Kicking off our series celebrating noughties football icons, Carl Anka remembers the majestic beauty of Kaka - the last winner of the Ballon d'Or pre-Messi and Ronaldo. It was at an awards ceremony in Zurich, where Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite inadvertently offered up his own epitaph. There were great players before, but now the new players are starting to make history. Kaka was the last great player of the pre-continuous-football-coverage and pre-social-media age, and the first of the modern-day, do-everything, stats-breaking, all-action attacker. Aged 18, he suffered a career-threatening and potentially paralysis-inducing spinal fracture when he hit his head on the bottom of a swimming pool. So the story goes, Kaka miraculously recovered from his injuries in just one week.
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Noughty Boys: When Thierry Henry wanted to entertain, no obstacle could stop him. It all started with a chance encounter on a plane - and the. 2 days ago Few things in football match the pageantry of an attacking free-kick. When a foul is made less than 40 yards from goal, pomp and circumstance.
The Brazilian's mastery of his weapon of choice made him a walking YouTube highlight compilation.
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The Ukrainian treated top-tier European football like a TV talent show. You might find the shirts of clubs from rival cities, but more often than not they would only take pride of place if the name on the back was that of an Italian player — a Del Piero or Vieri, perhaps. One man that bucked that trend was Andriy Shevchenko - and it says a lot about his ability and influence that he was able to do so as a Ukrainian playing his football in Milan. In the last decade or so, the latter stages of the Champions League have become a little predictable. Those four countries have provided every single one of the finalists in those 14 seasons.