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The List: Sportsmail's top 50 free transfers, Nos 20-11

21 Jan 2010 10:32:34

The List: Sportsmail's top 50 free transfers, Nos 20-11

HAVE YOUR SAY...     Who is your favourite free transfer? Sol Campbell, Henrik Larsson, Ruud Gullit and John Collins make the cut as we count down the 50 best free transfers in world football. We reckon we've nailed it but, as ever, we want to know what you think of Sportsmail's latest edition of The List. TELL US WHAT YOU THINK The best things in life are free - but don't tell Real Madrid. The Spanish giants paid Manchester United a world record £80million for Cristiano Ronaldo last summer but teams don't always have to break the bank to land a superstar.  Read Nos 50-41Read Nos 40-31Read Nos 30-21 At the other end of the scale we have the free transfers. Inthe week that Arsenal legend Sol Campbell rejoined the Gunners,Sportsmail's team of experts have come up with their favourite freebies. And, as always, we want to know what you think about The List. 20 Peter Schmeichel (Sporting Lisbon to Aston Villa) Twice voted the world's best goalkeeper, the Great Dane was a Treble winner with Manchester United, European champion with his country and certainly one of the most imposing goalkeepers to have ever played in the Premier League. And Villa were to be the beneficiaries of his extended career. Schmeichel's return to England was never going to hit the heady heights of his days at Old Trafford but after a two-year spell in Portugal with Sporting, he was straight back to his indomitable best for the Villans after joining in 2001. He even managed to score a League goal for the club and there was cup success, too, admittedly only the InterToto Cup. Late stayers: Peter Schmeichel (left) extended his career with a spell at Villa while Michael Ballack is looking to see out his playing days at Stamford Bridge 19 Michael Ballack (Bayern Munich to Chelsea)A real coup for Jose Mourinho who managed to pick up the Germany captain for nothing just a matter of days after the midfielder had taken his national side to the World Cup semi-finals in 2006. Injuries have hampered his time at Chelsea but he did net nine goals for the Blues in the 2007-2008 season and has twice finished Premier League runner-up in his four years with the club. Ballack, 33, signed a one-year contract extension last season which means he's available on free at the end of this term but has expressed his desire to remain at Stamford Bridge for another two seasons - at least. Indian summer: Estudiantes' Juan Sebastian Veron vies with Barcelona's Thierry Henry at the Club World Cup 18 Juan Sebastian Veron (Inter Milan to Estudiantes)There are still Manchester United and Chelsea fans trying to work out why things didn't work out for Veron. He cost a fortune for both clubs, but was allowed to leave England and he eventually returned to his native Argentina on a free after a two-year spell with Inter Milan. And things have been on the up for 'The Little Witch' (his dad was 'The Witch') since his move to Estudiantes in 2006. After injury set-backs, he has guided the club he started his career with to success in the Copa Libertadores (the South American equivalent of the Champions League) and was voted South American Footballer of the Year in 2008 and 2009. 17 Tuncay Sanli - (Fenerbahce to Middlesbrough)Tuncay is a real hero - the poster-boy of football fans in his native Turkey and Fenerbahce were, to say the least, sad to see him leave. His manager at the time, Brazil legend Zico said on his leaving: 'Tuncay has been a great loss to us, he was the one giving us the soul and the hope.' His move to Middlesbrough may have ended in relegation last season but his stock was greatly increased as he showed himself to be a tireless worker with a penchant for spectacular goals. Take a look at his overhead kick against Aston Villa towards the end of last season... 16 Edgar Davids (Inter Milan to Tottenham)Those wrap-around shades he wore due to an eye condition gave Davids a robotic look, but the diminutive battling midfielder brought character and steel to a flimsy Tottenham midfield which went so close to Champions League football under Martin Jol in 2005 and 2006. 'The Pitbull' arrived at White Hart Lane after a brief spell with Inter Milan and became a firm favourite with the fans as his tenacious tackling gave fellow midfielder Michael Carrick the space and time to orchestrate Spurs' attacks. In Davids two seasons under Jol - he scored just the one goal, a cracking strike away at Wigan - Spurs finished fifth both times. Had it not been for some dodgy plates of lasagne, they would have reached the nirvana of Champions League football. Flair enough: Edgar Davids (left) and Portugal legend Luis Figo 15 Luis Figo (Real Madrid to Inter Milan)Even a man who had proved his bravery by making the jump between Barcelona and Real Madrid must have thought that, at 35 years old, his move to the Nerazzurri would amount to nothing more than a book-end to his career. Not so. The Portuguese midfielder, who was the 2000 European Footballer of the Year and the 2001 World Player of the Year, won four consecutive titles at the San Siro. 14 Lee Bowyer (West Ham to Birmingham)He's tested many a manager's patience during his career and must now be on his 53rd second chance, but we won't hold that against him. Alex McLeish raised some eyebrows after he made some inspired, if not obvious purchases after promotion last summer. Birmingham and, in particular, Bowyer have flourished at St Andrew's this season. The former Leeds and Newcastle midfielder has earned that most dreaded of titles 'Bad Boy', but in the 12 months since his free transfer from West Ham he has helped Birmingham get into the top flight and scored six goals in the big time, making him the club's leading goalscorer. Midfield marvels: Youri Djorkaeff (left) and Lee Bowyer 13 Youri Djorkaeff (Kaiserslautern to Bolton)The final chapter on Sam Allardyce's time in management is a long way off being written just yet, but we can certainly pen a tribute to his ability to bring in golden oldies and extend their career by an extra couple of seasons. Even before arriving in the north-west in 2002, Djorkaeff had 445 senior appearances to his name for seven clubs and had won both the World Cup and European Championship with France. He spent two-and-a-half successful seasons under Allardyce, making 77 appearances and scoring 21 goals. 12 Paul Lambert (Motherwell to Borussia Dortmund)Now here's a fine story, one you don't hear often enough nowadays. A Scotsman playing football on foreign soil and not just prospering - he became a hero! Lambert joined Dortmund after three years with Motherwell and earned himself a place in the club's history books after his fine performance in the 1997 Champions League Final when he became the first British player to win the title with a non-UK team. Currently managing promotion-chasing Norwich City in League One. Cult heroes: Scottish export Paul Lambert (left) and Mark Schwarzer 11 Mark Schwarzer (Middlesbrough to Fulham)Shot-stopping is definitely Schwarzer's thing, but I reckon he must have a nice sideline going on as a clairvoyant. He ducked out of Middlesbrough just before their disastrous season that ended in relegation and moved to Fulham - a side on the up - in 2008. OK, so there's little chance you will ever be able to cross his palm with silver - it would slide straight off his gloves - but there's no doubt that Roy Hodgson bagged himself a bargain as the Australian stopper remains one of the best in the top-flight. The best of the rest of The ListSportsmail's top 50 Premier League players of the decadeSportsmail's top 50 last-gasp goals in British footballSportsmail's top 50 footballers never to play at the World CupSportsmail's top 50 sporting feuds of all timeSportsmail's 50 great sports photographsSportsmail's top 50 commentators of all timeSportsmail's top 50 sporting venuesSportsmail's top 50 performers of the season so farSportsmail's top 50 all-time managers in BritainSportsmail's top 50 goal poachersSportsmail's top 50 footballing traitorsSportsmail's top 50 FA Cup heroesSportsmail's greatest Wembley finals in historySportsmail's top 50 biggest hitters in cricketSportsmail's top 50 British & Irish LionsSportsmail's top 50 Ashes heroes


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