Your Top 5 Aussies
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IT'S THE ANGE ISSUE! We go one-on-one with the new Socceroo coach as he reveals his plans for Brazil and beyond. Plus the A-League's Latin American maestros profiled, Gareth Bale gives you his tips and tricks and we go inside Spanish rising force, Atletico Madrid.
1. HARRY KEWELL
No player has captured our hearts like Harry Kewell. Who can forget the excitement when a baby-faced 17-year-old made both his Premiership and Socceroos debut within the space of a month? The world was at his feet.
At just 19, in front of 120,000 in the pressure cooker atmosphere of a World Cup qualifier in Tehran, he scored his first Socceroos goal and followed that with another in front of 85,000 at the MCG in the second leg. He was the teenaged saviour of Australian football.
For a nation unaccustomed with measuring itself against the very best, it was eye-opening to see Harry named the 2000 PFA Young Player of the Year, putting his name alongside greats such as Hoddle, Rush, Gasgoine, Giggs, Fowler, Beckham and Owen. Aussies really could reach the top. While other Australians had played and prospered overseas before, only Harry had the potential to be an internationally recognised superstar of the world game.
Of course a cruel run of injuries has stalled his career, but his recent Asian Cup appearances and cameos for Liverpool have shown that he still possesses the dazzling skills and speed that made him Australia’s most dangerous and exciting gamebreaker ever. Our readers agreed, with almost three out of four voters putting the 29-year-old veteran in their top five Australian players of all time.
“Synonymous with modern Australian football.” Guest
“The name everybody associates with ‘Australian soccer’.” afromanGT
“Remember when he first burst onto the scene with Leeds? We had someone who could have become the best player in the world. He fell short, but it was amazing to have someone with that potential.” Marcus, via email
“Sure he’s struggled with injuries but at his peak he was the most exciting player we’ve had.” steveb
“Football’s about those moments of magic, and we’ve never had anyone capable of the magic that Harry can conjure up.” Melinda Short, via email
“Our best ever game breaker.” charrua74
“The first name that every Socceroo band-wagoner learnt.” Dave__89
This article appeared in the February, 2008 issue of FourFourTwo magazine. To buy back copies of this issue call 03-8317-8121 with a credit card to hand.