he has over 90 caps.  He went to 2014 and 2018 World Cup Finals as well as the Euro 2016.

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.   

LB:  Lee Young-Pyo (South Korea)
At the club level, Lee Young-Pyo enjoyed one of the most successful career for an Asian playing in Europe.  He was a starter with PSV Eindhoven and Tottenham Hotspurs.  Lee started his professional career at FC Seoul, then known as Anyang LG Cheetahs in the Korean K League 1 in 2000. He also spent time in Saudi Arabia and the MLS. He played 127 times between 1999 and 2011 for South Korea.  He went to three World Cup Finals.

DM: Steffen Freund (Germany)
Steffen Freund started his career at Stahl Brandenburg in East Germany.  In 1991 he was transferred to FC Schalke 04. Schalke sold him to Borussia Dortmund in 1993 where he stayed until 1998. During his time at Dortmund, he gained a Champions League medal in 1997. After this he transferred to Tottenham Hotspur where he stayed until 2003. He won UEFA Euro 1996 with Germany and also competed in the FIFA World Cup 1998.
Steffen Freund
CM: Edgar Davids (Netherlands)
Nicknamed "the Pitbull", Edgar Davids was one of the greatest defensive midfielders in the world.  At the club level, he won the European Champions' League with Ajax in 1995, a team considered to be the best ever club side.  He also spent 7 seasons with Juventus in Italy at the height of his career.  He played 74 times for the Dutch national team between 1994 and 2005.  He was an important player at the World Cup Finals in 1998 when Netherlands reached the semi-final. 

CM:  Osvaldo Ardiles (Argentina)
Osvaldo Ardiles was the central midfielder when Argentina won the World Cup in 1978.  From 1975 to 1982, he earned 52 caps. He also went to the World Cup Finals in 1982. At the club level, he also played for Club Atlético Belgrano and Huracán.  He was also one of the first foreigners to play in England.  He was a top player with Tottenham Hotspurs. He won the FA Cup in 1981.  He left Tottenham briefly because of the Falklands War. He later won the UEFA Cup in 1984 for them.
Osvaldo Ardiles
CM: Mousa Dembele (Belgium)
Dembélé started his career at Belgian Pro League team Germinal Beerschot before spells at Willem II and AZ in the Netherlands. He won the league title and the Johan Cruyff Shield with the latter in 2009. Dembélé transferred to Fulham in 2010 before joining Tottenham in 2012.  In 2019, he moved to Guangzhou R&F.  Since 2006, he has earned over 80 caps for Belgium.  He went to 2014 and 2018 World Cup Finals as well as the Euro 2016.

AM/CM: Luka Modric (Croatia)
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.
Luka Modric
AM/CM: Ricardo Villa (Argentina)
Villa played with Quilmes, Atlético de Tucumán and Racing Club in Argentina before moving to Tottenham Hotspurs in 1978 alongside Ossie Ardiles.  Both players were popular in England winning the FA Cup in 1981.  He was known as "Ricky Villa" over there. For Argentina, he earned 17 caps.  He was a member of the team that the World Cup and made two appearances as a substitute in the second round. 

AM: Christian Eriksen (Denmark)
In 2010, Eriksen began his senior career with Ajax, where he was the Dutch Football Talent of the Year: 2011.  In 2013, he moved to play for Tottenham Hotspurs.  For Denmark, he played in 2010 and 2018 World Cup Finals.  At the time of writing, he had over 90 caps. He is the Danish Football Player of the Year: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018.

AM: Rafael van der Vaart (Netherlands)
Rafael Van der Vaart began his career at AFC Ajax's youth academy and worked his way into the first team. He moved to Bundesliga club Hamburger SV, then to Real Madrid, then on to Tottenham Hotspur before returning to Hamburg in 2012. He earned 109 caps for the Netherlands between 2001 and 2013. He represented the nation at three European Championships and two World Cup Finals. He was a part of the team that reached the 2010 Final.
Rafael van der Vaart
LW: David Ginola (France)
For the national team, Ginola was blamed for the goal against Bulgaria that eliminated France for the 1994 WC qualification.  He moved to England shortly afterward.  Ginola became a big star at the English Preimer League in the late 1990's.  In England, he played for Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspurs, Aston Villa and Everton.  He won both PFA and FWA Player of the Year in 1998-1999. 

LW: Son Heung-min (South Korea)
Son finished his development at Hamburger SV, where he made his debut in the German Bundesliga in 2010. In 2013, he moved to Bayer Leverkusen for a club record €10 million, and played for the club in the Europa League and Champions League. Two years later, he signed for Tottenham for £22 million, becoming the most expensive Asian player in history. While at Tottenham, he became the top Asian goalscorer in Premier League history.
Son Heung-min
ST: Steffen Iversen (Norway)
Iversen began his career at Rosenborg. He moved to Tottenham Hotspur in 1996, where he scored 64 goals in seven years, and won the League Cup. He also played for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Vålerenga and Crystal Palace. He was capped 79 times for Norway. He scored Norway's only goal in a European Championship when he scored the match-winning goal against Spain in the group stage of Euro 2000.

ST: Dimitar Berbatov (Bulgaria)
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: Jurgen Klinsmann (Germany)
Klinsmann won the World Cup in 1990 and then, captained the 1996 European Championship winning team.  He played in all major international tournaments from 1988 until his retirement in 1998.  He had successful club spells with Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspurs. He was a popular player while in England, despite a lot of negative press at the time of his signing.  He won both the FWA Footballer of the Year and PFA Player of the Year in 1995.  He also played for Bayern Munich and AS Monaco.
Jurgen Klinsmann

Honorable Mention

Kasey Keller (USA), Heurelho Gomes (Brazil), Erik Lamela (Argentina), (France), Moussa Sissoko (France), Allan Nielsen (Denmark), Ronny Rosenthal (Israel), (Russia), Øyvind Leonhardsen (Norway), Sando (Brazil), Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo), Ramon Vega (Switzerland).

Squad Explanation
-- Osvaldo Ardiles is the only member of my Tottenham Hotspur all-time team.   
-- Ricky Villa, Osvaldo Ardiles, David Ginola, Jurgen Klinsmann and Stefan Freund are members of Tottenham Hotspurs' Hall of Flame.
-- David Ginola and Jurgen Klinsmann have won PFA and/or FWA Player of the Year.
-- I honoured many members of the current team. Their achievement at the 2019 Champions' League is beyond anything Tottenham has ever done.  Hugo Lloris (France), Christian Eriksen (Denmark), Son Heung-min (South Korea), Toby Alderweireld (Belgium) and Jan Vertonghen (Belgium) all made this team even before the Champions' League at Wanada stadium.
-- Ricky Villa and Osvaldo Ardiles were not the first foreigners to play for the team, but they were the first star players.  They were also among the first star foreign players in England.  
-- Lloris is the obvious choice for keepers. Brad Friedel actually sent Heurelho Gomes (Brazil) to the bench and even kept Lloris from starting with the club. Gomes and Kasey Keller (USA) are on my honorable mention.
-- Corluka was basically the only candidate. The rightback position is weak. I don't think Pascal Chimbonda (France) is not a strong candidate. Max Seeburg was honored for being the first ever foreign player ever to play in England. He only played one game with the Spurs, but it was a milestone for foreigners in the UK. 
--  Benoît Assou-Ekotto held the leftback position for a long time. Mauricio Taricco (Argentina) actually played about 130 matches for the Spurs, but never settled down.  Lee Young-pyo also had his off seasons.  Erik Edman (Sweden) only spent a season here. Christian Ziege's career was ravaged with injuries.
-- William Gallas's performance was limited by injuries over here. Younès Kaboul was not as famous internationally, but he spent a longer career here. He also played right, a position I needd.
-- Gheorghe Popescu only spent a season here, but did well enough.  He was injured at the end of the season.
-- Roman Pavlyuchenko edged out Emmanuel Adebayor.  Both did not have all-timing performance here.
--  Some of the top foreign players are attack midfielders: Modric, Villa, van der Vaart, Eriksen and Dembele. I selected most of the great ones. So the team has too many attack midfielders.  It is actually inbalanced, but I cannot drop them.


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