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Benni McCarthy
Benni McCarthy
Benni McCarthy
Date of Birth:Nov 12, 1977 (Age 38)
Place of Birth:Cape Town
Nationality:South Africa
Height:182 cm.
Weight:76 Kg.
Squad Number:17
Blackburn Rovers' South African sensation Benni McCarthy is delighted with a win over Chelsea (Getty Images)
The prolific South African striker and all time top goal scorer at national team level, Benni McCarthy came to Europe via Ajax Amsterdam's feeder club, Ajax Cape Town.   
He was quick to find his footing and soon became a crowd favourite in Amsterdam with a good strike rate, winning the Dutch title in 1998. He then joined Celta Vigo for six million euros, but struggled to find his form until joining FC Porto on loan.  
He became an instant hit in Portugal and was subsequently recalled back to the Spanish club but still his form dipped, only starting two games and being used as substitute over a dozen other times. He was finally sold to FC Porto the following year, and became the highest scorer for Porto in the league, ending with 20 goals.  

After his stint in Portugal McCarthy signed a four-year contract with Rovers, and proved to be an instant hit at Ewood Park scoring a impressive 18 goals in 36 appearances in his first season in the Premier League. Despite his fine start he struggled to hold down a first-team place and was continually linked with a move, which eventually came in January 2010 when he signed a two and a half year deal with West Ham for an undisclosed fee.  

McCarthy's lack of participation in national team matches due to his club interests resulted in him being labelled as unpatriotic and this saw him retire from international football after the 2002 World Cup. However, he returned to the national team in 2004 and now holds the record of international goals for a South African. McCarthy scored in the second half of a 3–0 win against Paraguay in an international friendly. This strike eclipsed the previous record of 29 goals held by Shaun Bartlett.

The poacher may not be getting as much game time as he would like at his English club, but he is the country's most talented attacker and his instinct for goal is unquestionable. A controversial figure at times, those issues seem to be behind him and he is striving to be the main man in Bafana's attack.

Did you know?

Along with veteran Egyptian Striker Hossam Hassan , McCarthy was the joint top scorer in the 1998 African Cup of Nations in Burkina Faso with seven goals, including four in 13 minutes against Namibia.   

Amstel Cup  
Dutch League  
Dutch Supercup  
African Nations Cup Golden Boot  
MVP for African Nations Cup  
Amstel Cup

UEFA Champions League  
Portuguese League  
Portuguese Super Cup  
Portuguese League Golden Boot