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Legendary Players

Sir Stanley Matthews - Global Icon

Stanley Matthews only won a single trophy in his career and never played in European club competition - despite that, he was football's first global icon. David Goldblatt explains how it happened.

John Charles - The Gentle Giant

Welsh forward John Charles paved the way for the abolition of the maximum wage in England after he played in Italy for five years, but his impact in Turin was even greater, reports Ben Lyttleton.

Frank Wong Soo - English-Chinese Character

Years before Terry Venables made the groundbreaking signing of China's national team captain Fan Zhiyi and his compatriot Sun Jihai in 1998, Frank Wong Soo had already made his mark as the first player of Chinese extraction to become an England international.

Charlie Mitten - Breaking Down (Transfer) Barriers

By quitting English football in 1950 to find fame and fortune in South America, Charlie Mitten started the process of abolishing the restrictive retain-and-transfer system that changed the face of the game. Ben Lyttleton reports.

Giles Heron - The "Black Arrow"

One of the first black players to play in Britain, Giles Heron became the first Afro-Caribbean player to play first team football for Celtic.

Ricky Villa - The Finest FA Cup Final Goal Of All Time?

In 1981, Argentina's Ricky Villa was the toast of English football, having just scored what is widely acknowledged to be the best ever goal in a FA Cup Final. Just 12 months later he was being booed by English fans as England and Argentina locked horns in the Falklands conflict.

Real fans reluctantly warm to Ronaldo

Being the most famous face in football and the FIFA World Player of the Year hasn't always been enough for Real Madrid's fans, but Ronaldo is finally starting to call the Spanish capital home.

Beckham: Fashion or Love?

David Beckham became an object of intense adoration during the world cup in Japan. But did we witness the beginning of an everlasting love or simply a passing whim of Japan's trend-sensitive teenagers.

Zinedine Zidane - Whose Hero?

France's sporting saviour in a country which recently gave the right wing politician Jean Marie Le Pen nearly twenty percent of the vote is himself the son of Algerian immigrants. So just whose hero is he?

Hidetoshi Nakata - Independent Hero

As in baseball, business and music, any Japanese who succeeds overseas serves to fire the hopes of the millions who hope to do the same. Nakata, Japan's 'god of soccer,' is one such independent hero.


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