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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 2 September, 2014

Starting XI: The best Aries footballers to play the game

You share your star sign with a 4-4-2 of footballing excellence, with a Donegalman in nets.

ARIES FALLS ON March 21 to April 20 every year. Here is a selection of the finest footballers to share the star sign of the goat:

Shay Given (20 April)

Capped 125 times for Ireland, Given often had the honour of captaining his country and appeared in goal at the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2012. Made his name as a solid Premier League goalkeeper with Newcastle before moving on to Manchester City and Aston Villa.

Roberto Carlos (10 April)

Unleashed one of the greatest free kicks of all time at Le Tournoi and netted 10 more times in 125 Brazilian caps. World Cup winner with Brazil in 2002. Played over a decade for Real Madrid, winning four league titles and three Champions Leagues. Possessor of a muscular pair of thighs too.

Bobby Moore (12 April)

England’s World Cup winner skipper at the 1966 World Cup. Moore was a solid defender that did not mind taking the ball down and passing it about – a rare feat for a defender in the 60s and 70s. Played 544 times for West Ham United and appeared in the World War II play or flea epic Escape to Victory.

Ronald Koeman (21 March)

Mark Hughes (Scorpio) tussles with Koeman. (Ross Kinnaird/EMPICS Sport)

Another defender that could rip a free kick from all angles, mostly at pace. The Dutchman was primarily a left back but often played in the centre of defence. His longest playing spell with a club side was at Barcelona, with whom he appeared 256 times and helped win the European Cup in 1992. Appeared 78 times for Holland and won the European Championships with them in 1988.

Carles Puyol (13 April)

The mop-haired Barcelona and Spain defender is one of the most decorated players in the modern game. He has won five leagues and three European Cups with the Catalan side while taking home Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010 winners’ medals. He recalls then Barcelona coach Louis van Gaal asking if he could afford a haircut but ‘said nothing’ and literally kept his head down for a year before breaking through to the first team.

Lothar Matthaus (21 March)

The West German and German maestro with a rocket of a shot, Matthaus earned 150 international caps between 1980 and 2000. Bayern Munich is the club that holds the midfielder with the greatest affection but Inter Milan still cherish his memory following a four-season stint. Played in five World Cups and reached the pinnacle of his career when capturing the trophy in 1990.

Matthaus and Voller celebrate their 1990 World Cup win. (Ross Kinnaird/EMPICS Sport)

Clarence Seedorf (1 April)

The Dutch midfielder is now in his 21st year as a professional footballer, having started at Ajax and appeared, most notably, for Real Madrid and AC Milan. Won Champions League trophies with those three teams as well as five league titles. 11 goals in 87 caps for The Netherlands. This is one of his finest efforts:


YouTube credit: 90sSoccerBoy

Franck Ribery (7 April)

The Bayern Munich and France winger was a slow-burner, playing with five clubs before starting to show signs of promise with Marseille in 2006 and ’07. Manchester United and Real Madrid were interested but he packed his bags for Germany and never looked back. 149 club appearances later, Ribery has won two league titles but has narrowly missed out on Champions League glory. 11 goals in 71 caps with France.

Ference Puskas (1 April)

508 goals in 521 club appearances for the Hungarian ‘Inside Left’ attacker. Gained notoriety with Budapest Honved in the 40s and 50s before earning a move to Real Madrid in 1958. Won five league titles and three European Cups while at Los Blancos. Won the Olympics with his country in 1952 and was a runner-up at the World Cup two years later. Scored an amazing 84 goals in 85 outings with the Magyars and, funnily enough, played four times for Spain.

Rudi Voller (13 April)

Began his career with Kickers Offenbach but earned glory and titles with Roma and Marseille (until they were stripped from the French club). Scored 258 goals in 557 club games but is oft, and rightly, remembered as a striker of international repute. The scored 47 times in 90 outings with West and unified Germany and won the World Cup at Italia 90. Frank Rijkaard had issues with poor Rudi though:


YouTube credit: AhmedRashed76

Ronaldinho (21 March)

Two-time FIFA World Player of the Year, the Brazilian is back in his homeland following a mesmerising decade in European football. Came to the world’s attention when, as a PSG player, he won a World Cup with Brazil in 2002. Barcelona signed him up and he excelled for five seasons before moving on to AC Milan. Has three league titles and a European Cup medal to look back upon whenever he retires but the stunning close control and array of outrageous goals stand out.

Substitutes

A three-man bench of Brzilian midfielder Rivaldo, former Nigeria and Bolton star Jay-Jay Okocha and the Portuguese and Fiorentina talisman Rui Costa.

*Are you an Aries? If so, what footballer are you closest to on the list?

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