20th March – Fernando Torres

Fernando Torres has had one of the most up and down careers ever because he was one of the most feared strikers in Europe and then suddenly went through long goalscoring droughts.

Torres is only 31 and should be in the prime of his career, however he has gone through one of the toughest periods in his career. It could be argued that he played too much and was too heavily relied on when he was younger and he is burnt out. It is a shame that his career didn’t keep progressing because on form he was one of the best players to watch and could score goals from all angles.

The striker started his career at Atletico Madrid and made his debut on the 27th May 2001 against Leganes and a week later scored his first professional goal against Albacete. In the following season Atletico gained promotion to La Liga with Torres managing to contribute six goals and in his first season in the top flight he would go on to score 13. His career would continue to grow and a further 19 goals in the 2003-04 season meant he was one of the highest rated youngsters at the time.

Torres AM

Surprisingly at the age of 19 he was given the captain’s armband and would remain a consistent goalscorer over the next three seasons and ended his time at the club with 91 goals. In 2007 he joined Liverpool and some were unsure whether he would adapt to the Premier League but he wouldn’t have any problems as he became the first Liverpool player since Robbie Fowler in the 1995-96 season to score 20 league goals and would end with 33 in 46 games in all competitions.

Torres Liverpool

It was a fantastic start for Torres and despite a few injuries in his second season he was named as number 50 in Liverpool’s all time greatest players showing how much of an impact he had made already. On the final day of the season he would score his 50th goal for the club in just his 84th game. Later on he would become the fastest player to reach 50 league goals for Liverpool after scoring a last minute winner against Aston Villa on the 29th December 2009. Injuries meant he couldn’t feature in the last few months of the season but still 22 goals in 32 games was very impressive. This would be his final full season at the club and on the 31st January 2011 he would set a new British transfer record by joining Chelsea for £50 million.

Torres would then go through a terrible spell and would have to wait 903 minutes for his next goal, which would come in a 3-0 win over West Ham but would be his only goal in 18 appearances for his new club. During the 2011-12 season he would also go through a goal drought but did manage to score a last minute goal against Barcelona to help Chelsea qualify for the Champions League final which they would win. He ended his first season with 11 goals but towards the end of the season he had looked a lot sharper. But it still didn’t look like it was going to happen at Chelsea, however 22 goals in the 2012-13 season wasn’t a bad return and many of these were important goals in their run to picking up the Europa League, including the opening goal in the final against Benfica.

Torres Chelsea

One more disappointing season followed and on the 31st August 2014 he joined AC Milan and would score on his second game in a 2-2 draw with Empoli, however this would be his only goal for the club as he has been loaned out to Atletico Madrid for the rest of the campaign. He has scored three times since returning, all in the Copa Del Rey, two against Real Madrid and another against Barcelona.

The final word can go to AC Milan coach Stefano Eranio. “Torres is a very humble player, he has great technical and human qualities. He is like a car, he needs to play to find his form. He needs the confidence of the coach. As a coach, I say that I would always want someone like Torres in the team.”

11th October – Seamus Coleman

Seamus Coleman has been one of the best full backs in the Premier League over the last few seasons but unfortunately like a lot of Everton players this year he has suffered from injuries and is one of many in their treatment room.

The 26 year old has always been good going forward but he has improved a lot defensively and although he adds a lot in attack, it is no surprise that when he is in the starting eleven Everton concede less goals and look more solid. David Moyes give him a chance but it has been Roberto Martinez that has developed his talent and now he is being linked with some of the biggest clubs in Europe.

After initially starting out as a Gaelic Footballer, he made the move to professional football and signed for Sligo Rovers. He made his debut against Derry City in October 2006 after coming on as a substitute. He did not have an easy start as manager Rob McDonald did not rate him and thought he should move down a division but when he was sacked and replaced with Paul Cook, the new manager gave Coleman a lot of praise and the defender began to flourish.
Coleman SR
In total he made 60 appearances for the club, scoring once against Bray Wanderers in May 2008 before moving on to Everton in January 2009 for the very small fee of £60,000. Even though he had not kicked a ball for the club, his career could have been over but surgery saved it and he eventually made his debut in the Europa League against Benfica, unfortunately they went on to lose the game 5-0.

His Premier League debut was a much better experience, after coming on as a substitute he helped set up both goals in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur and was awarded the man of the match at the end of the game. Despite this he still struggled to get first team opportunities and went out on loan to Blackpool to help them in their promotion push in March 2010. In his 12 game spell, including the playoff final win over Cardiff City 3-2, he scored once in a 4-2 away win against Scunthorpe United. During his time out on loan he also signed a new four year deal with his parent club.
Coleman Blackpool
The following season he broke into the Everton side and was originally used as a right winger and scored his first Premier League goal against former club Blackpool. He finished the season with our goals but also received the first red card of his career in the final day in a 1-0 win over Chelsea. His performances meant that he was nominated for the 2011 PFA Young Player of the Year.
Coleman Everton
Coleman was a very solid player for a number of seasons but finally received all the attention that he deserves during the 2013-14 season. He scored six league goals, was named as Everton’s Player of the Year, their Players’ Player of the Year and also in the PFA Team of the Year. During the course of the season he set up 45 chances and helped them to a club record 72 Premier League points.

The final word can go to Roberto Martinez. “He just grows month by month. He is a good example of a footballer with an incredible attitude and appetite for the game. I haven’t done anything to coax that out of him. He knows his potential. He plays in a demanding position which needs you to be so good in many areas. He’s one of the best full-backs in world football.”

1st September – Jose Antonio Reyes

With Arsenal fans desperate for their club to sign a striker on transfer deadline day, it is the birthday of one of their former forwards Jose Antonio Reyes.

Now at the age of 31 he may not have been prolific but was he a better option than their current crop of strikers? With Olivier Giroud out injured, they only have Yaya Sanogo as a recognised a striker and then others in Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott, Joel Campbell and Alexis Sanchez that can play upfront. Reyes may not have quite worked out as well for Arsenal as they hoped and maybe that is a warning to Arsenal fans who are begging for a signing.

The forward started his career at Sevilla and signed his first full contract in 1999, making his debut as a 16 year old against Real Zaragoza. Over the next four seasons he became well known around Europe as someone that can play in any of the forward positions and score from any angle. In his 86 league appearances for the club he scored 21 times.

Arsenal signed Reyes in the January transfer window of the 2003-04 season and made his debut in a 2-1 win against Manchester City. In his first half a season he scored five times in 21 games, helping Arsenal go unbeaten in the Premier League. In his first full season he started off brilliantly and many people thought that he was going to lead Arsenal to the title but midway through the season he began to struggle and remained inconsistent.
Reyes Arsenal
In early 2005 there were claims that Reyes was homesick and wanted to return to Spain and despite and helping Arsenal win the FA Cup in 2005 and then reach the final of the Champions League in 2006, he was very inconsistent and could not reproduce his best form. After 69 Premier League appearances and 16 goals he was included in a swap deal with Real Madrid.

Reyes was a regular for Madrid and scored some important goals, including his first on the 17th September 2006 with a free kick against Real Sociedad. More importantly he scored twice on the final day against Mallorca to help Madrid come from behind and not only win the game but also the league.

Despite this success he did not sign permanently and instead joined city rivals Atletico Madrid. He got off to a very poor start as he could not force his way into the side and failed to score in his 26 league appearances. After just one season it seemed like his time at the club was over as he left for Benfica on loan and had a better time scoring four goals in 26 games and producing better performances.
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After returning to Atletico, he was reunited with his manager from Benfica Quique Flores and became one of the most important members of the team. Over the next two seasons he played 90 games but after the manager left he lost his consistency and had a falling out with new manager Gregorio Manzano which led to him leaving the club and on the 5th January 2012 he rejoined Sevilla.
Reyes Sevilla
Although he is not as much a goalscoring threat for Sevilla, he does still play an important role and helped them win last season’s Europa League by scoring twice in nine games.

The final word can go to Arsene Wenger. “Jose Reyes is a fantastic signing. He can play in midfield or as a supporting striker. He can play on the left or on the right, in fact, anywhere as an offensive player. Jose will be a great asset to our squad.”

15th July – Peter Odemwingie

Peter Odemwingie might have been involved in one of the funniest moments in a transfer window but he has bounced back from that and has found form once again.

While at West Brom he drove to QPR to hopefully sign for them, however the club’s could not agree a transfer fee so the striker who turns 33 today was not allowed to speak to QPR’s officials and had to wait in the parking lot. He ended up not getting the transfer he wanted but this is just a small blip on what has been a very good career.

He started his career at Nigerian side Bendel Insurance and was an instant success scoring 19 goals in 53 league appearances. This was good enough to convince La Louviere in Belgium to sign him and in his first season he helped the club win the Belgian Cup and earned them a place in Europe and Odemwingie scored in a 1-1 draw with Portuguese giants Benfica.
Odemwingie Lille
In 2004 he joined French club Lille and was quickly becoming one of the most sought after players in Europe and he proved his worth by helping Lille qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League after scoring twice at the San Siro against AC Milan. He spent three season in total in France and scored 26 goals in 100 games which led to Lokomotiv Moscow spending a lot of money to bring the striker to Russia.
Odemwingie LM
Although he impressed for the club and was a goal threat every time he went on the pitch, he had to deal with a lot of racial abuse from the fans and he understandably wanted to leave the country and on the 20th August 2010 he signed for West Brom. Shortly after signing the Lokomotiv Moscow fans were seen showing a banner that read ‘Thanks West Brom’ and had a picture of a banana.

A day after he joined West Brom he scored the winning goal against Sunderland in a 1-0 win. His first season was very successful and he broke a lot of records, including being West Brom’s highest ever goal scorer in a Premier League season and became the first player to score in four consecutive games. He ended the season with 15 league goals and was rewarded with a new contract.

Odemwingie didn’t quite match the previous seasons efforts but he still put in some memorable performances, particularly in their derby match against Wolves, where he scored a hatrick in a 5-1 win and then followed it up with another two goals against Sunderland. This form meant he was named as the Player of the Month. The following season was obviously more difficult for him and the club after the confusion of his move to QPR meant the fans no longer accepted him.
Odemwingie WB
At the start of the 2013-14 season he joined Cardiff City, however after Malky Mackay was sacked he barely got a look in and in January he signed for Stoke City and ended the season with five goals in 15 appearances for Stoke in the second half of the season and then got the opportunity to represent his country at the World Cup, where he scored the winner against Bosnia which helped the team get through their group.

The final word can go to Mark Hughes, who has been very happy with his signing. “We’re delighted to have signed Peter. He has a good goal scoring record in the Premier League and will bring a different dimension to our attacking options. I’ve no doubts he will prove to be an excellent addition to our squad.”

21st May – Laurent Robert

Laurent Robert had one of the best left foots the Premier League has ever seen and a compilation of all his goals is a real joy to watch.

The Frenchman who divided opinions at times is 39 today and will always be remembered for his free kicks and his wonderful technique which is something that he had from a very young age. He began playing for Montpellier and after 124 games and 19 goals for the club he made the move to Paris Saint-Germain where he produced some outstanding performances and one that stands out the most is in a Champions League game against Rosenborg he set up six goals in a 7-2 victory.
Robert PSG
His record at PSG was attracting interest from all over Europe and he eventually signed for Newcastle United in 2001 for £9.5 million. At Newcastle he quickly became a fans favourite because he knew exactly how to find Alan Shearer and set up a lot of his goals from great crosses. In his first season at the club he scored eight times in the Premier League and helped the club to finish fourth and qualify for the Champions League. The next season was even more successful as Newcastle qualified from their Champions League group and eventually finished third in the Premier League. Manager at the time Sir Bobby Robson clearly loved the player and his attacking talents and he acknowledged that he wouldn’t always be the best at the defensive side of the game. “In the first half he took a corner, a poor corner, which hit the first defender, and it took him 17 minutes to get back to the halfway line.”

Although the 2003-04 season was slightly disappointing with Newcastle finishing fifth, they did still manage to reach the semi final of the UEFA Cup. But Robert produced one of the best performances seen by a left winger against Tottenham Hotspur as he scored two fantastic long range efforts and was simply too good for the opposition to stop. His last season at the club was tough, like a lot of players he had a falling out with new manager Graeme Souness and his time at St James Park was up.
Robert Newcastl
Robert then moved to Portsmouth where he did have not much success under Alain Perrin but did come back into the team and perform better when Harry Redknapp took over. He scored his only goal in a 2-1 loss to West Brom. He only stayed at the club for one season and then joined Portuguese team Benfica where he scored his first goal against rivals Porto in an unsurprising way as he smashed in a free kick from 40 yards. However, this was as good as it got and he was once again looking for a new club after one season.

He ended up at Levante but was not a regular and only played 13 times and was then offered a trial at Derby County which was successful. But once again he could not get the game time and after only four games he left England once again. This time he went to the MLS and signed for Toronto FC and he looked like the player of old, delivering great crosses and creating chances for his teammates but he only stayed for one season and ended up joining his former Newcastle teammate Nikos Dabizas at Greek club Larissa. This lasted just six games and he retired from the game.
Robert Moose
Although the later years of his career were not spectacular he will always be fondly remembered by Newcastle fans for the performances he gave them and some of his goals will love long in the memory. The final word can go to Sir Bobby. “In the 03-04 season he scored 11 goals and made 29 last passes prior to other players scoring. When he’s doing that, you can put up with some of the play falling back on you because he is not doing his defensive job. That’s just what he is – talented and exasperating, and a great deliverer of the ball. When we had Jenas and Bellamy and Dyer and Robert we were just terrific.”

13th April – Anderson

Anderson Luis de Abreu Oliveira or simply just Anderson is 26 today and is someone that has won many honours throughout his career but it has not always been easy for him.

Sadly at the age of nine he lost his father and had to help his mother and had to help out the family as much as he could and this is what inspired him to become a footballer. He said when he was a youngster that he would buy a house for his mother and a football pitch for all the kids in the neighbourhood.

At the age of 16 he was showing exceptional talent and started his career at Gremio where he gained iconic status by scoring the goal that got them promoted to the top division in Brazil in one of the most remarkable games in the entire history of football. It is known as the Batalha dos Aflitos. Gremio were reduced to seven men during the game and their opponents Nautico missed two penalties. 72 seconds after the second penalty was missed Anderson took on two defenders and the keeper to score 16 minutes into stoppage time.
Anderson Gremio
Quite the start to his career and in January 2006 he joined Porto and made his debut in March playing a part in helping the team seal the Portuguese Championship. The next season was a little more difficult because he broke his leg in a game against Benfica but still managed to pick up his second title medal.
Anderson Porto
He was liked by everyone at the club and when he left for Manchester United the chairman Jorge Nuno Pinto said: “I wish him happiness at Manchester United, he will have a great career there.” He was only the second Brazilian to play for the club but it was easy for him to settle at the club as there were a number of Portuguese speaking players already there. During his first few years he was a little inconsistent but when he was needed he always stepped up. Especially when it came to penalty shooutouts, he scored in the 2008 Champions League final shootout and the winning spot kick against Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup final in 2009.

Former Arsenal midfielder Gilberto Silva had been impressed by his countryman. “It’s not that easy for a Brazilian to adapt to English football but he’s done it already.”
Anderson Man United
During the 2009-10 season he suffered a terrible injury that would keep him out of the World Cup and it wasn’t until the 19th September that he returned to the team but he had done enough in the last few seasons to get a contract extension. Later that season he went on to score twice in the Champions League semi final which secured their place in the final for the third time in four years.

After Sir Alex Ferguson left the club Anderson fell out of favour and he joined Italian club Fiorentina for the rest of the season in January 2014.

The last word can go to his former manager Ferguson after the midfielder signed his new contract: “We are delighted he has signed a new contract, he has developed tremendously since joining us and he has fantastic potential at 22, he is going to be a really top player.”