Cagliari’s red-haired midfielder Davide Biondini has been called up to the Italy squad for the friendlies against Holland and Sweden. Carlo Garganese looks back at the Top 10 Ginger Footballers…10) Elierce Barbosa de Souza
When have you ever seen a ginger Brazilian? Well the Palmeiras man is one. His nickname is ‘ferrugem’, which means ‘rusty’.
9) Alexi Lalas
Iconic United States centre back, who lit up the 1994 World Cup in his own country with his extravagant long hair and bright bushy beard. Also became the first modern-era American to play in Serie A when he joined Padova in 1994. Brother Greg is currently editor of Goal.com magazine.
8) John Arne Riise
Norwegian left back with one of the most powerful left foots the game has ever seen. Currently with Roma, having previously spent seven years with Liverpool where he won the 2005 Champions League. Capped 84 times by Norway.
7) Alan Ball
Pint-sized midfielder who was one of the protagonists of England’s 1966 World Cup success, where he was named man-of-the-match in the final. Won 72 caps for his nation, and also enjoyed fine club spells with Everton and Arsenal.
6) Billy Bremner
Scottish hardman midfielder, who was one of the key men of Leeds United’s successful team of the early 1970s. Also a top player for the Scottish national team, winning 54 caps.
5) Paul Scholes
Continental-styled English midfielder, who is still going strong at nearly 35 after a superb career spanning more than 15 years. Has won a whole host of club honours, including nine Premier League crowns and two Champions Leagues.
4) Robert Prosinecki
Outstandingly technical Croatian midfielder, who starred first for the former Yugoslavia and then Croatia. Played in three World Cups, reaching the quarter finals in 1990 and semis in 1998. Won the European Cup with Red Star Belgrade in 1991, and also played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid.
3) Oliver Kahn
Brilliant German goalkeeper who was arguably the top shot-stopper in the world at the beginning of the new millennium. Won eight Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich, as well as a Champions League and UEFA Cup.
2) Zbigniew Boniek
World class Polish forward who was one of the stars of the 1982 World Cup, taking his country to the semi-finals. This earned him a move to Juventus where he enjoyed four successful years, winning two Scudetti, a European Cup and a Cup Winners’ Cup.
1) Matthias Sammer
Classy sweeper who was the eventual heir to Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer. Was at the peak of his powers in 1996 where he inspired Die Mannschaft to European Championships glory in England. This won him the Ballon d’Or later that year, although he retired at the age of 30 due to injury.
Carlo Garganese, Goal.com