It’s one thing to be one of those ‘club legends’ who merely represents your team in a good way, but it’s a whole other thing when they’re able to put their loyalty where their mouths are (so to speak).
The Best Club Legends Ever
Loyalty is something we all demand from our best player.
But only the true ‘club legends’ understand what that actually means.
It isn’t that we don’t want them to ever play for anyone else (although that would be smashing), it’s more than they always maintain a certain respect for us whenever the question is posed.
Take Bastian Schweinsteiger as an example, he played for United and was practically forced out the door, and yet he continues to talk well about us, support us on social media and joins in media engagement. As do Ji-Sung Park, Patrice Evra and Ander Herrera – who we all still love to this day.
Having said that, neither of them were given the opportunity to return to Manchester United and won’t make this list for that reason. But let’s start with someone who did…
Cristiano Ronaldo returns to Man United (2021)
Let’s not be silly here.
Cristiano’s return to United was a monumental moment.
Especially with all that hoo-hah around potentially joining City (ew) in the summer, seeing him back in that Manchester United strip was a moment every single fan wanted to see.
Alas, the problems behind the scenes at the club spoiled what should have been a perfect end to one of the most celebrated careers of all time. Instead, his departure (and that stupid Piers Morgan interview) has left a sour taste in the mouths of a lot of people – including me for some time.
But even looking back at the announcement, I get goosebumps. And it brought a whole new range of collectibles to harbour until that day when he finally left for good.
Altogether, there’s no doubt that Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t just a hero for the Red Devils, but one of the greatest club legends this famous institution has ever had the pleasure of watching.
Thierry Henry returns to Arsenal (2012)
He spoke about this moment recently, and described it as the first time he scored for Arsenal as a real ‘fan’ of the club, rather than being solely focused on his duty as a football player.
In that moment, coming off the bench and scoring vs Leeds with a trademark finessed finish, he didn’t just represent the fans that turned out to watch him… he was one of them.
And that’s pretty darn special, isn’t it?
As far as club legends go, they don’t get much more respected and loved than Thierry Henry at Arsenal Football Club, and his statue outside the Emirates is testament to that.
Even to this day, shirt sales with his name on (especially in the retro collection) continue to rise, as to the clamour for collectibles signifying his best times at the club, on top of his long-awaited return.
Pound-for-pound one of the best club legends ever to represent a Premier League club.
Andriy Shevchenko returns to Dynamo Kyiv (2009)
One of the only ‘club legends’ in the world that can actually be considered a hero, for both his work as a player in the pomp of his career and his motivational work off of it for his nation’s frontal efforts.
I’ve always personally been a massive fan of Andriy Shevchenko.
In fact, he’s one of the main reasons I decided to write my latest book: ‘The Conquerors‘.
He was what I like to call an ‘inevitable’ goalscorer. Someone who you’d assume just went to bed, woke up and walked around thinking about how to score the ‘perfect’ goal, and then going around against whatever defence was in front of him in search of that goal.
Annoyingly, that move to Chelsea (which really shouldn’t have happened anyway, and I explain why in the book *wink wink*), has somehow led a lot of fans to label this ex-Ballon D’Or winner as nothing much more than a Premier League flop. Which is grossly unfair when you consider how great he is.
Sadly, going back to Dynamo Kyiv was more emotional than anything else, but it makes its place on this list for how it enabled us to finally see the best from a happy, cultured Andriy Shevchenko than what we got to see in England. A nice full stop on a career which started so brightly at the same club.
Easily one of the best club legends around, and maybe the best to ever come out of Kyiv.
A fan’s love and admiration is a strange and fickle thing.
And it probably has a lot to do with nostalgia playing tricks with our minds.
But no matter which way you look at it, these club legends have worked with everything they have to ingratiate themselves to the sets of supporters which have loved and warmed to them the most.
It’s a beautiful thing and what I hope to see a whole lot more of, especially at the highest level.
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Which of these club legends do you admire the most?