Nature can be unfair to many people, many are created with unique body features that may not be found in others. Should we then say that creation or life was not fair to those who are bald?
When we take nature beyond the normal life of every individual, in football, there are some players that are blessed with one form of uniqueness that will never be found in their counterparts. One of the unique things is Baldness.
When Zinedine Zidane signed for Real Madrid in 2001, he said he always felt embarrassed when fans begin to see him as an alien just because he was baldheaded. But had to adapt to the situation at the Madrid capital.
Cheapgoals will in this article, celebrate some bald-headed midfielders who have graced the football scene during their playing days and thrilled the world with their amazing talents.
Remember, not just some random footballers but brilliant and quintessential midfielders that the world may never see their kind again not only for their style of play but also their apparent dearth of hair on the head.
Freddie Ljunberg (Sweden)
Ljungberg is a midfield maestro who was part of Arsenal’s 2003/2004 squad that set the unbreakable record of winning the Premier League unbeaten.
The Swedish held onto the wing for several top clubs in Europe for two decades. (1994 – 2014). He’s a winner of FA CUP and Premier League Championships with Arsenal.
He represented his homeland 75 times and managed to find the back of the net 14 times.
Marcos Senna (Spain)
The Spanish veteran midfielder started from the streets of Brazil and transited to one of the world’s best midfielders in Spain. He became a Spanish citizen in 2006 and a few months after, he donned the colors of the La Furia Roja.
He gave the then Barca’s duo (Xavi and Iniesta) the freedom to explore and dominate opposing teams without having to worry about the threats that may come from the opposition
In 2008, Senna played a major role in Spain’s route to the success of the Euro Championships. In the quarter-finals of the competition, Senna scored the third of Spain’s four converted penalties, which resulted in the nation progressing to the semifinals at the expense of Italy, winning 4–2 in the shootout.
He played the full duration of the final – a 1–0 win over Germany – and was named in UEFA’s squad for the competition. Some pundits and journalists also named Senna as their player of the tournament.
He was mainly referred for his passing range and long-range shooting and was also a penalty specialist. He spent most of his professional career in Spain with Villarreal, appearing in 363 official matches during 11 seasons, ten of which were in La Liga (33 goals scored). He ended his career with the New York Cosmos, with whom he twice won the Soccer Bowl.
Esteban Cambiasso (Argentina)
Here’s another midfield orchestra who during his playing days was a master at what he does. Cambiasso played for a decade for Italian giant, Inter Milan and delivered wholesomely for Inter during Jose Mourinho‘s 2-year spell with the Nerazzurri in which the club did an unprecedented treble.
Cambiasso is a complete, versatile, consistent, and modern footballer, who possesses acute tactical intelligence, and who is capable of playing in midfield and defensive positions; although predominantly a central, box-to-box, or defensive midfielder, he has also been deployed as a playmaking sweeper on occasion.
A strong, left-footed player, he is gifted with stamina, good technique, passing range and vision, attributes which allow him to distribute the ball and create chances for teammates. In his prime, he was also a quick and hard-working player who was effective defensively, thanks to his strong tackling ability and reading of the game; after winning back possession, he was also capable of then initiating attacking plays or scoring goals himself, courtesy of his creative and offensive attributes.
Patrick Vieira (France)
An integral part of Arsenal’s best ever set of players between 1997 to 2006 under the tutelage of Arsene Wenger. He played for the North Londoners between 1996 and 2005 and can be said to be one of Arsenal’s best captains.
During his nine-year stint in the Premier League, Vieira established himself as a dominating box-to-box midfielder, noted for his aggressive and highly competitive style of play, an attitude that also helped him excel as captain of the club from 2002 until his departure in 2005.
He was named in the Premier League PFA Team of the Year for six consecutive years from 1999 to 2004. He helped Arsenal achieve a sustained period of success during his time at the club, where he lifted three FA Cups and three league titles, including one unbeaten. He then returned to Italy, playing for Juventus,
Vieira featured at the senior level for much of his international career, representing France over a period of 12 years, where he also spent some part as captain. He played in the final in his nation’s victorious campaign at the 1998 FIFA World Cup and featured heavily as the team also won Euro 2000.
Despite also playing a key role in the side that finished runners-up in the 2006 World Cup, Vieira was used sparingly by France in the latter stages of his career, and he retired from international football in 2010, after amassing 107 appearances for the side.
Juan Sebastian Veron (Argentina)
As it was stated earlier, we’re considering amazing midfielders that are with the uniqueness of baldness, and another midfield dynamo is the Argentine playmaker and former captain, Veron.
Veron was a talented, complete, influential, and versatile midfielder, who usually functioned as a playmaker; he was capable of playing both as an attacking midfielder, and in the center, or even just in front of the line defensive line, as a deep-lying playmaker, due to his awareness, ability to read the game, tackle, and dictate the tempo of his team’s play or orchestrate his team’s attacking moves from deeper positions with his passing after winning back the ball, in addition to providing assists and creating goalscoring opportunities for teammates.
He could also get forward and score goals, and often functioned in a free role in midfield. A strong, athletic, tenacious, hardworking, and physical player, in his prime, he was gifted with pace, good footwork, and excellent technical ability, as well as outstanding vision, creativity, and passing range, also possessing a powerful shot from distance with either foot. He was also an accurate corner kick and set-piece taker, known for his powerful, bending free-kicks with his right foot.
Andres Iniesta (Spain)
Andres Iniesta is a brilliant midfielder on his own that Barcelona and Spain, in particular, would never forget his efforts. Iniesta is a genius at shattering the hopes of opponents when it matters most – The last-minute goal at Stamford Bridge in 2009 and another in Johannesburg in 2010 against the Oranges of the Netherlands.
He’s known for his sexy passes, scintillating dribbling skills that most times may humiliate whoever fall victim and his vision and movement with the ball – A diminutive midfielder with a diplomatic style of play.
Iniesta quickly pushes the ball from his right foot to his left which takes the ball away from an opponent, allowing him to get out of a tight situation. He’s also a playmaker who relies on his technique, exceptionally precise, creative, and intelligent passing, intuition, movement, and inventiveness to control the midfield, dictate the ebb and flow of play, and create chances or space for teammates.
Zinedine Zidane (France)
The best of them all. The current Real Madrid boss is a World Cup Winner, 3-time winner of the FIFA World Player of the year award, and 1-time winner of the Ballon D’or award.
The Secret of Zizou (as he’s fondly called) during his playing days was that he never looked troubled, flustered, or rushed while playing, whether it was a league game, champions league tie, or even the World Cup. He basically played the Zizou way – Little wonder he was showered with many accolades.
Also, the baldheaded midfield genius is blessed with incredible skills on the ball and has eyes to explore spaces in the opposition’s defense. You see, what made Zidane great was how he made players around him better. Zidane absorbed pressure and held on to the ball until a teammate was open.
Zidane could also score big goals. Take, for example, the volley in the Champions League final when he played for Real Madrid. Perhaps one of the greatest goals ever scored in the Champions League.
What really underlies Zidane’s play is his confidence. Zidane plays like he is the best player on the pitch.
However, Zizou is temperamental just like every human can be. There’s a belief in some part of Africa that baldheaded people can disrupt so many things when they’re annoyed and this was showcased at the biggest stage in the world when France faced Italy at the World Cup final in 2006 where he headbutted Italian defender, Marco Materazzi because he (Materazzi) was said to have called Zizou’s mother a whore.
Super League: Respect & Dialogue Needed To Restore Normality
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, disapproving the concept of Super League
President Gianni Infantino has called for respect and dialogue as he expressed FIFA’s strong disapproval of the proposed European Superleague project, and has requested that the concerned parties consider their position in line with respecting the institutions that exist to protect the interest of national, European, and global football.
“FIFA is an organization which is built on values, the true values of sport,” said the FIFA President in his address to the 45th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland.
“It is an organization that is built on our statutes, the statutes that define the institutional framework, with the pyramid, with FIFA, the confederations, the associations, the leagues, the clubs, the players. And at FIFA, we can only strongly disapprove of the creation of a super league which is a closed shop, which is a breakaway from the current institutions, from the leagues, from the associations, from UEFA, and from FIFA, which is outside of the system. There is no doubt whatsoever of FIFA’s disapproval for this.”
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, and a model that he promoted in his 16 years at UEFA:
“FIFA is here, and I am here today as FIFA President, to bring full support to European football, to UEFA, and the 55 member associations of UEFA and of FIFA, to the leagues, clubs, players, and to fans. To all the fans, all over Europe, and actually all over the world as well.”
“We can see that there is a lot to throw away for the short-term financial gain of some,” the FIFA President added. “People need to think very carefully, they need to reflect, and they need to assume responsibility. They need to think not only of their shareholders, but they need to think about all the people, of all the fans, of all those who have contributed to making European football what it is today. It goes back not only decades, it goes back more than one hundred years. People – with love, with passion, with commitment – have created all this. And we need to protect this. It is our task.”
“FIFA is a democratic organization, an organization that is open,” the FIFA President concluded. “Everyone can bring ideas and proposals, but always with respect for the institutions, leagues, associations, UEFA, and FIFA.
With respect for the history and with the respect for the passion of so many people around the world. I understand as well that on these particular days, emotions are very high, but we need to always keep the line. Football is hope, and it is our responsibility to make hope a reality. So we hope that everything will go back to normal and that everything will be settled, but always with acting responsibly, with respect, with solidarity, and always in the interest of national, European, and global football.”
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.