Journeymen of World Football

Jari Litmanen

Starting his career in his homeland, Jari Litmanen played for Reipas at youth level starting 1977. He joined the first team in 1987 and played for three seasons, scoring twenty-eight goals. He played for HJK and MyPa for one season each in 1991 and 1992, doing well at both clubs.

A move to Ajax arrived in 1992 and was where Litmanen played the best football of his career. Before leaving in 1999, he scored ninety-one goals in 159 games and won the European Cup in 1995 with a famous 1-0 win over AC Milan. He also finished the tournament as the second top scorer with six goals. The same year, he was also part of the Ajax team which won the UEFA Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup. Although very successful domestically, Litmanen struggles with injuries in the final three seasons he was with Ajax.

Signing for Barcelona in 1999, he joined numerous other players under manager Louis van Gaal who had signed from Ajax. His career however begun to be plagued by injuries and he failed to adapt to conditions in Spain, before being frozen out by Van Gaal.

Litmanen joined Liverpool in January 2001 for one year and played twenty-six games. Although intially excited at having Litmanen in the squad, manager Gerard Houllier did not play him as frequently as Litmanen thought he should have. A broken wrist caused him to miss the last three months of the 00-01 season, however ankle issues had effectively prevented ninety minutes of football for most of his stint. He was part of the Liverpool team which won a cup treble, but did not play in any of the three finals.

Joining Ajax for the second time on free transfer in 2002, Litmanen was given a hero’s welcome. He stayed for two seasons, but managed just twenty games before being released by the club.

Returning to Finland, Litmanen had a short stint with Lahti before moving on to Hansa Rostock in Germany in January 2005 where he was unable to help them prevent relegation. He joined Swedish team Malmö FF however appearances were few and far between due to continued injuries. He left the club in June 2007.

After a short break without a club, Fulham took the option to sign Litmanen in January 2008 after a trial. Only weeks after signing, he had to return to Finland due to heart problems. He did make his eventual debut however in March of the same year, but was released without playing a single first team game.

Returning to Lahti in August 2008, he was able to play more games and helped them finish third. A one year extension to his contract was taken up however the following season saw the club relegated. Litmanen made another return to HJK with a one year contract at the age of 40, where he went on to make eighteen appearances with the majority of them as a substitute. He ended being one of the few players to play football in four decades from the 1980s through to 2010s.

Nicolas Anelka

Nicolas Anelka is probably the most expensive football journeyman in history with a total of thirteen clubs and totalling £90 million in transfer fees.

He had three clubs as a youth player before joining Paris St Germain in 1996.

Spotted by Arsene Wenger during the 1996/97 season, he joined Arsenal as a 17 year old for £500,000 and managed to break in to the Arsenal team of 1997/98. He was a key figure in the run that lead Arsenal to the “double” win of both Premier League and FA Cup. He also went on to finish top scorer in the 1998/99 league and saw him win the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

Anelka joined Real Madrid in 1999 for just over £22 million, and quickly fell out of favour with fans, fellow players and even the coach, Vicente Del Bosque. He also received a forty-five day suspension for refusing to train, but eventually returned to the team with the club going on to win the Champions League that year. Anelka was instrumental in scoring in both legs of the semi-final against Bayern Munich.

He rejoined Paris St Germain in 2000 for £22 million. His time there was an unsuccessful one however as he fell out with coach Luis Fernandez. He was then loaned out to Liverpool in December 2001 in a deal which would run to the end of the season.

Liverpool decided against offering him a permanent deal and he joined Manchester City under Kevin Keegan where in his first and second seasons, he ended as the club top scorer.

In 2005, he joined Fenerbahçe for £7 million where he helped them win the Turkish league.

Anelka returned to the Premier League the following season to join Bolton for club record £8 million. He went on to finish top scorer for the club with ten goals. There was some initial upset during his time at Bolton, however in 2007 he pledged his future to the club when he signed a four year deal.

In 2008, Anelka joined Chelsea for £15 million. He went on to win the FA Cup that season, and again the following season. During his time, he also won the Community Shield and Premier League in 2009/10. His first season with the club was particularly successful as he finished with 19 goals in 37 appearances. Anelka’s career at Chelsea lasted through to 2012 when he asked to placed on the transfer list. Manager André Villas-Boas responded by having him change in a separate changing room and allegedly banned him from using the first team car park.

Shortly after announcing his desire to leave Chelsea, Anelka signed for Shanghai Shenhua on a reported £175,000 a week deal. The transfer would also see him join up with former Chelsea strike partner Didier Drogba. After six months at the club however, it was reported that Anelka was keen on a move back to Europe. In January 2013, Anelka moved to Juventus on a five month loan deal.

He eventually returned to the Premier League in July 2013, signing for West Brom on a free transfer. Anelka scored his first goal with the club in December 2013 and in doing so, performed a quenelle gesture which is seen as an inverted Nazi salute. He was banned by the FA for five games. Shortly after, he announced via Twitter that he was terminating his contract with West Brom, however the club announced that they were firing him for not giving adequate notification of his intent to leave.

In April 2014, it was announced that he would be joining Brazilian club Atlético Mineiro however ten days later the club president announced that the deal had been cancelled after a number of excuses where made as to why Anelka wasn’t turning up to sign his contract.

Andy Cole

Cole started his career at Arsenal, however in three years between 1989 and 1992, he played only one senior game for the club. He went on to join Fulham in 1991 to gain some playing experience and scored three goals in thirteen games for the club.

He transferred to Bristol City for £500,000 and became the clubs record transfer purchase and scored a respectable twenty goals in forty one games for the club in the first division.

Newcastle paid a club record £1.75 million for Cole in February 1993 where he went on to score twelve goals in twelve games with Newcastle winning the first division for promotion to the Premier League. The following season, Peter Beardsley was signed to form a partnership with Cole and the strike force was an instant hit with Cole scoring thirty four goals that season with the club finishing third. The performances lead to a PFA Young Player of the Year award for the season. In the 1994/95 season, Cole scored another nine goals in eighteen league games and bagged a hat-trick in the UEFA Cup in a game against Royal Antwerp.

His performances lead to the shock signing by Manchester United of Cole for £7 million which set a new record for the transfer of a British player. Cole joined half way through the season but still managed to score twelve goals in eighteen games including five against Ipswich Town in a 9-0 win. Unfortunately, United failed to win the league as they drew their final game with the title going to Blackburn Rovers. The following season, Cole’s form dipped as the side was restructured around Eric Cantona, and he received some criticism from fans and media for his performances. Over the summer of 1996, Cole was subject to transfer talk which would have seen him transferred to Blackburn as a part-exchange for Alan Shearer, however the transfer deal collapsed. Cole opted to stay in Manchester but suffered a setback as Neil Ruddock broke both his legs in a reserve game. Eric Cantona retired at the end of the 1996/97 season and Cole emerged as first choice striker again alongside Teddy Sheringham and finished the season with eighteen goals. Launching an attack on Europe, United also signed Dwight Yorke which created the deadly combination of Cole and Yorke for the 1998/99 season when United went on to win the league, FA Cup, and Champions League. Cole also finished top scorer for United again in 1999/00 with nineteen goals as he collected another Premier League title. Injuries took their toll for the 2000/01 season, and the signing of Ruud van Nistelrooy for the 2001/02 season restricted Cole to substitute appearances in a number of games.

Cole was sold to Blackburn Rovers in December 2001, for a transfer fee of £8 million. Within two months, he had won the League Cup with Blackburn. Rovers finished sixth the following season, qualifying for the UEFA Cup, and in July 2002 he was reunited with former strike partner Dwight Yorke. The 2003/04 season was much more frustrating however and Blackburn struggled in the bottom half of the league and he fell out with manager Graeme Souness.

Fulham signed Cole on a one-year contract for the 2004/05 season and finished top scorer for the club. However, he failed to renew his contract with the London club as his family wanted to move back to the North West.

He signed for Manchester City and enjoyed a good season with the club until March when injury ended his time with them.
Cole ventured back down south again with Portsmouth who completed his signing for an undisclosed fee, however he struggled to get in the team under Harry Redknapp. In March 2007, he signed a loan deal with Birmingham which would run to the end of the season.
After also being released by Portsmouth, he joined Sunderland in time for the 2007/08 season where he was once again reunited with Dwight Yorke. He would also be playing under former team-mate Roy Keane who was now Sunderland manager. After only seven games for the club, he was loaned to Burnley and then released again at the end of the season.

In July 2008, he signed a twelve month deal with Nottingham Forest who were also his hometown club. The contract was cancelled by mutual consent at the end of October after just eleven appearances. He subsequently announced his retirement two weeks later.

Competition for Cole on the international stage was also difficult as he had to contend with Teddy Sheringham, Michael Owen, and Alan Shearer vying for the attacking positions. He made a total of fifteen appearances for his country.

Christian Vieri

Christian Vieri was a fine footballer, and considered one of the best strikers in the world in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He became the most expensive footballer back in 1999 when he transferred from Lazio to Inter Milan.

His senior career began with Torino back in 1991 at which he spent one season (a common theme). He then transferred to Pisa where he played eighteen games, but scored only two goals. For the 1993 season, he moved to Ravenna where he managed to score twelve goals in thirty two games. In 1994, he moved to another Serie B club, Venezia, where he scored another eleven goals in twenty nine games that season.

Vieri returned to Serie A when he moved to Atalanta at which he scored seven goals in nineteen games.

His goalscoring exploits for these smaller clubs lead to his first big team when he moved to Juventus for the 1996/97 season. He played alongside Alen Bokšić, playing twenty three times and scoring eight goals. Juventus also played in Europe that season with Vieri also netting six goals in ten games.

The form for Juventus attracted Spanish team Atlético Madrid who signed him for the 1997 season for €10 million. He scored a prolific twenty four goals in twenty four games in the league, and a total of twenty nine goals in thirty two games. At the end of the year, he won the Pichichi for the league topscorer.

Unfortunately, Atlético could not keep a hold of Vieri and combined with his form at the 1998 World Cup, he completed the move to Lazio for €25 million. While at Lazio, he won the Cup Winners’ Cup and finished the season with fourteen goals in twenty eight league appearances.

As with every previous team, Lazio could only hold onto Vieri for one season as Inter purchased him for the then world record fee of €49 million. Vieri would form a potentially lethal partnership with Brazilian forward Ronaldo, however injuries to both players lead to them rarely playing together. Success did not come easy for the club however, and it wasn’t until manager Héctor Cúper joined the club that his career with Inter took off with a total of twenty two goals in the 2001/02 season. The key change was that Vieri was made the focal point of attack, but unfortunately Inter lost out on a league title on the final day. In the 2002/03 season, Vieri scored twenty four goals in twenty three games, and formed a formiddable partnership with Hernán Crespo. The high of Vieri’s Inter career had been reached however as Héctor Cúper was sacked in 2004, and Crespo was sold to Chelsea. Injuries also began taking their toll, and in July 2005, club and player agreed that his contract would be terminated.
Vieri joined arch-rivals AC Milan, however he left after six months of not being a regular starter for the club. He soon joined Monaco, but suffered a serious knee injury causing him to miss the 2006 World Cup squad.

In July 2006, Vieri agreed a deal with Sampdoria only to join Atalanta in August on a minimum wage deal which would see him paid €100,000 for each goal scored. He managed to score two goals in seven appearances for the club.

Vieri spent the 2007/08 season with Fiorentina where he managed twenty six games and six goals before returning to Atalanta for his third spell for another season. After making few appearances, his contracted was terminated and he officially announced his retirement in October 2009.

It should also be said that he had a remarkable international career, playing in both the 1998 and 2002 World Cups and scoring twenty three goals in forty nine games for Italy. He was also named by Pelé as one of the 125 greatest living footballers.

Rivaldo

For a player considered one of the best in the world during his career, Rivaldo had a large number of clubs over the years.

He started his senior career with Santa Cruz in 1991, and managed to score six goals in four games. After a single season, he moved to fellow Brazilian team Mogi Mirim but played no games during the first season. For the 1993/94 season, he spent his time on loan at Corinthians where he netted eleven goals.

Mogi Mirim sold Rivaldo to Palmeiras where he helped the club win the league title. In the two seasons he played there, he scored twenty one goals in forty five games and received accolades for his performances.

In 1996, Deportivo La Coruña completed his signing but not after some transfer wrangling. Before the 1996 Olympics, Italian club Parma had announced his signing along with Palmeiras teammate Amaral, however once the Olympics was concluded, his move to Spain was instead confirmed. He finished the season with twenty one goals in forty one games.

After a single season, Barcelona moved for the player and completed the signing for $26 million. In his first season, he finished second top scorer with nineteen goals with Barcelona winning both the league and Copa del Rey. In the 1998/99 season, he won the league again with Barcelona, and scored twenty four goals and on a personal level, won the FIFA World Player of the Year award and European Footballer of the Year award. In his third season with the Spanish club, Rivaldo was shifted to the left wing and fell out with manager Louis Van Gaal. He still achieved ten goals in the Champions League as the club reached the semi-finals. In the 2001/02 season, Rivaldo scored another twenty three goals in the league, and thirty six overall as Barcelona had a relatively poor season; only just making the Champions League qualifying positions.

In June 2002, Van Gaal was rehired as manager, and Rivaldo ended his contract. He joined AC Milan and went on to win the Coppa Italia and the Champions League in 2003. In the two seasons at the club, he only played twenty two games and scored five goals.

In 2004, Rivaldo was loaned to Cruzeiro, before returning to Europe for the 2004/05 season with Greek club Olympiacos. In his first season, he scored the winning goal in the final game of the season leading Olympiacos to the league title. In 2006, Rivaldo announced that at the end of the 2006/07 season, he would be returning to Brazil. At 34 years old, he still managed to score seventeen goals in twenty seven league games.

Rather than head back to Brazil, Rivaldo signed for Greek rivals A.E.K. in May 2007. After another fantastic season, A.E.K. finished top of the league. Unfortunately, they lost out as Olympiacos were award three points extra when a court ruled that an opposing team fielded an inelligible player in a 1-0 loss.

In 2008, Rivaldo joined Bunyodkor in Uzbekistan on a two year contract which would see him earn over €10 million. A third year option was added, however his contract was cancelled after two seasons.

Rivaldo joined former club Mogi Mirim for several months at the end of 2010, however in January 2011, he signed for São Paulo for one season. He went on to join Angolan club Kabuscorp, but left again in November 2012 after eleven months.

In January 2013, he returned to Brazil with São Caetano, and again left after eleven months due to a knee problem. Rivaldo then joined Mogi Mirim for the third time in a deal which is due to last until 2015. He is also club president. Another fact is that his son Rivaldinho also plays for the club.

Juninho

Juninho was registered for a total of ten clubs during his career, although he did have three spells at North-East England club Middlesbrough where he was particularly well-loved by the fans after his first spell back in 1995.

His career started at São Paulo and it was a successful start to his career with the club winning the Copa Libertadores and Intercontinental Cup in 1993. The following season, he won the Copa CONMEBOL and then in 1995, was selected for the Brazilian national team.

In 1995, he made a £4.75 million transfer to Middlesbrough for their first season in the Premier League. His efforts in the attacking midfield position lead the club to the finals of the FA Cup and League Cup, however they lost both in 1997. As the club was relegated at the end of the 1996/97 season, he left in order to pursue his chances of a World Cup place.

After a £12 million transfer to Atlético Madrid, he began to suffer with a number of injuries including a broken fibula which sidelined him for six months which caused him to miss the 1998 World Cup. He was loaned back to Middlesbrough in the 1999/00 season however on return to Atlético, they had also been relegated to the Spanish second tier. He was loaned out again for the following season to Vasco da Gama where he went on to win the Brazilian league.
Juninho began his third spell with Middlesbrough in 2002 when he was sold by Atletico for £6 million. He won the League Cup with the club in 2004 by beating Bolton 2-1 in the final. In 1997, the fans of the club voted Juninho the club’s greatest ever player.

After the League Cup win, he moved to Celtic in 2004 on a free transfer and made his debut in the Old Firm derby with Celtic running out winners. The spell at Celtic didn’t work out due to him not being played in his usual of attacking midfield.

Returning to Brazil in 2005, he joined Palmeiras and then moved back to Flamengo in 2007. His spell at Flamengo also turned out to be an unhappy one as he was fired for arguing with coach Ney Franco as he refused to be substituted at half-time.

A number of clubs were keen on signing him after leaving Flamengo, however he went on to join Sydney FC in the Australian A-League. His career at the club was hampered by a shoulder injury which caused him severe pain, and required injections before matches. Due to the salary cap in place in the A-League, a new contract for Juninho was not offered and he announced his retirement from football.

The story however does not end there as Juninho had one final appearance; as player-president of club Ituano where he played in 2010. He returned to score the goal that saved the club from relegation.

Kevin Philips

Philips spent the beginning of his career as a trainee at Southampton with which he spent six years. He was considered too small to play at centre forward and was instead played at right-back for a couple of games before being released by Southampton. He moved to Baldock Town where he started out as a defender before having the chance to play at centre forward and scoring two goals in his first game.

Watford signed Philips in time for the 1994 season, where he established himself in the squad during the second half of the season. Unfortunately, he suffered an injury which kept him out for a year as Watford were relegated in the 1995/96 season. He moved on to Sunderland for a £325,000 fee, potentially rising to around £600,000.

Sunderland purchased Philips as they had just been relegated from the Premiership. After fifteen matches, he had only scored four goals as the club lay mid-table. However, fortunes turned around and saw him break a number of club records as he went on to score in seven consecutive matches, and became the first player since Brian Clough to score thirty goals in a season. In the 1998/99 season, Philips and Sunderland started well as they reached the top of the Division One table. A broken toe kept him out of the team for four months, but on his return he continued his goalscoring run and earned an England call-up for a friendly against Hungary. Sunderland also confirmed they would be playing in the Premiership in April of 1999. In his first top-flight season, Philips scored 14 goals as he formed a partnership with Niall Quinn. Sunderland also went on to finish seventh. In 2000/01, he scored another thirteen goals, however gave up taking penalties after he had three saved. In his final season for Sunderland, the 2002/03 season, his tally dropped to six as Sunderland signed both Marcus Stewart and Tore Andre Flo.

Southampton purchased Philips for £3.25 million as Sunderland were relegated. He signed a four year contract while taking a substantial pay cut. The patchy goalscoring form continued, with a three month drought midway through the campaign which ended in January 2004. He then went on to score a further ten goals in the final four months of the season. Managerial turmoil saw Gordon Strachan resign, replacement Paul Sturrock dismissed, who was replaced by Steve Wigley for three months, before Harry Redknapp joined in the 2004/05 season didn’t affect Philips goalscoring as he formed a partnership with Peter Crouch. The club however were relegated after twenty-seven years in the top flight.

Philips moved to Aston Villa for £1 million and signed a two-year contract, and scored just four minutes into his debut. Forward duties were shared between Juan Pablo Angel and Milan Baros, but injuries saw him score only five further goals. He began the 2006/07 season with Villa, but moved to West Brom for £700,000.

After resisting strong interest from old club Sunderland prior to his move, he went on to score twenty two goals in his first season for West Brom, including two hat-tricks. The club just missed out on promotion to the Premiership as they lost the play-off final to Derby. In the 2007/08 season, Philips continued his goalscoring after a six week knee injury. He went on to score his 200th league goal, and also win many personal awards such as Player of the Year. In total, he scored 38 goals in 71 games for West Brom.

Birmingham City signed Philips on a free transfer after his contract expired at the end of the 2007/08 season. He signed a two year deal who had just been relegated from the Premier League. The club returned to the top flight after a season with Philips scoring fourteen goals. However, at 36 years old his role for the 2009/10 season would be reduced with him scoring four goals, and then in 2010/11 after signing a one-year deal, he only scored a single goal.

Philips joined Blackpool in 2011 on a one-year contract, with an option for a further year. He scored seventeen goals in his first season with the club. In his second season, he only managed two goals in eighteen appearances before following manager Ian Holloway to Crystal Palace.

Palace completed the signing of Philips on the last day of the January 2013 transfer window on a loan until the end of the season. He went on to score seven goals in the sixteen games he played. Palace reached the play off final in which Philips came on to score an extra time penalty to guarantee promotion. Philips signed a one year deal with Palace for their first season in the Premier League, however in December 2013, it was confirmed that the club and player would part ways by mutual consent.

In January 2014, Leicester confirmed that Philips had joined them on a contract which would run to the end of the season. He confirmed that Leicester would be his final club as he would retire at the end of the 2013/14 season after a total of ten clubs, with eight international appearances at senior level.

Peter Beardsley

Beardsley began his professional career with Carlisle United after being released as a teenager by the Wallsend Boys Club. He went on to player 104 games for Carlisle and scored 22 goals in the three years he was at the club.

He then moved to North America to play for the Vancouver Whitecaps for a short stint in 1982 where he played 48 games. Then Manchester United manager Ron Atkinson purchased him for £250,000, however he went on to play one game before transferring back to Vancouver in 1983 to play another 25 games.

In 1983, Newcastle paid £150,000 and his first season was an instant success with twenty goals and a formidable partnership with Kevin Keegan as the club were promoted. In the first division, Newcastle finished fourteenth with Beardsley scoring seventeen goals. The following season he played every game and finished the season with an improved nineteen goals. He even managed to concede three goals as he finished the game in goal in an 8-1 defeat by West Ham. Beardsley returned from the 1986 World Cup and helped Newcastle avoid relegation though he did finish the season with only five goals.

Beardsley transferred to Liverpool, joining at the same time as John Barnes ready for the 1987/88 season. He completed the first season with fifteen goals scored. Ian Rush rejoined the club from Juventus in summer 1988 however Liverpool lost out on the league to Arsenal with virtually the last kick of the ball. Liverpool went on to win the league in the 1989/90 season with Beardsley netting ten goals in twenty-nine games. Due to Liverpool’s ban from European competition, they did not compete in Europe the following season, but continued his form in the league scoring eleven goals in 1990/91.

As a thirty year old, Beardsley signed for Liverpool rivals Everton as they purchased him for £1 million. He managed to score a total of twenty five goals in eighty one games, though Everton failed to finish higher than mid-table during his stint at the club.

Beardsley returned to Newcastle for a fee of £1.5 million in 1993 to play under former strike partner Kevin Keegan. He joined the club as they returned to the top flight in English football and he went on to help them finish third with a total of twenty five goals. In total, he stayed at Newcastle for four years and scored fifty six goals.

In 1997, Beardsley joined Bolton Wanderers for their season in the Premier League. He failed in his attempts to help them stay up however. A loan to Manchester City saw him make six appearances and become the only player to play for both major clubs in both Manchester and Liverpool. Beardsley then moved to Fulham to play for Kevin Keegan again where he made twenty eight appearances in two loan spells before eventually signing for them permanently. He later joined Hartlepool on a free transfer.

Beardsley ended his career at thirty eight years old after a two game stint at Melbourne Knights in Australia. His career lasted a total of twenty years with a grand total of 799 games and 238 goals in all competitions.

Along with a highly successful club career, Beardsley also featured regularly for England with a total of fifty nine caps and nine goals between 1986 and 1996.

Benito Carbone

Starting back in 1988, Carbone signed professional terms with Torino after a year in the youth team. He played seven games over two seasons before going out on loan to Reggina in 1990, Casertana in 1991 and Ascoli in 1992. During the three loan spells, he played around thirty games scoring a handful of goals each time. Returning to Torino for the 1993/1994 season, he played twenty eight games and score three goals.

In 1994, he was purchased by Roma but quickly transferred to Napoli as Daniel Fonseca went the other way. Playing only a single season in Naples, he scored four goals in twenty nine.

A transfer to Inter Milan occurred in 1995 and managed two goals in thirty one games, he was relegated to the bench under coach Roy Hodgson for the start of the 1996/1997 season.

Sheffield Wednesday paid £3 million for him in October 1996 in his most well known stint at an English club. Playing alongside fellow Italian Paolo Di Canio he became the clubs high goalscorer during the 1998/1999 season and was voted the fans’ favourite player. He was often invited for drinks with other players but as he did not drink alcohol; declined. He later remarked that this may have deepened rifts within the dressing room.

Joining Aston Villa for an undisclosed fee in 1999, he scored four goals in the league and five in the cup of which three were a hat-trick against Leeds United.

Joining Bradford City for the 2000/2001 season, the club had just survived relegation the previous season. Also signing Stan Collymore to play alongside Carbone, the club looked to establish themselves, however failed to do so and were relegated. The following season, he joined Derby County and Middlesbrough on loan where he played thirteen games for each.

Returning to Italy with Como for a single season before joining Parma, Carbone also played at Catanzaro and Vicenza in the 2004 and 2005 seasons respectively. While at Vicenza, he joined Sydney FC in 2006 but only played three games for the Australian side. His final club was Pavia where he played for three seasons until 2010. During this time, he featured eighty times and scored twenty seven goals before retiring.

Luca Toni

Born in 1977, striker Luca Toni played for three seasons at Modena from 1991-1994 before joining the senior team for a further two years in which he played thirty-two games.

Moving on to Empoli in 1996, he spent a single season at each of Fiorenzuola, Lodigiani, Treviso, and Vicenza where his goals record became respectable – scoring fifteen goals at Lodigiani and Treviso.

A move to Brescia in 2001 saw him score fifteen goals over the two years he played for the Rondinelle. Another two season stint with Palermo saw fifty goals in eighty appearances which caused Fiorentina to notice and pay €10 million to sign him. He went on to score forty-seven goals over two seasons.

A move to Bayern Munich saw Toni spend three years at the club and score thirty-eight goals. The final season at the club turned sour however when he fell out with Louis van Gaal and was relegated to the reserve team for a portion of 2009.

A loan to Roma was confirmed for 2010, before moving permanently to Genoa and Juventus for a single season each. Goals for each of the teams were hard to come by however.

Moving out of Europe for the first time, Toni signed for Al Nasr in a deal which lasted eight months before Fiorentina resigned him on the close of the transfer window in August 2012. He managed to score eight goals in twenty-seven.

His final move saw him join Verona were his return to goalscoring form saw Toni achieve forty-eight goals in ninety-five games over a three year stint with the club.