20th June – Juliano Belletti

Juliano Belletti was a World Cup winner in 2002 and will be hoping that Brazil improve this time around after a disappointing opening draw against Switzerland.

The right back was unfortunate that he played at the same time as Cafu as he would have gained a lot more than 23 caps. But he should still be proud of his international career and how influential he was for the clubs he played for.

Belletti started his career at Cruzeiro in Brazil and was given his debut in 1994 but after failing to break into the team, he was involved in a swap deal, joining Sao Paulo. Once again, he wasn’t first choice and was loaned out to Atletico Mineiro and this is where his career started. The club finished second in the table with Belletti scoring five times.

Soccer - FIFA Confederations Cup 2003 - Group B - Brazil v USA

On his return to Sao Paulo he was finally seen as their first choice right back and stayed at the club until 2002 when his performances had been spotted by clubs in Europe. It was Spanish side Villarreal that took a chance on him. He stayed with them for two years, playing 59 La Liga games, scoring six times before moving to Barcelona.

In his first season he helped the club win the league title but his second was slightly harder as he was in and out of the side. However, he did manage to score his one and only goal for Barcelona in this season. After coming on as a substitute in the Champions League final against Arsenal, Belletti scored the winning goal. This would be his greatest moment but he didn’t get much luck with injuries in the following campaign.

Belletti Barca

With limited opportunities the right back joined English side Chelsea on the 23rd August 2007 and made his debut two days later in a 4-0 win over Portsmouth. In his first season he made the right back position his own and scored against Wigan Athletic and Tottenham Hotspur.

Chelsea would reach the Champions League final and despite Belletti scoring in the penalty shootout, the team would go on to lose against Manchester United. With the arrival of Jose Bosingwa at the start of the next season, the defender struggled to keep hold of his place and was seen as more of a utility player.

Belletti Chelsea

After three seasons, 94 appearances, five goals, a Premier League title and two FA Cup medals, Belletti had gained cult hero status but his time was up and he returned to Brazil to join Fluminense. Just one year into his new contract he was released due to injuries but he did give it one more try signing for Ceara. However, 12 days later he decided to retire.

The final word can go to former Chelsea and Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari. “I know him very well. I know Belletti from when he started to play at Sao Paulo. I know his potential. He helps us in whatever position we put him in; midfield, right back, any position.”


15th June – Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah proved a thorn in the side of many English clubs over the last few years and when Jose Mourinho signed him for Chelsea he even joked ‘at least he can’t score against us anymore’.

The winger has had half a season to adapt to the Premier League and will be hoping to make a big impact on the league next season and even if Chelsea do buy a lot of players, it will be difficult for them to find someone as direct and quick as the Egyptian international. He also has a phenomenal record for the national side too, scoring 17 times in 29 games.

Salah started his career at El Mokawloon in the Egyptian Premier League and made his debut on the 3rd May 2010 as a substitute in a 1-1 draw with Mansoura. In the next season he became a first team regular and scored his first goal on the 25th December in a 1-1 draw with Al-Ahly. He went on to play every game in the 2011-12 season for the club but unfortunately the Egyptian Premier League was stopped and the rest of the games were cancelled after the Port Said Stadium disaster in February 2012.
Salah EM
He moved club soon after and signed for Swiss side FC Basel and made his debut in a Champions League game against Norwegian side Molde and a few days later he made his league debut against FC Thun. He then scored his first league goal a week later in a 2-0 win over Lausanne. Basel comfortably won the Swiss Super League and were one of the most exciting teams to watch in the Europa League with Salah one of the star performers. In the quarter finals he scored against Tottenham Hotspur and after the aggregate score finished 4-4 the Swiss side went through on penalties. Then in the semi final, Salah once again scored against English opposition by scoring against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, unfortunately they were beaten 5-2 on aggregate.
Salah Basel
On his first appearance of the 2013-14 season he scored against Aarau. But it was once again in Europe where Salah showed his real quality, particularly against Chelsea. They were drawn together in the group stages and on the 18th September he scored the equaliser at Stamford Bridge as Basel beat Chelsea 2-1 and then in the return match he scored the only goal of the game.

On the 26th January the winger joined Chelsea for a fee in the region of £11 million and made his debut as a substitute in a 3-0 win over Newcastle United. Over a month later he scored his first goal for the club after coming on as a substitute in Chelsea’s 6-0 win over Arsenal. He only went on to score one more Premier League goal but it was in a fantastic individual performance against Stoke City. He opened the scoring, won a penalty and then got an assist proving that he could be a vital part of Chelsea’s future if he is given the opportunities.
Salah Chelsea
The final word can go to the former Egypt manager Bob Bradley. “Salah is the future of Egyptian football. His performances are heroic. Salah is a perfect professional both on and off the pitch. He doesn’t take anything for granted, he’ll work hard and realise that to keep pushing himself along, he’s got to meet the new challenges.”

1st June – Moustapha Salifou

Moustapha Salifou is a player that not many football fans will remember from his time in the Premier League but he gained cult hero status at Aston Villa and turns 31 today.

Before he even played a game for the first team, the fans already had a song for him and were sang while he sat on the bench. They sang his name to the tune of Daddy Cool by Boney M but it was not just the fans that loved him, it seemed like everyone connected to the club had positive things to say about him. He was constantly praised by staff for helping the younger players in the squad and giving them advice, helping them break into the first team and become better players.
Salifou Togo
The midfielder started his career in his home country of Togo and was labelled the ‘Togolese Zidane’ while he was at AC Merlan and was being linked with moves away from an early age and it was not long before he was an important part of the Togo National team. He eventually left in 2002 for Europe and signed for German side Rot-Weib Oberhausen and played 33 league games for them in a four year spell. While at the club he also went out on loan to French side Stade Brestois who he hoped would sign him permanently. However, this never happened and he ended up in Switzerland at FC Wil.

He only spent one season there but was in good form and scored twice in 23 games and in August 2007 he joined Aston Villa for a small fee. Manager at the time Martin O’Neill was happy with his signing. “He has great determination to succeed at this level and he may well prove to be an excellent asset. There’s a real hunger from him to play, he was really dead keen to come.”

Despite the positive words it was a difficult start for the midfielder because of work permit problems but he eventually made his debut for the reserve team in a 6-0 win over Chelsea in which he created two of his team’s goals. But he had to wait even longer for his first team debut. On the 12th January 2008 he came on as a 90th minute substitute against Reading with the whole of the Holte End chanting his song. He had to wait until March for his next appearance where he also came on as a late substitute against Portsmouth and then made his third appearance in a 4-0 loss against Manchester United.
Salifou AV
Although he hadn’t played much he signed a new one year contract and was given a start in the UEFA Cup against Slavia Prague on the 6th November. He rarely played for the next two seasons and at one point his number was taken off him to be given to new signing Jean Makoun and he was switched from 17 to 37. On the 27th May 2011 he was released by the club after playing just four Premier League games in four seasons.
Salifou Saarbrucken
His next move was back to Germany as he signed for FC Saarbrucken where he played 11 times and scored once against his former club Rot-Weib Oberhausen. After being released he signed for the German side Rosenheim who play in the fourth tier of German football. Last season he played 11 times and provided three assists as well as scoring once.

The final word can go to Gary McAllister who coached him at Aston Villa. “The way its gone he’s not had a great deal of chances, to be perfectly honest. We’ll do everything we can to help him to move on with his career. We’ll do anything he needs with a CV because we can’t fault his effort and the type of person he is. So anything we can do for him, we’ll gladly do it.”