Remember him? Coral’s former Premier League XI playing in Europe
With the Champions League group stage past the halfway mark, Coral’s football experts got thinking. Are there cult heroes, memorable names or players that once plied their trade in the Premier League competing for sides around the continent in Europe’s elite club competition?
It turns out there are, and we’ve assembled an XI of names from the Premier League past that all made a lasting impression. Who made our all-star side? Read on to find out…
Goalkeeper: Julio Cesar
Former Inter Milan stopper Cesar won this competition for the San Siro side in 2010. Between playing between the sticks for Brazil at the last two World Cups, he had a spell at QPR, but his saves could not prevent the Hoops from being relegated to the Championship. Cesar is now on Benfica’s books.
Right back: Anthony Vanden Borre
Portsmouth fans may be watching League Two football at Fratton Park these days following freefall, but in the 2009/10 campaign they had Belgium right back Vanden Borre on loan from Genoa. Now back in his homeland with Anderlecht, he has the unenviable task of marking the in-form Alexis Sanchez.
Centre back: Zoumana Camara
One-time Leeds United loanee Camara acts as backup in PSG’s defence to Brazil pair David Luiz and Thiago Silva. Despite the Frenchman’s best endeavours to stop the rot at Elland Road in 2003/04, the Whites went down from the Premier League.
Centre back: Ricardo Carvalho
Portugal veteran Carvalho won this competition a decade ago under Jose Mourinho at Porto. The relationship was so successful, ‘The Special One’ brought him to Chelsea when his first spell started. Carvalho helped the Blues to three Premier League titles and as many FA Cups during a six-year stint at Stamford Bridge, and is now at Monaco.
Left back: John Arne Riise
Norwegian left-footer Riise lifted the Champions League during his time at Liverpool. Where is he now we hear you ask? Cypriot side APOEL Nicosia.
Central midfield: Tiago Mendes
This steady engine room presence almost returned to Chelsea for a second spell this summer, but instead opted to remain at La Liga champions Atletico Madrid. Portugal midfielder Tiago helped the Blues win the Premier League in 2004/05, scoring four goals for them. He is a 7/2 chance to net anytime for Atletico against Malmo.
Central midfield: Yohan Cabaye
How Newcastle United fans must dearly wish they still had France playmaker Cabaye on their books? He showed a great eye for long range goals at St James’ Park, but PSG came calling in January. Odds of 7/4 say Cabaye can score against APOEL Nicosia anytime.
Right wing: Arjen Robben
Yet another Chelsea old boy from Mourinho’s trophy laden first stint at the Bridge makes our XI. Dutch master Robben may be perceived to have expertise in darker arts, but has won league titles in four countries and the European Cup at current club Bayern Munich. Odds of 9/2 say he will net the opener against Roma.
Attacking midfield: Kevin-Prince Boateng
Berlin-born Ghana international Boateng counts Spurs and Portsmouth among his former clubs. His most infamous moment came in the 2010 FA Cup final when he injured Michael Ballack on the eve of the World Cup in South Africa. Boateng is back in the Bundesliga these days with Schalke.
Left wing: Andrey Arshavin
Who can forget the famous four-goal haul former Russia captain Arshavin netted for Arsenal against Liverpool? He never really rediscovered such blinding heights with the Gunners and has since returned to Zenit St Petersburg, where he is coached by ex-Chelsea and Tottenham head coach Andre Villas-Boas.
Striker: Dimitar Berbatov
A Premier League Golden Boot winner and brilliant Bulgarian record scorer Berbatov is only fitting to lead our all-star attack. Spurs sold him to Manchester United for a reported £30.75m. He also went on to play for Fulham, but quit Craven Cottage in January, perhaps seeing which way the wind was blowing, for Monaco.