The world of football is flaky and fast. The greatest of players grind and rise through the ranks, and we notice them only after they have established themselves as heavyweights in their respective leagues. Sometimes, the intriguing journeys of these professional footballers coincide.
The game has provided some interesting crossovers over the years, one of which includes two goalkeepers now considered among the top ten shot-stoppers in the world.
Let us have a look at some of the players who were once teammates.
Did you know that two stars from London PL rivals once played together?
#1 Eden Hazard and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Chelsea forward Eden Hazard was teammates with Arsenal frontman, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in northern France almost nine years ago.
Hazard began his senior career in that aforementioned campaign, making four league appearances for Les Dogues as a fresh-faced teenager, but was not a regular starter in Claude Puel’s team. He was joined by Aubameyang in 2009/10 when the Gabon international played 24 times for Lille during a loan spell from Milan.
#2 Mauricio Pochettino and Ronaldinho (PSG)
If Pochettino and the PSG managerial job doesn’t sound like the most natural fit for the future, it’s worth remembering that the Argentine has previous experience at the Parc des Princes – not as a manager, but as a player.
The defender spent two-and-a-half years of his playing career in the French capital after arriving from Espanyol, making 95 appearances for them between January 2001 and summer 2003.
Pochettino was joined at the club by Ronaldinho – embarking on his first move to Europe – a few months after his arrival. The Brazilian’s stellar performances in 2001/02 and 2002/03 earned him a move to Barcelona, where he did quite alright for himself.
#3 Josh King and Marco Reus (Borussia Monchegladbach)
The Premier League’s most English-sounding foreigner once shared a dressing room with Reus, who spent two-and-a-half seasons at Borussia Monchengladbach before his January 2012 switch to Borussia Dortmund. His final campaign with the Foals brought 21 goals in all competitions, which is 21 more than King managed during his brief stay at Borussia-Park.
In fairness to the Bournemouth forward, he only ever played six times for Gladbach during a curious loan move there from Manchester United in the 2011/12 season.
#4 Riyad Mahrez and Benjamin Mendy (Le Havre)
Mahrez and Mendy have eventually been reunited at Manchester City, five years after the two left-footed players took the field together in Ligue 2 at Le Havre.
Mahrez moved to the Normandy-based outfit in 2010, initially playing for the club’s reserve side before establishing himself in the first team. Mendy, meanwhile, joined the Ciel et Marine as a 13-year-old in 2007 before spending two seasons in the senior squad between 2011 and 2013.
Mendy got his big move to Marseille that summer, while Mahrez joined then-Championship side Leicester for just £450k in January 2014.
#5 Ederson and Jan Oblak (Rio Ave)
Portuguese outfit, Rio Ave, in 2012/13 had two of the best goalkeepers in the world right now in their squad. The club had an 18-year-old Ederson in their ranks and took 19-year-old Oblak on loan from Benfica – the club that would eventually replace the Slovenian with his former club-mate.
Oblak won the war for Rio Ave’s place in the starting XI, playing 31 games to Ederson’s eight as the Vilacondenses finished sixth in the Primeira Liga.
Both keepers grew in stature the following campaign; Oblak back at Benfica, and Ederson assuming more responsibility at Rio Ave. Atletico Madrid snapped up Oblak for a bargain €16m in 2014, and Benfica took Ederson for a cut-price €500k one summer later. Two years later he was Manchester City – for €40m.
#6 Thierry Henry and John Arne Riise (Monaco
The duo was once on the same side, though, having both represented Monaco in the late 1990s. Henry and Riise were opponents during their time in the Premier League; the former moving to Arsenal, and the latter following him to England two years later with Liverpool.
Riise arrived from Aalesund in Henry’s fifth and final professional season at the Stade Louis II, when the principality club finished fourth in France’s 1998/99 Division 1. They first played together as substitutes in a September 1998 league win over Le Havre, turning out for Jean Tigana’s star-studded Monaco side that featured the likes of Fabien Barthez, Lilian Thuram, Ludovic Giuly, David Trezeguet and Salif Diao.
Henry left for Juventus midway through that season, while Riise stayed put until 2001.