Gheorghe Hagi - Romania
Gheorghe Hagi kick started his footballing career
with Romanian first division outfit Farul Constanta,
he only stayed there for one year and then moved
onto Sportul Studentesc, playing for this club for
three seasons. He moved to Steuna Bucherast at the
beginning of the 1986-87.
At Steuna Bucherast, he won the league and cup
double in three successive seasons at the club.
Hagi made his world cup debut in 1990, showing his
brilliance especially in the matches against Soviet
Union and Argentina. His world cup brilliance earned
him a move to top European club, Real Madrid, and
he then moved on to Italian outfit Brescia two years
later. Hagi had certainly reached his peak during
the 1994 world cup in America. He was considered
the best player of this tournament and showed the
world what a truly magnificent player he actually
is. He also scored one of the best goals of the
tournament against Colombia in the group phase,
with a 40 yard chip that beat the Colombia goalkeeper.
He scored three goals in this tournament and helped
Romania reach the quarter finals, which is the furthest
they have ever been in a major tournament. However
unfortunately for Romania and Hagi, they lost against
Sweden in penalties.
Four years on, Hagi played for Romania in the World
cup in France, however they went out in the second
round, and Hagi was arguably not in his best form.
He spent his final playing years at top Turkish
club Galatasaray, where he helped them win the UEFA
cup. Gheorghe Hagi is truly one of the greatest
ever players to appear in the world cup.
Hristo Stoitchkov - Bulgaria
Hristo Stoitchkov started his career at Bulgarian
club CSKA Sofia. Hristo is best known for his thundering
pace and quick movements, however his temperament
has let him down over the years. During the 1989-90
season, he won the Golden boot award in Europe,
scoring 38 goals in that season for CSKA Sofia,
so he was given recognition for being the top goalscorer
in Europe. Stoitchkov moved to Barcelona at the
start of the 1990-1992 season. At Barcelona his
goals helped them win the Spanish league four years
He was certainly recognised as a world class footballer
at the world cup finals in USA in 1994. He didn’t
just help Bulgaria reach the semi-finals of the
tournament. He won the Golden boot award for being
top scorer, he found the back of the net on 6 occasions.
He scored one of the best goals of the World cup
against Mexico in the second round. He scored a
tremendous free kick against Germany in the quarter
finals, in a match Bulgaria came from behind to
beat the holders.
However despite Stoitchkov’s brilliant display
they were knocked out of the competition in the
semi finals, however the 1994 was certainly Bulgaria’s
most successful period in International football.
Stoitchokov heroics in the world cup earned him
the title of European footballer of the year. He
then moved on to Parma for a short while and then
moved back to Barcelona for a couple more seasons.
He was a fixture in the Bulgarian squad for the
1998 world cup in France; however he couldn’t produce
the brilliance in this world cup like he did 4 years
previously. Stitchkov hanged up his boots one year
after the world cup in France, at the age of 33.
Many regard Stoitchkov as being the best Bulgarian
footballer of all time.
Roberto Baggio - Italy
He started his football career at the age of 15
for Vicenza during the 1982-1983 football season,
three years later Fiorentina picked him up, where
he was very impressive. He made his international
debut for Italy during the 1988/89 season, he also
scored 24 goals that season in Italy, which made
him one of the top scorers in the Italian league.
His brilliant play in the following season earned
him a deal with Juventus for a world record fee
of £7.7 million, just before the 1990 world cup.
Baggio helped Italy reach the Semi Final in the
world cup, scoring two goals, one of them considered
the best goal of the tournament with a 40 yard run
beating all Czechoslovakian defenders and then stabbing
the ball precisely past the Czechoslovakian keeper.
He then went on to spend 5 tremendous years playing
for Juventus, winning the UEFA cup, Italian league
and the Italian cup with them. His outstanding play
during the 1992-1993 season earned him the honour
of being crowned ‘World and European footballer
of the year,’ in 1993.
Roberto Baggio’s best world cup was certainly the
one in USA in 1994. he wasn’t at his best form in
the opening few games, however during Italy’s second
round match against Nigeria, Baggio was excellent,
scoring two goals and causing the Nigerian defence
problems throughout the match. He was even better
in their quarter final match against Spain, scoring
another goal against them. He added another 2 goals
helping Italy beat Bulgaria in the semi finals,
however despite a good performance against Brazil
in the Final, he missed the crucial penalty that
lost Italy the world cup, however he was arguably
the best footballer of the 1994 World cup, scoring
five goals in that world cup.
Four years later he played in few matches for
Italy in the world cup at France, however he wasn’t
the same player he was in the 1994 world cup. He
then went on to play for Italian side AC Milan,
where he helped them win the league, and had short
spells at Bologna, Inter Milan and Brescia.
Romario - Brazil
Romario started his career at Vasco de Gama, where
he helped them win two state championships. He then
moved on to top Dutch club, PSV Eindhoven, where
he also helped them win the Dutch league in 1989,
1991 and 1992. He was impressive also at the Olympics
in 1988, helping Brazil win silver medal. In 1993
he moved to Barcelona, where he helped them win
the league in his first season. He was outstanding
for Brazil at the world cup in USA in 1994, he came
second top scorer of the tournament with five goals,
and formed a great partnership upfront with fellow
striker Bebeto. His brilliance helped Brazil win
the world cup that year; they beat Italy in the
final in the Penalty shoot out. His brilliance during
the 1994 world cup earned him the title of ‘FIFA
world player of the year,’ in 1994. After the world
cup he returned to Brazil, starring for Flamengo
and then moved back to Spain to play for Valencia
in 1997. Injury prevented him from taking part in
the 1998 world cup.
He moved to Fluminense in 2002, before moving back
to his original club Vasco de Gama, and he has been
playing for them since. He is certainly one of the
worlds greatest strikers of all time. Romario is
also one of the greatest ever player to play in
the world cup.
Cobi Jones - USA
Jones started off his professional football career
at FC Cologne of Germany in 1992, in the same year
he also made his international debut for USA. He
played a staggering 30 international matches for
USA in 1993, helping them prepare for the world
cup finals the following year. Jones played very
well in the opening group matches of the world cup
in America. In the world cup in 1994 he attracted
the attention of the footballing world with his
dreadlocked hairstyle and flamboyant skill. He was
outstanding in the matches against Brazil and Colombia;
however USA didn’t go any further than the second
round of that world cup. Many people regarded Jones
as being America’s best player of the tournament
and because of his excellent display in the tournament;
premiership club Coventry signed him from across
the Atlantic. At Coventry City he became a permanent
fixture in the side. However his stay at Coventry
only lasted a year and he moved back to America
playing for Los Angeles Galaxy. Jones also starred
in the world cups in 1998 and 2002, and has now
won over 160 caps for his country.
Dunga - Brazil
Dunga earned recognition whilst playing for Brazil
in the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
In 1984, the midfielder played outstandingly well,
helping Brazil win the silver medal of that competition.
In 1988 Dunga moved to Italian club Fiorentina,
he stayed there for around four years before moving
to German club Stuggart and after a spell out of
the International scene the current Brazilian manager
decided to recall the player. Dunga was Brazil’s
captain during the world cup in America, in this
tournament he was the inspiration behind Brazil’s
success, he helped and motivated the Brazilians
to winning their matches and he gave one hundred
percent in every match. Dunga captained Brazil to
victory in the final of that world cup against Italy;
he also held his nerve at the penalty spot by converting
his penalty into the back of the net.
Four years later, Dunga once again starred in the
Brazilian side of the 1998 world cup, however the
lost in the final 3-0 against France.
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