Saturday, December 27, 2014

Second Acts and comebacks, Part Two

1- Daniele Massaro and AC Milan/Italy, 1993/94
AC Milan striker Daniele Massaro had earned his last cap back in 1986. By all accounts his national team career seemed over. However, during the 1993/94 he went on a scoring spree of scoring decisive goals in league matches culminating with his two goals in the Champions League Final vs. Barcelona in 1994.  His former club Manager Arrigo Sacchi did take notice and took the veteran with him to the 1994 World Cup in USA and even played in the Final match.

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Hors Serie 12, 1993
(Daniele Massaro with AC Milan, 1992/93)

2- Wilfried van Moer and Belgium 1980/82
Belgian midfielder Wilfried van Moer had his heyday in the 60s and the early 70s notably starring for Standard Liege. He felt after a decade of honorable his international carrer was over after his last cap vs. Holland in 1975.
However, in 1979, Belgian Manager Guy Thys saw in him as the dependable veteran to guide a rising Belgian squad.  With qualification in jeopardy with three matches left he coaxed van Moer (now playing for Beringen, then Beveren) back into the squad and Belgium qualified by defeating Portugal (with a goal by van Moer) and Scotland twice.
He was included in the 1980 qualifiers and surprisingly led Belgium to a runner-up finish in the 1980 UEFA European Championships at the age of 35. He still had couple of more years in him and participated in the 1982 World Cup as well , aged 37.

Photo From: Le Dictionnaire des Diables Rouges
(Wilfried van Moer)

3- Luis Fernandez and Cannes/France 1989/92
After suffering a long injury layoff and transfer to small team Cannes due to Matra Racing Paris’ financial collapse in the summer of 1989, many felt Luis Fernandez was yesterday’s man.
But now nearing the veteran stage of his career, he took to his role as a leader and guided Cannes with impressive performances and got a call up from his former teammate Michel Platini to be back in the national team. While not a starter he would nevertheless make significant contributions as a substitute and participated in the 1992 Euros and along the way guided Cannes to the UEFA Cup qualification in 1991 with a  young teammate named Zinedine Zidane.

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 31, August 1991
(Luis Fernandez at Cannes, 1991)

4- Arnold Muhren and Ajax Amsterdam and Holland 1986/88
Dutch midfielder veteran Arnold Muhren had last played for Holland in 1982. He had returned to Holland in 1985 after successful spells in England with Ipswich and Manchester United.
With Johann Cruyff as Ajax Manager he was the veteran amongst a young emerging squad with Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard.
He was surprisingly called up to the national team by Rinus Michels at age 36 and remained there and was a key member of the 1988 UEFA European Championship winning squad aged 38.

Photo From: Voetbal International, June 18, 1988
(Arnold Muhren during the 1988 UEFA European Championships)

5- Safet Susic and Yugoslavia 1988/90
Yugoslav midfielder Safet Susic had last played for Yugoslavia during their disastrous 1984 European Championships. Following that he had concentrated on his club Paris St. Germain and his national team career seemed over.
However, Yugoslavia Manager Ivica Osim felt he needed foreign based veterans to achieve success with the national team and recalled Safet Susic aged 33 in 1988. Ironically his first match back was vs. France, his country of residence on November 19, 1988 (3 to 2 win and a goal by Susic).
He stayed in the national team set up until the 1990 World Cup.

Photo From: Mondial, new series, issue 68, November 1985
(Safet Susic with Paris St. Germain)

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