Friday, 6 August 2010

Great footballers vol 2

This vol i decided to go with someone who influnced me as a kid who i looked up to while playing in goal even though im a shortass. Pretty much he made anything seem posible nd hence why i never hesitated to want to play that position. He is...Mr

Peter Schmeichel.

Professional career
[edit] Brøndby
Despite the fifth best defence in the league, conceding 40 goals in 30 games,[11] Schmeichel and Hvidovre finished in 14th place and were relegated in 1985. After only a single season, the club bounced right back to the 1st Division, but Schmeichel was lost by Hvidovre to Danish runners-up Brøndby IF before the 1987 season. Winning the Danish league in his first year, he joined a club which he helped turn into a success. He debuted for the Danish national team in May 1987, under national manager Sepp Piontek, and was selected for the Euro 88 tournament, where he eventually became Denmark's starting goalkeeper.

In all, Schmeichel and Brøndby won four championships in five seasons. The climax of his Brøndby career would come in the European 1991 UEFA Cup competition, which saw Schmeichel as an important part of the team that reached the semi-finals. The club was eliminated by AS Roma with a last-minute goal by Rudi Völler. Following the tournament, Schmeichel was voted 10th in "The World's Best Goalkeeper 1991" poll by the IFFHS.[12]

[edit] Manchester United
Following his showings on the international scene, Manchester United bought him in 1991 for £530,000,[13] a price which was described in 2000 by Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson as the "bargain of the century."[14] Schmeichel played the bulk of his career for United, eight years in total. With United, Schmeichel won five FA Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup, and the UEFA Champions League.

Manchester United finished as runners-up in Schmeichel's first season (also winning the Football League Cup for the first time in the club's history), but it was on the international stage that Schmeichel enjoyed his biggest success that year. In the Danish national team under new national manager Richard Møller Nielsen, Schmeichel was Denmark's starting goalkeeper at the Euro 92 tournament which they won. He saved a penalty kick from Marco van Basten in the semi-final, and most notably held a cross with one hand in the final. He made a string of important saves during the tournament, and was elected "The World's Best Goalkeeper 1992".[15]

In the 1992–93 season, 22 clean sheets from Schmeichel helped United win the Premier League championship for the first time in 26 years. Schmeichel was once again named "The World's Best Goalkeeper" in 1993. In January 1994, Schmeichel fell out with Ferguson, as United had squandered a 3–0 lead to draw 3–3 with Liverpool. The two had a row where Schmeichel "said the most horrible things",[16] and he was subsequently sacked by Ferguson. A few days later, Schmeichel made an improvised apology to the other players. Unknown to him, Ferguson was eavesdropping on this, and he let Schmeichel stay at Manchester United.[14] Schmeichel and United repeated the Premier League championship win at the end of the season.

Despite being a goalkeeper, he could also single-handedly provide a deadly attacking threat. He would run into the attack on corner kicks if his team was behind. The sight of him going up for the corner was a great distraction to opposing defenders. He scored a goal in this fashion, for Man United, in a 1995 UEFA Cup match against Rotor Volgograd. He scored in the last minutes of the game, though United was eliminated from the tournament on the away goals rule.

In April 1996, during a game against Coventry City, Coventry defender David Busst colided with United defender Denis Irwin and suffered a compound fracture of the leg. The break was so bad that the bone pierced through the skin and his blood had to be cleared off the pitch. Schmeichel, who witnessed the incident, reportedly vomited at the sight and had to receive counselling afterwards.

Schmeichel competed with Denmark at the Euro 96 hosted by England. The defending European Champions went out in the preliminary group stage, despite delivering results equivalent to the Euro 92 tournament.[17]

Following a February 1997 match against Arsenal, Schmeichel was accused of racism by Arsenal striker Ian Wright. During the game, Schmeichel and Wright had a number of controversies, and at the end of the game, the two players confronted each other on their way off the pitch. After the game, news emerged of a police inquiry into a November 1996 match between the two clubs, where it was alleged that Schmeichel had made a racist remark. After months of politicizing by The FA and The PFA, who wanted a "converted" Schmeichel as their posterboy of the "Kick Racism out of Football" campaign, no evidence was found and the case was dropped.[18]

Under new national manager Bo Johansson, Schmeichel was a part of the Danish squad at the 1998 FIFA World Cup. He was one of the leading members of the Danish campaign, which ended in a 3–2 quarter-final defeat to Brazil.

Schmeichel ended his Manchester United career on the highest note, when Schmeichel and United won the Treble, the FA Premier League title, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League, in the same season. In that year's FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal, Schmeichel saved a penalty kick by Dennis Bergkamp in the last minutes of the game, to send the game into extra time. In the absence of the suspended Roy Keane, he captained United in the UEFA Champions League final in May 1999. German opponents Bayern Munich had a 1–0 lead until the dying minutes of the game, when United received a corner kick. Schmeichel ran into the attack attempting to cause confusion, and Teddy Sheringham scored the equalising goal. A few seconds later, Ole Gunnar Solskjær scored the 2–1 winner for United to ensure that Schmeichel's United career ended on the highest possible note. In an unforgettable celebratory moment, Schmeichel was shown cartwheeling gleefully in his area after Solskjær's winning goal.

[edit] Sporting CP
Schmeichel decided to leave English football at the end of the 1999 season, as the gruelling 60 game league and cups season, which came with playing with a successful club, was threatening to undermine his high standards at the age of 36. Seeking a slower pace of football, he moved to Sporting CP, where he won the 1999–2000 Portuguese Liga title in his first season with the club. He scored his only goal for the Danish national team, a penalty kick against Belgium, in a June 2000 warm-up match for UEFA Euro 2000. He represented Denmark at Euro 2000, where the team was eliminated in the group stage. He retired from the national team in April 2001, when he played a planned farewell match against Slovenia.

His second year with Sporting would be remarkable in that it was the first time in 14 years, since his Hvidovre days, that Schmeichel's club would finish below second place in the domestic league competition. Schmeichel stated his wish to activate a contract option of a further year at Sporting in January 2001,[19] but eventually decided to leave the club when his contract ran out in June 2001.[20] He considered a number of options for the future, before deciding to keep on playing.

[edit] Return to England
He returned to England with Aston Villa in July 2001.[21] On 20 October 2001, Schmeichel became the first goalkeeper to score a Premier League goal, in a 3–2 defeat away to Everton. A goalkeeper scoring in the Premier League is a feat only repeated twice, by Blackburn Rovers' Brad Friedel on 21 February 2004, also from a corner kick, and by Tottenham Hotspur's Paul Robinson from a free-kick on 17 March 2007. Schmeichel failed to complete his single season at Villa due to a clause in his contract stipulating that he would get to play in every game that he was fit for. Villa and Schmeichel decided to terminate Schmeichel's contract in order to let Schmeichel leave.

Schmeichel played his last active year for Manchester City during the 2002–03 season. Schmeichel's record in the Manchester derby is exceptional, in that he was never on the losing side. During his nine years with Manchester United, they were unbeaten against Manchester City, while in his single season with City, they won at Maine Road and drew at Old Trafford. His last major action in football was to make a world class save against Liverpool at Anfield, in a game which City went on to win. This ultimately led to Liverpool missing out on a Champions League spot on the final day of the season.

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