It’s been a bad week for losing football legends. Earlier this week it was Tommy Gemmell and today it is Raymond Kopa. A great of French football. Here’s where he is in the all time list.
- Zinedine Zidane – such a classy, skillful player. Two goals in the 1998 World Cup Final and a player of the tournament performance in 2006. Shame about the final. And the best goal in a European Cup Final.
- Michel Platini – before he became a murky football politician, Platini was sensational in the 2004 Euros, winning it virtually on his own.
- Raymond Kopa – ahead of Garrincha and Pele as player of the tournament in the 1958 World Cup. The first French player to win the Ballon D’Or.
- Just Fontaine – he scored 13 goals in the 1958 World Cup. 13!
- Thierry Henry – France’s leading goalscorer. Shame about his infamous handball against Ireland.
- Jean-Pierre Papin – perhaps a better club player than an international one but a lethal striker at his peak.
- Lilian Thuram – the most capped player for France. A key member of the golden generation which won the World Cup and Euros. If you only score two international goals, why not save them for a World Cup semi?
- Eric Cantona – an outstanding player for Manchester United, less so for France where his unstable character caused off field problems. Still he had the ability to turn a game with a moment of class.
- Patrick Viera – another member of the golden team. He was particularly effective in the 2000 Euros.
- Marcel Desailly – over 100 caps. A class defender better than Blanc.
RIP Tommy Gemmell. A Lisbon Lion and one of the best ever to play for Celtic. Feel free to disagree.
- Jimmy Johnstone – “Wee Jinky” was one of the best wingers ever. Only 5’4″ but he was brilliant in the 1967 European Cup Final. Voted by fans as the greatest ever.
- Jimmy McGrory – not only Celtic’s highest goal scorer but he holds the British record. 538 goals in 534 games.
- Billy McNeill – played 790 times for Celtic. Their greatest captain whose finest hour was lifting the European Cup.
- Danny McGrain – over 650 appearances, a quality full back.
- Paul McStay – “The Maestro” was a one club midfield general.
- Bobby Lennox – Celtic’s second highest goal scorer. Incredibly quick.
- Henrik Larsson – the best recent player. If he had stayed longer he would have been higher on the list.
- Kenny Dalglish – Scotland’s best ever player started with Celtic. He would be top of the list if he played at Parkhead throughout his career.
- Tommy Gemmell – a superb attacking full back. Scored the equalising goal in Lisbon which changed the game.
- Charlie Tully – a supremely skillful winger.
Something for Celtic fans to get all misty eyed about here
With Alastair Cook saying that he will be stepping down as England cricket captain this week, here’s a list of who the most successful captains are based on their win/loss ratio and doing the job for a minimum of 30 tests.
- Mike Brearley – 31 matches – 4.50
- Ray Illingworth – 31 matches – 2.40
- Michael Vaughan – 51 matches – 2.36
- Andrew Strauss – 50 matches – 2.18
- Peter May – 41 matches – 2.00
- Ted Dexter – 30 matches – 1.28
- Nasser Hussain – 45 matches – 1.13
- Alastair Cook – 59 matches – 1.09
- Graham Gooch – 34 matches – 0.83
- Michael Atherton – 54 matches – 0.61
In memory of the late Joost van der Westhuizen, here’s the list of the best number 9’s.
- Gareth Edwards – without doubt the best scrum half ever and possibly the greatest player of all time. The man had everything.
- Joost van der Westhuizen – So brave. A ninth forward. Remember him taking down Jonah Lomu in the 1995 World Cup Final?
- George Gregan – a mouthy, abrasive character who had the ability to back up his talk.
- Nick Farr-Jones – a great leader and tactician.
- Justin Marshall – a physical player at the base of the scrum and a good reader of the game.
- Agustin Pinochet – an under-rated player who had excellent skills.
- Matt Dawson – The king of the sniping run.
- Rob Howley – an excellent player behind a poor pack.
- David Kirk – a feature of his game was his quick service to the backs. Another great captain.
- Gary Armstrong – a key member of the 1990 Scotland Grand Slam winning team. A tough competitor.
Here’s some Joost highlights
To celebrate the start of the Six Nations, here’s the tournament’s greatest try scorers.
- Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland) – 26
- Ian Smith (Scotland) – 24
- Shane Williams (Wales) – 22
- Gareth Edwards (Wales) – 18
- CN Lowe (England) – 18
- Rory Underwood (England) – 18
- Ben Cohen (England) – 16
- Gerald Davies (Wales) – 16
- Kenny Jones (Wales) – 16
- Bill Llewellyn (Wales) – 16
Here’s some of BOD’s best tries
It’s all about PSG and the coming force of the Chinese League
- Oscar from Chelsea to Shanghai SIPG – £52m
- Julian Draxler from Mainz 05 to Paris Saint-Germain – £34.1m
- Gabriel Jesus from Palmeiras to Manchester City – £27m
- Goncalo Guedes from Benfica to Paris Saint-Germain – £25.5m
- Dimitri Payet from West Ham United to Marseilles – £25m
- Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton to Everton – £20m
- Odion Ighalo from Watford to Changchun Yatai – £17.1m
- Alexandre Pato from Villareal to Tianjin Quanjian – £15.4m
- Wilfred Ndidi from Genk to Leicester City – £15m
- Memphis Depay from Manchester United to Lyon – £14.8m