24th September – John Arne Riise

John Arne Riise might be a left back but it wasn’t his defending he was best known for as he had a phenomenal left foot and scored some sublime goals.

He is now currently playing in Cyprus with APOEL and at the age of 34 he is coming towards the end of his career but he does have some good memories, particularly at Liverpool where he helped them win the Champions league in 2005 in that incredible match against AC Milan. Riise also has the honour of being Norway’s most capped player and is definitely seen as a hero in his home country.

The defender started his career at Norwegian club Aalesund and after a fantastic spell he was being linked with moves away from the club. His five goals in 25 league games convinced French club Monaco to sign the full back. During the 1998-99 season he only played eight times but in the following campaign he became a regular in the side and he helped them win the Ligue 1 title. However, soon after he fell out with manager Claude Puel after saying he wanted to leave the club. Riise had been frustrated because bids had been rejected for him as Monaco wanted a higher transfer fee.

Eventually in 2001 he joined Liverpool for £4 million and made his debut against Bayern Munich in the Super Cup and scored as Liverpool won the game 3-2. He quickly became a fan favourite because of his attacking play from left back and ended his first season in England with seven Premier League goals. The next few seasons were difficult for Riise but after the appointment of Rafael Benitez he rediscovered his form and helped the club win the Champions League. In the final he had a mixed game as he set up the all important first goal for Steven Gerrard but then went on to miss his spot kick in the shootout.
Riise LFC
In his time at Liverpool he also helped them win the FA Cup which also went to penalties and Riise was brave enough to step up once more and this time he managed to score. But after this he started getting less game time and although he made it into Liverpool’s top 50 appearance makers it seemed like his time at the club was coming to an end.

On the 18th June 2008 he signed for Italian side Roma and once again quickly became a fan favourite because of his wholehearted displays and his important goals for the club. He seemed to always pop up in the games that mattered to the fans, he scored a goal against Inter in a pivotal game of the season and then followed this up against Milan with a goal and an assist in a 3-2 victory and then also scored a last minute header to give his team a 2-1 win over Juventus.
Riise Roma
After 99 league games and three seasons at the club he was on the move, this time joining Fulham on the 13th July 2011 and joined his brother Bjorn Helge at the club. He was a very consistent player during his three years there but he did not manage to score which was the most surprising thing about his second spell in England. His final year at the club was a disaster for everyone as they ended up getting relegated to the Championship and Riise left when his contract expired.
Riise FFC
Now at APOEL, he made his debut against Ayia Napa and set up two goals in a 3-1 away victory.

The final word can go to Martin Jol. “John Arne Riise is an experienced international left back who will bring a number of qualities to our squad and provide more options for me. He is an accomplished player defensively, who can also contribute to our attacking play.”

Advertisements

23rd September – Paolo Rossi

Paolo Rossi is celebrating his 58th birthday today and he is a legend in his home country of Italy because he led them to the World Cup title in 1982.

In the tournament he scored six goals which meant he won the Golden Boot and was then also awarded the Golden Ball for being the player of the tournament becoming only the third player after Garrincha in 1962 and Mario Kempes in 1978 to pick up all three awards at a World Cup. Although his reputation was slightly tarnished after a betting scandal in 1980 he claimed he was innocent and came back from a two year ban just in time to become the country’s hero.
Rossi Italy
Rossi started his career at Juventus but had a difficult time there and after three operations on his knee he was sent out on loan to gain experience at Como. He was shifted out to the right wing by Como and could not show his true potential. But in 1976 he moved to Vicenza where his career really started and he began to play as the centre forward and immediately showed his eye for goal.

In his first year at the club he won the Serie B Golden Boot after his 21 goals in 36 games. These goals also helped the club gain promotion to the top flight, where Rossi just seemed to get better and better, hitting 24 goals in just 30 games and becoming the first player to ever finish as the top scorer in Serie A and Serie B in consecutive seasons. After his impressive spell at Vicenza he was called up to the Italy squad for the 1978 World Cup and gained international fame as one of the world’s best strikers after scoring three goals and assisting another four in the tournament.

Despite averaging better than a goal in every game in the following campaign, he could not stop Vicenza getting relegated and was loaned out to Perugia for the 1978-79 season. He scored 13 times in his first year with the club but then the betting scandal stopped him playing more games for them.
Rossi Vicenza
After he completed his ban he rejoined Juventus in the 1980-81 season but could only play three times, scoring one goal but this earned him his call up to the Italy squad for the 1982 World Cup which was heavily criticised before the tournament. The criticism was justified as he looked a shadow of his former self in the three group games, however Enzo Bearzot stood by his striker. He repaid this faith by scoring a hatrick in the quarter final against Brazil in a 3-2 win and then followed this up with two against Poland in the semis. Then in the final against Germany he scored the first of Italy’s three goals to help them lift the trophy.

After the World Cup he could not keep up his phenomenal goal scoring record for Juventus but he did still have a record that many strikers would be proud of – 24 league goals in 83 games. These goals were good enough to win two Serie A titles, the Italian Cup, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, UEFA Super Cup and the European Cup in his four years at the club.
Rossi Juventus
In 1985 Rossi joined AC Milan and although he only scored two goals he went down as a legend as these goals came in a derby victory over Inter. He only spent one season at the club and then went on to play for Verona, and scored the 100th league goal of his career at the club and finally retiring with a record of 103 goals in 251 games, as well as 20 in 48 games for the national team.

The final word can go to the Italy manager Enzo Bearzot speaking after the 1982 World Cup. “I knew that if Rossi wasn’t in Spain, I wouldn’t have had an opportunist inside the penalty box. In that area, he was really good, really fast, always ready to fool defenders with his feints.”