Kaka and Kane: 15 players you completely forgot played in iconic matches


Football fans have been treated to some iconic matches across the modern era.

From Arsenal winning a chaotic cup game against Reading 7-5 to Liverpool coming back from 3-0 down against Barcelona, there’s nothing like the beautiful game when the goals are flowing.

However, with so much football on the television – when we aren’t in a pandemic, of course – it can be hard to keep up with all of the details, even if we’re talking about a well-remembered game.

We’ve played with this phenomenon before by showing you footballers you never knew played for a certain club and then by giving you pairs of players you had no idea were ever teammates.

It highlighted surprising notions such as Jan Oblak and Ederson sharing a dressing room as well as the fact Fabinho and Juan Mata both played for Real Madrid.

Forgotten players in big games

Well, we’re taking things even further now by trawling through football matches you think you know inside out, only to show you players you had no clue featured in them.

Ok, sure, you might remember the odd one and we don’t doubt that you’ll work out who they were playing for, but you’ll be kidding yourself if you claim to know for a fact they were on the team-sheet.

It’s a big claim, we know, so check out the 15 players that we think fit the criteria and see whether you can remember their role in games that we’ve been talking about for years and years.

1. Harry Kane – Troy Deeney winner game

We’re starting strong. Admit it, you had no idea the current England and Tottenham striker was on the pitch when Deeney scored THAT goal after Anthony Knockaert’s missed penalty.

Well, Kane’s appearance off the bench in the second-half was one of just 15 games he played for the Foxes during a loan spell in the 2012/13.


2. Jermaine Pennant – 2007 Champions League final

That’s right, in a European Cup final that featured Kaka and Andrea Pirlo, it was Pennant – as seen on the Jeremy Kyle Show – who was bombing down the wing for the Reds.

Bet you forgot Boudewijn Zenden played in that final, too…


3. Tomas Kalas – Steven Gerrard’s slip game

In a match that will forever be remembered for Gerrard costing Liverpool the title by slipping on his backside, Kalas was making his Chelsea debut in the backline and casually bagged a clean sheet at Anfield.

It made up 50% of the league appearances he ever made for Jose Mourinho’s men.


4. Jack Rodwell – 2013 FA Cup final

Rodwell’s career has perpetually nosedived since his exit from Everton in 2012 and we have no idea why Roberto Mancini decided to sling him on during Manchester City’s doomed FA Cup final against Wigan Athletic.


5. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Man Utd 8-2 Arsenal

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

It was actually hard to pick a forgotten player from this game because it’s become something of a meme to acknowledge that the likes of Francis Coquelin and Armand Traore were in the Arsenal squad.

But let’s spare a moment for the fact this was Oxlade-Chamberlain’s debut for the Gunners. Woof.


6. Alexandre Song – Barcelona 0-3 Bayern

If you want any clues as to why Barca were obliterated in this infamous Champions League semi-final, then perhaps the fact Song – whose spell at Camp Nou is most famous for THAT trophy video – played all 90 minutes in midfield will help.


7. Bernard – Brazil 1-7 Germany

It’s easy to forget how depleted Brazil’s team was during the semi-final from hell and current Everton midfielder Bernard was amongst the starters in a squad that was reeling from Neymar’s absence.


8. Kaka – Portsmouth 2-2 AC Milan

Ah yes, remember the day when Portsmouth almost defeated AC Milan just a year after they won the Champions League?

You can probably remember that Ronaldinho was playing because of his stunning free-kick, but it’s easy to forget that a Ballon d’Or-winning Kaka was on the pitch just a few months before his Real Madrid switch.


9. David Villa – 2014 Champions League final

Are we alone in constantly forgetting Villa’s solitary season at Atletico Madrid? We can’t remember him taking part in the all-Spanish Champions League final for the life us despite him playing all 120 minutes.


10. Serge Gnabry – Reading 5-7 Arsenal

You can’t blame Arsenal fans for kicking themselves every time they see Gnabry tearing up the pitch for Bayern Munich but, in truth, he never really set the world alight under Arsene Wenger.

The German winger started on a night where countless Arsenal players made themselves a hero with a stunning comeback. He wasn’t one of them.


11. Arda Turan – Barcelona 6-1 PSG

Turan’s time at Barcelona was, well, meh to say the very least, so imagine our surprise when we find out he was on the pitch for the final three goals of one of the Champions League’s greatest ever comebacks.


12. Florent Malouda – 2012 Champions League final

To be honest, you could easily put Jose Bosingwa in for this game and Ryan Bertrand is only left out because people so often reminisce on his surprise inclusion.

But for our money, Malouda is the forgotten man of that final in one of his final ever Chelsea appearances and in a season where he couldn’t find the net for neither love nor money.


13. Emmanuel Eboue – Arsenal 2-1 Barcelona

Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona team of 2010/11 is arguably the greatest teams in football history, but did you know that Eboue played all 90 minutes in one of just six defeats they suffered all season?

Clearly Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta were no match for the Arsenal cult hero.


14. Paco Alcacer – Real Madrid 2-3 Barcelona

Did you have any clue that Alcacer was leading the line with Luis Suarez and Messi during THAT last-minute win at the Bernabeu? Yeh, neither did we.


15. Franco Di Santo – Chelsea 4-4 Liverpool

We’re finishing on a slightly cheeky one because Di Santo only came on in the dying seconds, but it didn’t half amuse us that one of Chelsea’s biggest ever flops made a cameo in such an iconic European game.

Not bad, Franco, not bad.


Go on, be honest, how many did you know played in those respective games?

Perhaps I’m just the most forgettable football fan in history or maybe we’ve given you fuel for your latest pub quiz over Zoom, but it’s a unique way to look back on some iconic matches regardless.

Who knows what forgotten men will step up to the plate next…

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