Most club owners are disputable in their own right, no football enthusiasts would jump at the chance to see their darest club taken over by businessmen who just consider it to be another venture for their monetary portfolio.
Passionate club owners do give out valiant effort to delight the fans by employing the right people and deploying perfect strategies that can improve the club by getting results when it genuinely matters. However, it is by no means an easy task
There are club owners or presidents that have posed their club with issues that go beyond minor gripes, make baffling decisions, and sending balanced teams spiraling into a financial black hole.
Let’s take a look at 8 of the worst Club Owner, Chairman or President in club football.
- George Reynolds
George Reynolds’s early days were a story of indigenous crimes that grew until he began embarking on serious robberies and safe-cracking.
After a four-year jail sentence, he was said to have straightened his act and began a very successful business career, amassing a fortune close to $500 million.
In 1999 he purchased fourth division side Darlington FC and become a club owner, with the plan of turning the minnows into a Premier League club. Reynolds’ first order of business was building a $40 million, 25,000 seater stadium for the bottom tier club.
A ground which he named the ‘Reynolds Arena’, building a new stadium can give a club a huge lift, but a 25,000 capacity stadium was just too much and risible for a club with an average crowd of around 2,000, leaving the stadium looking essentially empty.
He was arrested in 2004 and sentenced to jail the following year, having been convicted of money laundering. Darlington was relegated to the Conference and went into administration once more, another relegation made the situation unmanageable.
They left the ‘Reynolds Arena’, moving to a 2,000 capacity stadium which was initially their size and was automatically relegated four times and forced to start a new club under a new name.
- Mike Ashley – (Newcastle Owner)
In 2008, Ashley was shown on live television drinking beer while with the fans in the away stand during Newcastle’s game against Arsenal in London, which portrayed him as an owner who wants to build a healthy relationship with his fans having just bought the club less than a year.
Even though such act was seen as contravening Premier League licensing rules which state that alcohol must not be consumed in sight of the pitch.
Ashley was supposed to be the fans man, the guy who sits with the fans in the stand just like he did when he bought the club, follows the club home and away. Unfortunately, it’s all too good to be true as the owner who once stretched forth the hands of the healthy relationship becomes a bad owner.
He was expected to be the owner who would help Newcastle take the next step and challenge for titles in the Premier League and Europe. Instead, he becomes a public enemy of the fans due to how he failed to manage the club well structurally, and his failure to invest in the squad.
The enmity between Ashley and the fans grows intense when the club got relegated under club legend Alan Shearer’s tutelage.
At the time when many of the fans thought he would find a buyer for the club and denounce his ownership for the club to move forward structurally and success wise.
It’s even got messier to where the fans have to come to the stadium with a placard that reads “Mike Ashley Out” many times.
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- Josep Maria Bartomeu – (Former Barcelona President)
It’s no news that Barcelona is on the verge of appointing a new President, however, the Catalan side cannot forget the terrible tenure of the former President and his board. Bartomeu took over the Presidency when the previous incumbent Sandro Rosell was ousted for corruption and Bartomeu took his role as President which is completely against the club’s statutes.
In the wake of things, Bartomeu called for elections following the club’s second treble-winning season. Having won the election, he surged into power on the back of their treble-winning success. He swung into action by signing Atletico Madrid’s Arda Turan who at that point was still a superb footballer for Los Rojiblancos.
Turan was one of many that came into the club with a huge cost and didn’t fit into the template or the philosophy of the club. With Barcelona under the leadership of Bartomeu, everything that made the Blaugrana a well-respected club worldwide under the leadership of Joan Laporta and the management of Pep Guardiola was slowly but surely eradicated with the bad decision making and irrelevant transfer dealing of Bartomeu.
The prospective board may not know much about the extent of the damage and mismanagement Bartomeu has inflicted on the club, surely when they come on board a lot more would be known.
The former President would go down in the history of the club as the worst President, coupled with the unhealthy relationship he has with arguably the greatest player in the history of the club (Messi).
- Roland Duchatelet – (Carl Zeiss Jena & Ujpest Owner)
The Belgian businessman and politician is the main shareholder of two clubs in the German fourth division and Hungary first division.
He previously owned one of the finest clubs in Belgium Standard Liege which he sold in early 2015, and Sint-Truidense which he sold in 2017 plus a couple of clubs he owned and sold which includes AD Alcorcon sold in 2019 and Charlton Athletic sold in 2020.
When talking about an owner who is seriously despised by his own club fans, the Belgian businessman and politician fit perfectly into that category. In 2016 Duchatelet made headlines after a statement appeared on the Charlton Athletic website, in which some of the club’s fans were accused of wanting the club to fail, in the aftermath of the statement the club’s newly appointed head of communications resigned from her position.
While the Belgian businessman took charge of Charlton in 2014, it took exactly one year before the relationship between him and the fans turned sow. Under his administration, the club got relegated to League One, and that led to widespread protests from the fans who formed a coalition against him.
Duchatelet had a lot of shortcomings and that led to a lot of backlashes from the fans, he sacked six managers during his painful reign and he will always be remembered by the fans for negatives reasons.
If the Belgian businessman and politician is ranked the worst ever owner witnessed in football history, we won’t be wrong because the similar protests that got him sold Charlton also happened to him back in Standard Liege which showed he’s never a leader who has a pleasant relationship with some of the club’s he’s owned.
- Craig Whyte – (Venture Capitalist)
The former Glasgow Rangers owner bought the controlling interest in Rangers from its then majority shareholder David Murray in May 2011, he subsequently put the club into administration in February 2012 and followed by liquidation in July 2012.
Historically, Rangers remain one of Europe’s greatest clubs with huge domestic success and respectable European success.
In their over 121 years of league football in Scotland, the club never left the top-flight, however, after finishing second in 2012 they got relegated to the fourth division of Scottish football as a result of financial collapse under the leadership of Whyte.
While Whyte effectively bought the club with the fan’s money, he didn’t invest a dime from his own pocket and that led to Celtic dominating the Scottish league for a long period, and with over 119 league Championship between rangers, Celtic owned a large chunk of the title.
Before Rangers got relegated under Whyte, some thought the stronghold that both Rangers and Celtic had enjoyed in the league damaged the competitiveness of the league, but the departure of Rangers to the lower division proved them wrong.
Under Whyte, Rangers and the Scottish league didn’t just lose financially, they also lost the Old Firm Derby which brought a loss of interest and revenue for the league.
During Whyte’s reign, he didn’t just ruin Rangers he also damaged Scottish football in many ways, until a new owner came on board to fix things up.
- Peter Ridsdale – (Businessman & Former Owner)
Leeds United has a host of bright young talent on their books and they looked set to ruffled shoulders with the Premier League’s elite for years to come under the leadership of Ridsdale. The businessman Ridsdale became the chairman of his hometown club in 1997 and did enjoy a mouthwatering success in the first four years of his tenure as Leeds United chairman.
Under the administration of Ridsdale, the side from Elland Road reached the UEFA Cup semi-final in 1999-2000, and the UEFA Champions League semi-final in 2001-01.
The relationship between Ridsdale and the fans deteriorated, having failed to fulfill his promises and damaged a lot at the club. Under his stewardship he borrowed £60m against future gate receipts, effectively gambling on the team qualifying for Champions League in successive seasons, which they failed to achieve and led to their super stars leaving the club.
Following the unpleasant situation of the club, Ridsdale denied all blame and admitted it was a mistake that he allowed the former manager David O’Leary to spend lavishly on players. He also claimed he would have saved Leeds from subsequent relegation to the third tier of English football, and pay back the debt he and his board had incurred in the name of the club.
Unfortunately for him he couldn’t, by the time he stepped down as the chairman in 2003, the side from Elland Road was already owed a debt worth £103m.
In that regard, Peter Ridsdale is up until now best remembered by the Leeds United fans, for his financial misappropriation and relegation nightmares which comfortably put him among club football worst club owner or chairman.
- Maurizio Zamparini (Palermo)
Zamparini is a combination of impatience and exasperation, for the managers and coaches in Italy, he is the craziest figures in club football.
He famously remarked that he would personally execute each member of his squad if they did not improve.
“If my players keep being shi*, I will cut off their testicles, and eat them in my salad.”
Besides his psychotic tendencies, Zamparini has also proved himself to be one of a handful of terrible club owners who fired 30 managers in the space of 13 years. In the 26 years that Zamparini has been a club president, he has changed 41 coaches. Of course, 41, let that resonate in your mind if you’re having a bad day.
Zamparini really set the new standard when it comes to outlandish owner behavior, being outspoken is one thing but being obnoxious is entirely different. For example, in 2016, when he was embroiled in a tax evasion scandal (who isn’t these days?) and has voted to suspend the Serie A season in response. Such bully self-importance.
- Željko Ražnatović (FK Obilić)
Do you think Bartomeu was a terrible president? This is a man who was feared by Slobodan Milosevic, then Serbian leader.
Popularly-known as ‘Arko‘, Ražnatović would certainly be ranked as the worst club owner in football history. Whilst some may have been involved in fraud scams and the like, Ražnatović was an illustrious criminal and a notorious one at that.
Ražnatović was for a long time the most powerful militia leader in the Balkans (Southeastern Europe). He was on Interpol’s ‘Most Wanted’ man in the late 70s and early ’80s for robberies, multiple murders and was later indicted by the UN for crimes against humanity.
The criminally-minded club owner oftentimes made threats to opposing players, and Ražnatović would employed army veterans to sit in the stands with fans, occasionally pointing pistols at opposing players. According to multiple reports, a player was locked in a garage when his team played Obilik.
Ražnatović was assassinated shortly before his trial in 2000, and Obilic has been relegated seven times since, becoming an amateur club.
- Ratko Butorovic (FK Vojvodinas)
- Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr- (Liverpool)
- Silvio Berlusconi – (AC Milan)
- Ken Bates – (Businessman & Former Owner Of Leeds United, Chelsea)
- Luciano Gaucci – (Italian Entrepreneur & Former Owner Of Multiple Clubs)
- Jesus Gil (Atletico Madrid)
- David Sullivan and David Gold (West-Ham)
- Sam Hammam (Wimbledon/Cardiff)
- Maurizio Zamparini (Palermo)
7 Of The Most Loyal Football Players
When it comes to loyalty and commitment in the beautiful game, there are few football players who are able to pledge their allegiance and refused to be swayed by big offers. For every Ashley Cole, there’s also a Totti.
There are players who when they reach their potentials, will get easily swayed by money and the probable fame that will follow their transition to other clubs. While other players would simply remain at their current club because of the love they have for the club.
The first set of players who leave the club when bigger clubs come calling are always remembered for their exploits while at the club. But, the second type of football player who ignores the temptations of leaving their ‘most loved’ football club sides is regarded as heroes.
Meanwhile, there are some known players who have showcased utmost loyalty for their respective clubs. For instance, Francesco Totti waved off Real Madrid’s offer in 2006, stating AS Roma as his family and he’s never seen a situation where a child would leave his poor parents to go live with rich strangers.
But what about other unpopular loyal players like Francesco Totti, Stephen Gerrard or even Mark Noble?.
Here’s a list of 7 most loyal football players
- David Zibung (Goalkeeper) – FC Luzern (18 Years +)
The life of this Swiss goalkeeper has been all about his boyhood club, FC Luzern. The +37-year old was born in Hergiswil which is in the Nidwalden region in Switzerland.
He joined the youth team of FC Luzern in 1999 and was there till 2003. Zibung grew in leaps and bounds with the Luzern main team, ever since he broke into the first team, he’s never for once considered leaving the club.
Technically, Zibung would’ve spent eighteen years at Luzern by July 2021. But he’s definitely spent more than eighteen years given that he’s been at the club’s feeder team before 2003.
Zibung remains one of the oldest and longest-serving loyal goalkeepers of the Swiss League.
- Hidekazu Otani (Midfielder) – Kashiwa Reysol (18 Years)
Otani is a midfielder of note, who joined his one and only club in 2000 as a teenager. Now 36 years-old, Okami has been deployed in many parts of the midfield but his natural position is the defensive midfield where he plays comfortably well.
The Japanese veteran midfielder has on numerous occasions been offered to leave his club but his love for the Sun King club has held him back so much so that he’s willing to retire at the club when the time comes.
While some quarters may believe that Hidekazu Okani had been at Kashiwa for eighteen years, the fans of the club see him as an integral part of the club’s history given that he’s won laurels with the club severally.
- Igor Akinfeev (Goalkeeper) – CSKA Moscow (18 Years)
Akinfeev is probably the most popular player we’re x-raying in this Exposé. Akinfeev, Russian, is the Russian National Team goalkeeper and captain, as well as his club side, CSKA Moscow.
History has it that the 34-year old shot-stopper has been at CSKA Moscow since the age of four. His father sent him to the Sports School of CSKA where he began his goalkeeping career and won the Russian Junior Championship in 2002 with the CSKA Moscow team.
Akinfeev would make his debut for CSKA Moscow at sixteen, precisely 2001 where he saved a penalty and also had a clean sheet. He has played over five hundred matches for CSKA Moscow, winning six Russian Cup titles, six Russian Premier League titles as well as the 2005 UEFA Cup with the club.
His incredible rise to stardom is down to his personality and ingenuity as a goalkeeper. He’s arguably the best goalkeeper the Russian nation has ever produced and has been on several international tournaments for the country since he joined the national team.
It may sound bizarre but Akinfeev has spent thirty years at the Red-blues. That is a huge commitment mixed with loyalty.
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- Ismed Sofyan (Defender) – Persita Jakarta (18 Years)
Talking about the most loyal player, Sofyan’s loyalty isn’t about his club alone, it’s for his country and his country’s elite league, The Indonesian Super League – Not that he’s an amateur.
Yes, he may have played for a couple of club sides in the Indonesian league, but his love and unwavering support for his country is immeasurable.
Sofyan currently plays for Persita Jakarta, a club he joined in 2002 that has made him become the longest-serving player in the club until now. The 41year-old right full-back is a free-kick specialist. He was only privileged to play for the Indonesian National Team for just 53 times.
- Dean Lewington (Defender) – Milton Keynes Dons FC (18 Years)
As of July 2020, Lewinton is the longest-serving player for a single club in English League having spent sixteen years with The Dons.
The English left-back joined MK Dons after a successful spell with Wimbledon in 2004. Lewington, 32, has made over seven hundred appearances with more than 250 different team-mates.
He’s witnessed two promotions and relegations as the club’s captain for the years he’s been at MK Dons and he’s grateful for the sort of longevity he’s had.
He told daily mail in 2016 ‘It’s not like the Premier League where you get five-year deals. It is one or two years. When we won promotion to the Championship in 2015, I was out of contract on the final day as we were celebrating.’
- Koji Homa (Goalkeeper) – Mito HollyHock (21 Years)
Undoubtedly a popular figure in the Japanese league, the 43-year-old goalkeeper currently plays for the above-named club in the second tier of the Japanese League, J2.
After graduating from high school, he joined the J1 League side Urawa Reds in 1996 but couldn’t play more often before crossing to Mito HollyHock in 1999 and never looked back.
He’s helped Mito HollyHock achieve some amazing feats since he joined in 1999 with the biggest of them being the promotion of the club to J2 in 2000.
In his twenty-one-year sojourn with the club, Koji Homma holds the record for the player with the highest number of matches played in J2.
- Lee Casciaro (Forward) – Lincoln Red Imps (22 Years)
The 38-year-old Gibraltar striker scored the only goal of the game when his Gibraltarian minnows club (Lincoln Red Imps) shocked Celtic and to a larger extent, the rest of Europe in their Champions League qualifier at the Victoria Stadium in 2016,
Cascario, 39, has been at the club since he was eight years old and has spent twenty-three years as a first-team member.
It should be agreed that Lincoln Red Imps was made for Cascario, given that two of his younger brothers have played for the club as well.
With three international goals, Lee Henry Cascario is currently Gibraltar’s all-time goalscorer since the 33,684 populated nation joined UEFA.
- Iker Muniain (Athletic Bilbao): 11 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Tarantini (Rio Ave): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Stefan Radu (Lazio): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Vincent Manceau (Angers SCO): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Anthony Lopes (Lyon): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Koke (Atletico Madrid): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Roberto Torres (Osasuna): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Gerard Pique (Barcelona): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow): 12 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Mario Gaspar Perez (Villarreal): 12 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Guilherme (Lokomotiv Moscow): 13 years, 1 month, 3 days
- Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur): 13 years, 1 month, 10 days
- Volodymyr Chesnakov (Vorskla Poltava): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Mahmut Tekdemir (Istanbul Basaksehir): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Sergio Busquets (Barcelona): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Anton Shunin (Dynamo Moscow): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Marcelo (Real Madrid): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Sammy Bossut (Zulte Waregem): 14 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid): 15 years, 4 days
- Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Francesco Magnanelli (Sassuolo): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Jessy Moulin (Saint-Etienne): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Oier (Osasuna): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Sergio Alvarez (Celta de Vigo): 16 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Mark Noble (West Ham United): 16 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Lionel Messi: (Barcelona): 16 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Denis Sinyayev(FC Avangard Kursk)18 years
- Ismaeil Matar (Al-Wahda): 19 years
- Petr Literak(Frýdek-Místek): 22 years
Erling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking Rise
Erling Haaland was always going to become the ultimate striker and probably the best number 9 on the planet. Also, there’s every possibility that one day, he may become a Ballon D’or winner. But, there’s still one mystery, how did he become the cyborg that he is today?
Haaland continues to be a goal machine, becoming the quickest player in history to reach 20 Champions League goals. His goal from the spot in the UCL round-16 second leg tie against Sevilla was his 20th goal in just 14 appearances in the competition, which broke Harry Kane’s previous record of 24 games.
“Of course he’s fast, powerful, good around the goal and he’s got real soccer sense. But it’s more of his energy, it’s his infectious personality that I think is like a magnet; it draws people to him, it makes people want to be around him.” Those are the words of Red Bull Salzburg manager, Jesse Marsch.
Grab a handful of popcorn and sit back as we unfold the story behind the rise of this Norwegian beast, goal machine, and keeper’s nightmare, Erling Braut Haaland.
Haaland’s Salzburg Breakthrough
As at when Jesse Marsch was appointed as Salzburg manager, Haaland had been at the club for about six months and had only played one game. And then he went to the U-20 World Cup where he scored nine goals in one game.
From his Salzburg debut, Haaland, who had already impressed at the Norwegian league with Bryne and Molde left observers with no doubt about the quality he possesses.
He would become one of the best strikers on the planet because the talent in him was very obvious. In a chat with oh-my-goal, Jesse Marsch revealed that Haaland’s personality was the first thing he fell in love with about Haaland.
“The first couple of days I worked with him, what impressed me more than anything else was his personality on the pitch. He was just relentless! He worked harder than anyone.”
But beyond his raw talent in Salzburg, Erling Haaland left his mark on the locker room with his personality. He had a smile on his face and got along incredibly well with his teammates. Therefore, it wasn’t just his talent, it was his overall energy.
Erling in person had a really positive influence on his teammates. Erling the player, was a selfish assassin who scored 29 goals in 27 appearances for the Austrian club.
Meanwhile, he also always talked about making his teammates happy. “The best memory I Had of him was when we were getting penalties in just about every game, and he was giving them to all the other attacking players.“
“And then, after a player missed a penalty, I said Ok, Erling has to take the penalties and I told him he would be taking the penalties”
“It’s incredible to have such a talented player who loves to score goals, be the one that is giving the penalty responsibilities to the others because he wants them to feel the power of success, the power of scoring goals, and the power of confidence. That says a lot to me about the character of Erling.” Marsch revealed.
At 19, when most people think about personal glory, Haaland was already a perfect teammate and a future leader which was unprecedented for a player as good as he was and in his age range.
Without a doubt, Haaland’s personality was great enthusiastic and it did really have a big effect on a lot of people at Salzburg.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Influence
Erling Haaland may owe his incredible rise to his immense talent and his positive leadership qualities. But that’s not all, Cristiano Ronaldo also played a huge role in Haaland’s evolution.
People often say that Erling Haaland is the next Cristiano Ronaldo but is the CR7 comparison justified?
Certainly, Erling is more of a pure striker than Cristiano but from a power football perspective, his ability in the transition to affect games like the Portuguese ace makes the comparison justifiable.
Haaland himself admitted that Cristiano Ronaldo was his role model but if like Cristiano, Erling broke all the goalscoring records, it’s not really the part of football that CR7 has influenced.
Haaland is following in Cristiano Ronaldo’s footsteps in terms of leadership and he even is now a role model to many players just like Ronaldo was to him.
Cristiano Ronaldo has had positive effects on his teammates and in every team, he’s played in which really helped him overtime right from his days at Manchester United and Real Madrid. But for Erling, one could really see that right from his young age that it’s a natural quality he has.
It will be up to Haaland to continue to modify that aspect of himself and mold that in a way that he can become a really strong leader within his teams as he continues to grow older.
Above all, Haaland took inspiration from Cristiano Ronaldo in one essential area, work ethic. Like CR7, he’s always hungry to improve. “He really worked hard a lot. After training, he would stick around to finish, to hit some crosses, to work on his heading.” – Jesse Marsch, RB Salzburg Coach.
Like CR7, Erling Haaland thinks every little detail counts. He would wear special glasses because he felt like when you look at your computer all day long or your cell phone, that your eyes would start to fade and so he had that special glasses he always wears.
And while he has his own personality, Erling is directly inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo especially when it comes to nutrition and work ethic by picking the most hardworking professional football player in history as his role model.
Perfect With BVB
Borussia Dortmund activated his €20 million (£17m/$22m) release clause, beating United and Leipzig to his signature after all three clubs held meetings with the player, his father, and agent Mino Raiola.
Borussia Dortmund already had forward Paco Alcacer on the books, but saw Haaland as such a generational talent, that they were willing to offload the Spain international to give the Norwegian teen an even better chance of success.
CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke says that they had been looking for someone with Haaland’s particular skill set for a long time and could not pass up the opportunity to sign him.
“We always wanted to have a center-forward who has a different way of playing football,” Watzke told Goal and DAZN. “But this guy also had to come onto the market first.
There are not many who are 1.94 meters (6 ft 4 in) tall and that fast. Actually, nobody else comes to mind. It was just an opportunity that you don’t get very often. – Goal.com
Dortmund offered the striker the best chance of regular game time as they promised to make him their first-choice striker, something Alf-Inge Haaland admits is crucial to his development.
Haaland’s Dortmund story got off to the perfect start with the most incredible debut against Augsburg. Trailing 3-1, Lucien Favre sent on the teenager from the bench and was rewarded with a 22-minute hat-trick to help secure a 5-3 win.
Having revealed all the secrets that make Haaland an outstanding striker, in all honesty, the Norwegian striker has no limit because he keeps getting better at Dortmund.
He was incredible at Salzburg. “We were obviously so sad to lose him so quickly because we had a lot of fun and success with him, but we’re also very proud of him and we’re really excited to see him continue to push himself and move forward and show everybody in the world how good he is.”
And today, he’s showing just how good he is in Germany. He used to only be seen as a superpowered and superfast goalscorer. But at Dortmund? He’s also shown his technical advances and his in-game intelligence and influence.
He’s more and more capable of keeping the ball, playing in different positions, taking part in the game, in short, he’s become the ultimate striker.
Giving his unique skill-set and amazing personality, he will definitely sign for a bigger club in years to come. Yes, he may experience some difficulties, but his quality will help him manage whatever challenge that comes his way and in-turn become the best number 9 of not only his generation but in football history.