15 sets of players you never knew were team-mates
Ederson and Jan Oblak (Rio Ave)
Imagine having two of the world's two best goalkeepers before they were two of the world's best goalkeepers. Such was the scenario facing Portuguese outfit Rio Ave in 2012/13, when they had an 18-year-old Ederson on their books 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's – for €40m.
David Beckham and David Moyes (Preston)
Moyes is a Preston stalwart, having spent six years there from 1993-99 and ended his playing career at Deepdale. He made more appearances for the Lilywhites than any other club in his lower-league career, and quickly transitioned to the coaching staff – managing them between 1998 and 2002, and steering them from Division Two to the First Division play-offs.
In 1994/95 he was joined at Preston by a teenage David Beckham, who arrived on a brief loan spell from Manchester United. Becks only turned out five times for the Third Division side but managed to score twice – one, direct from a corner.
"We went to watch him playing for Manchester United’s reserves at Walsall," Moyes later recalled to FourFourTwo. "I was player/assistant manager to Gary Peters. Becks was a skinny boy and I said to Gary in the car on the way home: 'He’s not going to be strong enough for us.' Gary said: 'No, he’ll be fine.' And he was. We got promoted at Orient that year and David and his dad came into the dressing room. He was in United’s first team by then, but he didn’t forget us."
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 and Mendy have eventually been reunited at Manchester City, five years on from the two left-footers playing 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 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.
Mendy got his big move to Marseille that summer, while Mahrez joined then-Championship Leicester for just £450k in January 2014.
Rivaldo and Casemiro (Sao Paulo)
Rivaldo was 41 when he finally retired from playing at Mogi Mirim in 2015 – the club he left (as president, no less) to join Sao Paulo in January 2011. He was 38 and heading into the twilight of his career, but it didn't stop him from scoring a lovely goal on debut against Linense – one of his five in 30 games that season, as Sao Paulo finished sixth and reached the knockout stage of the Copa Sudamericana.
Casemiro was only in his second season as a professional when the Brazilian legend rocked up at the Estadio do Morumbi, and was just shy of his 19th birthday. The future Real Madrid man was a regular at the heart of midfield, however, leading to his 2012 transfer to the Spanish giants. Four Champions League titles later, it's fair to say he's done just fine.