My Per­fect XI Jerzy Dudek

The for­mer Liver­pool and Real Madrid keeper shares tales about his great­est team-mates, in­clud­ing a su­per­sti­tious Mikey Owen

Australian Four Four Two - - CONTENTS -


“I could not get past him at Real Madrid, which was un­der­stand­able be­cause he was the very best goal­keeper in the world at the time, and busy win­ning the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship and World Cup! Even so, Fabio Can­navaro still liked to wind him up and tell him Gian­luigi Buf­fon, his Italy team-mate, was bet­ter. He once said loudly in the dress­ing room: “Iker is a fan­tas­tic goal­keeper, but Buf­fon is from a dif­fer­ent galaxy.”


“I faced him when he was at Manch­ester United, so I was de­lighted when he ar­rived at Madrid in 2009. I used to love watch­ing him in train­ing and in games. He was the model pro­fes­sional, al­ways try­ing to get bet­ter. Cris­tiano loved be­ing the main man, the star of the team, and he lived to score goals. I have said in my book that I think he sees team-mates as as­sis­tants who are work­ing to­wards his great­ness.”


“He had the best in­tu­ition of any striker I played with. He was so quick and knew how to find space on the pitch and the best ar­eas to run into. He was also very su­per­sti­tious. At Liver­pool, the quick­est way for him to drive back home from the train­ing ground was through the Wal­lasey Tun­nel, but just be­fore he started a long goalscor­ing run he’d driven through the Birken­head Tun­nel, so he be­lieved that route was lucky. He drove that way ev­ery day un­til he stopped scor­ing, even though it took him a lot longer to get home!”

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