“You Won What?!” – 4 Unlikely European Cup Medal Winners
1. Nigel Spink
With 10 minutes on the clock left in the 1982 final, substitue Aston Villa goalkeeper Spink would have been forgiven if he was found showered, changed and at the bar with a pint in hand – at the end of the day, he had only pulled on the gloves once in the 5 years he had spent at the club.
Jimmy Rimmer, Villa’s first choice, came off injured and Spink helped maintain a clean sheet as they won 1-0. Funnily enough, he went on to play over 400 times for Villa after that.
2. Jonathan Greening
During his stints at West Brom and Middlesbrough, the midfeilder was hardly setting the world alight, but when he found himself on Manchester United’s books in 1999, he bagged himself a trio of medals. “I felt a bit of a fraud” he admitted, and I can understand that, he hadn’t played a single minute of United’s European campaign that season.
3. Djimi Traore
This may be a little harsh considering that when Liverpool historically came back from the dead to sink Milan in 2005 – they were peppered with “are you sure?” players such as a broken Hamann and Spanish defender Josemi. However, Djimi bagged his medal that year even though he is remembered more famously for scoring a bizarre own goal in the FA Cup against Burnely the same year.
4. Nuno Espirito Santo
When Jose Mourinho guided Porto to European glory in 2003/04, not only did he upset every bookie across the globe, but also handed reserve ‘keeper Nuno a medal as the perhaps ‘more talented’ players from around Europe looked on in astonishment.
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