12 sets of players you never knew were team-mates

Gheorghe Hagi making Brad Friedel's Perfect XI in the new issue of FourFourTwo got us thinking of more unlikely crossovers from football history. Greg Lea did the digging…

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Brad Friedel and Gheorge Hagi (Galatasaray)

Yep. Former goalkeeper Friedel spent the vast majority of his career in England, playing 624 games for Liverpool, Blackburn, Aston Villa and Tottenham (and zero during an oft-forgotten loan spell at Newcastle in 1994).

The American’s first stint on this side of the Atlantic came in Turkey, though, where he made 37 appearances for Galatasaray in 1995/96. Romanian legend Hagi was among his colleagues in Istanbul – if only briefly, having joined shortly before Friedel left for Columbus Crew in summer 1996. Attacking midfielder Hagi rounded off his career with four Super Lig titles, two Turkish Cups and a UEFA Cup.

Riyad Mahrez and Benjamin Mendy (Le Havre)

Mahrez was desperate to become a team-mate of Mendy’s in January, but his proposed switch to Manchester City fell through as Leicester dug in their heels. It would have been the second time that the Algerian and Frenchman had been colleagues, though, with the two left-footers having previously played together at Le Havre.

Mahrez moved to the Normandy-based outfit in 2010, initially playing for the club’s reserve side before later 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.

Thierry Henry and John Arne Riise (Monaco)

Henry and Riise were opponents during their time in the Premier League; the former starring for Arsenal, and the latter following him to England two years later with Liverpool. The duo were once on the same side, though, having both represented Monaco in the late 1990s.

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, er, Salif Diao.  

Henry left for Juventus midway through that season, while Riise stayed put until 2001.

Edgar Davids and Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) 

Davids’ subsequent employment at Barnet makes it easy to forget just how bizarre his short stay at Selhurst Park was. Signed by George Burley in summer 2010, the former Ajax, Barcelona and Juventus midfielder made only six league appearances for Palace – most of which came at left-back – before pulling the plug on his pay-as-you-play deal.

Zaha was embarking on his first season as a professional in 2010/11 and would go on to play 44 times in all competitions, with the Eagles avoiding relegation to the third tier after Dougie Freedman replaced Burley in January.

Josh King and Marco Reus (Borussia Monchengladbach)

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 from Manchester United in 2011/12.  

Mauricio Pochettino and Ronaldinho (PSG)

If Pochettino and the PSG managerial job doesn’t sound like the most natural fit, it’s worth remembering that the Argentine has previous at the Parc des Princes. The former defender spent two-and-a-half years of his playing career in the French capital after arriving from Espanyol, making 95 appearances 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.