Manchester City are arguably the greatest side in Europe right now.
They may have narrowly failed to land their first ever Champions League title last season but they’re the current favourites for the competition this time around.
Meanwhile, they lead the way in the Premier League.
Of course, they have a lot to thank owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan for.
Sheikh Mansour has poured millions into the club to turn them into a European superpower.
He’s certainly done a better job than the previous owner, Thaksin Shinawatra.
The former prime minister of Thailand targeted ‘world domination’ when he bought Man City for £81.6 million in 2007.
He appointed Sven-Goran Eriksson as manager and spent around £40 million on new players such as Martin Petrov, Geovanni, Elano and Rolando Bianchi.
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But he also turned to his country of Thailand for a trio of players.
Teerasil Dangda, Suree Sukha and Kiatprawut Saiwaeo were all signed by Shinawatra in 2007 but, due to Thailand’s lowly FIFA ranking, none of the trio even qualified for a work permit.
It meant the only game they played for the club was against a Thai League All-Stars XI in May 2008 a, a game they lost 3-1.
Eriksson later said: “He [Thaksin] didn’t understand football – he hadn’t a clue.”
But what happened to those three Thai players after they were all released in October 2008? How did their careers pan out?
Let’s take a look:
Dangda was loaned out to City’s affiliate side, Grasshoppers, in 2008 before he returned to his native country. But the striker would later become a bit of a legend at Muangthong United, scoring 117 goals in 166 league matches. That even earned him a loan spell at Almería in La Liga, a spell that lasted just six months.
The 33-year-old is currently at BG Pathum United in the top-flight and captains his country, playing 107 times for Thailand and scoring 49 goals.
Not a bad career at all.
Sukha also joined Grasshoppers on loan before he was offloaded by City.
The defender then also returned ‘home’ and represented Chonburi for four years before a move to Buriram United.
In 2020, he was last seen playing on loan at Kanchanaburi before retiring in December, 2020.
He did also represent Thailand on 68 occasions, scoring twice.
Saiwaeo didn’t actually go on loan to Grasshoppers while at the Etihad. Instead, he went to Club Brugge. But it wasn’t successful and he also joined Chonburi after being released.
A spell at Chiangrai United followed but Saiwaeo was forced to retire at the age of 32 in 2018.
He did manage 36 appearances for the national side.