Great players who had very average international careers, including Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes

12 Jun

Scotland are still in contention to grab a place at Euro 2020, despite losing 3-0 to Belgium on Tuesday night.

Steve Clarke’s men are fourth in Group I well behind the Red Devils, but just three points off Russia, and are level with Kazakhstan.

Robertson may be Scotland captain but whether he does anything of note internationally remains to be seen
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But they are assured of at least a play-off spot thanks to their UEFA Nations League performances.

Captain Andy Robertson was on the scoresheet at the weekend, a week after winning the Champions League with Liverpool, as the Scots beat Cyprus.

Robertson, who is arguably the best left-back in the world, has the potential to achieve many things in his career but it might be a struggle for him to do anything of note in a Scotland shirt.

But he’s not the only great player to struggle to achieve on an international level.

Below you can see EIGHT fantastic players whose international careers never got going.

Ryan Giggs

The Manchester United legend actually represented England as a schoolboy and many feel he should not have picked Wales at senior level.

However, Giggs, who is now the manager of Wales, insisted he wouldn’t have been able to represent England as a senior as he only qualified for England as a schoolboy because he attended a school in England.

Giggs in action for Wales in a World Cup qualifier against Armenia in 2001
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And unfortunately for the former winger he never played at a major tournament for Wales. They came very close to qualifying for the 1994 World Cup and almost reached Euro 2004 but lost a play-off match to Russia.

Giggs also played for a Great Britain side at the London 2012 Olympics but they were knocked out at the quarter-final stage on penalties.

George Best

George Best was capped 37 times by Northern Ireland but none of them came during a major international tournament.

His career for his homeland spanned 13 years (1964-77) but various off-field problems never saw Best maintain the high standards he produced when at Manchester United.

Best is viewed as one of the greatest players of all time
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Northern Ireland did make the 1982 World Cup in Spain but Best was not included in the squad as he would have been 36 when the tournament started and it was five years after he announced his international retirement.

Steve Bruce

Former Manchester United defender Steve Bruce had a glittering career, winning the Premier League and FA Cup three times, the League Cup once and the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

But how many England caps did the former captain of United earn? None.

Bruce was entering his peak years and the best chances he had of an international call-up when Graham Taylor was Three Lions boss between 1990-93.

=17. Steve Bruce made 82 consecutive starts in the Premier League for Manchester United
Bruce never made an appearance for England’s senior side
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However Bruce claimed in a 2011 interview that he wasn’t rated by the manager.

He turned down a call-up from Taylor’s successor Terry Venables in 1994 when he was aged 33 as Bruce saw it as a token gesture.

Eric Cantona

Flamboyant Frenchman Eric Cantona had controversial moments throughout his career and his international appearances is not something he’ll look back on fondly.

He received his first France call-up in 1987 but was banned a year later for reportedly calling manager at the time Henri Michel a ‘bag of s***’ in a TV interview.

Cantona was the architect of his own downfall when it came to progressing internationally
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Cantona was recalled when Michel Platini became the manager shortly afterwards but failure to qualify for the 1990 and 1994 World Cups and a poor performance at Euro 92 saw French football in the wilderness.

The incident at Selhurst Park in January 1995 which saw Cantona kick out at a fan while playing for United saw him later lose his place as the team’s main playmaker to Zinedine Zidane. Cantona never played for France again and was thus not part of their Euro 96 squad as well as their 1998 World Cup-winning squad.

Ian Wright

Ian Wright is easily one of the best strikers the Premier League has ever seen and is Arsenal’s second-highest goalscorer in the club’s history.

But despite representing England for seven years (1991-98) his international career never really took off.

England failed to reach the World Cup in 1994 and Wright didn’t make the squads for the Three Lions’ Euro 92 or Euro 96 campaigns.

He played a big part in helping England reach the 1998 World Cup in France but a hamstring injury ruled him out of the tournament. Wright retired from international football in 1999 following Glenn Hoddle’s sudden sacking.

Paul Scholes

Including Paul Scholes in this list may seem a bit strange considering he played for England at four major tournaments between 1998-2004.

However, the former Manchester United man never reached the high levels he did for his club with the Three Lions.

He retired from international duty aged 29 shortly after Euro 2004 which saw Scholes shunted out to the left side of midfield in the tournament to accommodate Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in central midfield.

Scholes’ talents were woefully misused by England
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Dwight Yorke

Dwight Yorke earned 74 caps for his native Trinidad and Tobago but his international career was nowhere near as good as his club career.

The former Aston Villa and Manchester United frontman did help the Caribbean nation qualify for the 2006 World Cup but they were eliminated at the group stage which saw them face England.

Yorke in action against England at the 2006 World Cup – England won the match 2-0
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Getting to the finals was fantastic for Trinidad and Tobago but when you consider Yorke was a big part of United’s treble winning squad in 1999, it’s fair to say his club career was much better.

George Weah

Ballon d’Or winner and three-time African Footballer of the Year George Weah probably had the most frustrating international career especially when you consider what he achieved for his clubs.

He was unable to get Liberia into the World Cup as a player or a manager and on the two occasions they reached the Africa Cup of Nations with Weah playing (1996 and 2002), they failed to get out of the group stages.

Weah is now serving as Liberia’s 25th president.

George Weah (loan, 2000)
Weah in action for Chelsea during the FA Cup final in 2000
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Zinedine Zidane, Diego Simeone, George Weah and other legends with sons playing for Real Madrid, Fiorentina, Celtic and Roma

2 Apr

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane was forced to defend the  decision to start his son, Luca, in goal for Los Blancos’ narrow win over LaLiga strugglers Huesca at the weekend.

He insisted he handed Luca his first competitive start because Thibaut Courtois was injured and Keylor Navas was tired from the international break and it was nothing to do with the fact Luca is his son.

Luca Zidane made his first competitive start as Real Madrid scraped to a 3-2 win

The 20-year-old may feel he has big shoes to fill having one of the greatest players of all time for a father and this got us thinking, which other football icons have sons who are currently playing professionally?

This could make you feel old!

Zinedine Zidane – Enzo and Luca

Luca was shaky on his first start for Real Madrid, however, he was ultimately on the winning side but he’s not the only Zidane boy making it in football.

Zinedine played for Real Madrid between 2001-06 and Luca if following in his footsteps

The eldest is Enzo, 24, who is currently on loan at Rayo Majadahonda in the Spanish second tier from Swiss side FC Lausanne Sport.

Meanwhile, younger siblings Theo and Elyaz play for Real Madrid at youth level.

Lilian Thuram – Marcus and Khephren Thuram

Zidane’s World Cup-winning team-mate Thuram has two sons who are professional footballers – Marcus, 21 and Khephren, 18.

They’re both doing pretty well with Marcus, who has been linked with Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham in the past, playing for Ligue 1 side Guingamp.

Khephren is at Monaco and scored a stunning goal in a Under-19s match at Chelsea in February.

Lilian (centre) is best known for his time at Juventus but Marcus (left) and Khephren (right) have promising careers of their own

George Weah – Timothy Weah

George Weah was voted the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1995 and his son Timothy, 19, is emerging as an exciting prospect in the game.

Striker Timothy signed for Celtic on loan in January from Paris Saint-Germain and has scored two goals for the Scottish Premiership club.

George played for PSG between 1992-95, Timothy’s parent club

It should also be noted that George’s first son George Jr tried his hand as a footballer, but has not been with a club since 2016.

Diego Simeone – Giovanni and Gianluca Simeone

Atletico Madrid boss Simeone, who played 106 times for Argentina and counts Lazio, Inter and Atletico as former clubs, has five children and all three of his sons are in football.

His eldest Giovanni, 23, plays for Serie A club Fiorentina, while Gianluca plays for Argentine club Gimnasia y Esgrima.

And third son Guiliano, 16, is on the books at River Plate’s academy and is expected to break into the first-team.

Diego with Gianluca (left) and Giovanni (right) before a match with Argentina in 2001. Needless to say the boys have grown up a lot since!

Enrico Chiesa – Federico Chiesa

Chiesa had a 22-year long career in professional football, playing for Sampdoria, Lazio and Parma, scoring in the 1999 UEFA Cup final win for the latter. The former striker’s son, Federico, is carrying on the success in the family.

The winger currently plays for Fiorentina and was linked with a £53million move to Chelsea and Liverpool early in the season as well as Manchester United in February.

Enrico played for Fiorentina for three years while Federico has been in Florence since he was 10-years-old

Peter Schmeichel – Kasper Schmeichel

Schmeichel Jr, 32, has been around for quite a while and although he hasn’t won as many accolades as his dad, Manchester United legend, Peter, he has enjoyed huge success in his career.

He is Leicester’s first choice goalkeeper and was part of the Foxes team which sensationally won the Premier League title in the 2015/16 season.

Kasper has a son Max, so who knows what he might achieve!

Both Peter and Kasper have enjoyed great success as players

Patrick Kluivert – Justin Kluivert

At his peak, Kluivert Sr was one of the most feared strikers in European football and he appears to have passed that onto his sons as well.

Justin, 19, who moved to Roma last summer, despite interest from Manchester United, is the only Kluivert son playing professionally so far. He also has appearances for the Netherlands national team under his belt.

Patrick played for a number of big clubs including Barcelona while Justin is at Roma

However, Ruben Kluivert, 17, is on the books at FC Utrecht and there are all sorts of videos around the internet of 11-year-old Shane Patrick Kluivert lighting it up at youth level.

Gheorghe Hagi – Ianis Hagi

Gheroghe Hagi is viewed by many as one of the greatest Romanian footballers of all time and his son Ianis clearly has some talent, too.

Ianis, who was nominated for the European Golden Boy award in April 2017, currently plies his trade at Romanian club Viitorul Constanța.

However, at 20 years old, Ianis still has time to make his name.

Ianis (right) has yet to play for Romania at senior level

Paolo Maldini – Christian Maldini

The Maldini family name is football royalty with Paolo emulating his father Cesare in winning numerous Serie A and European titles with AC Milan.

Cesare won the European cup in 1963, while Paolo won it on five occasions, the last coming in 2007

And now Paolo’s son Christian, 22, has made it as a footballer but is playing for Italian third tier side Alma Juventus Fano 1906.

Paolo’s younger son Daniel, 17, currently plays for Milan at youth level.

Rivaldo – Rivaldinho

Barcelona legend Rivaldo had a glittering career as a player – winning accolades including the World Cup in 2002 with Brazil as well as the Ballon d’Or in 1999.

And his son Rivaldinho, 23, has also entered the family business.

Rivaldo with his son when he was at Greek club Olympiakos

Rivaldinho is on loan at Viitorul Constanta alongside Ianis Hagi, from parent club Levski Sofia of Bulgaria.

George Weah goal for Milan vs Verona as his son joins Celtic from Paris Saint-Germain

8 Jan

Celtic have signed Timothy Weah.

The 18-year-old has joined Brendan Rodgers’ side for the rest of the season, leaving Paris Saint-Germain on loan.

Weah scored his first league goal for PSG earlier this season

Born in New York in 2000, Weah is the son of former Milan and PSG striker George and joined the PSG youth academy in 2014, signing his first professional contract with the French club three years later.

Here, looks at two of the most famous goals scored by his dad – now Liberia’s president.

Weah v Bayern Munich

The striker finished the 1993/94 season as the Champions League’s top scoring player with seven goals. His goal in Munich in 1994 showed the silky skills that brought him Ballon d’Or glory the following year.

Weah v Verona

It’s the goal known as Weah’s coast to coast goal, scored for Milan against Verona in September 1996. Dribbling the length of the pitch, it’s one of his most famous goals and came during a 4-1 win.

“There are people that said I will not be as good as my father, that I am trash and asked why I am playing for the US,” Weah Jr has previously said.

“You know, that is just pushing me to be the star that my country has been looking for.

“My dream is eventually becoming the greatest talent to come out of the United States and New York, being a starter and playing for my country.

“I have done a lot to get here. I have faced a lot of people who said that I would always be in my father’s shadow. I just take that, and I use that as a boost, because, as much as I love my father, I am trying to make a name for myself.”

Weah has played eight times for the USA

Speaking to Sports Illustrated in October, Weah also discussed how being exposed to the qualities of his team-mates on a daily basis has helped his progression, though admitted to being a late bloomer in comparison to his more celebrated team-mate, Kylian Mbappe.

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“It’s crazy,” he said. “At training I see Neymar do crazy stuff. Mbappe, he’s closer to my age, so I relate more with him, and when I see him doing the stuff he does in training, it kind of pushes me to go out there and try hard and also be myself and show what I can do with the ball at my feet.

“You know, I’m getting there. I’m a late bloomer. It’s taking time. But I try to just take it day by day. I train hard. Even after training, I stay two hours behind and try to work on my passes and finishing. It’s getting there. And I can’t wait until I’m at my full potential and can show the world what I can do.”