Classic Transfer: Real Madrid sign Liverpool’s star attacker for FREE

first_img Steve McManaman celebrates winning the Champions League It’s being reported that Real Madrid, despite having the firepower of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, Isco and Jese, are ready to add Liverpool sensation Raheem Sterling to their ranks.With Reds manager Brendan Rodgers not keen on handing the youngster a mega-money contract, a deal could be in the offing next summer and, if the teenager does make the switch, Los Blancos will be hoping he has an impact like that of Steve McManaman’s back in 1999.England international McManaman had been one of Liverpool’s star players in the 1990s as the likes of Graeme Souness, Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier attempted to halt a decline following their 1990 First Division title win.Having burst on to the scene after making his debut in 1991 under Kenny Dalglish, the lank-haired midfielder, blessed with stamina, skill and eye for a pass, was soon an Anfield hero as he created the chance for Michael Thomas to score in the 1992 FA Cup final, where the Reds beat Sunderland 2-0, earning him the man of the match award.And following another man of the match display at Wembley in 1995, where he scored two virtuoso goals in Liverpool’s 2-1 victory over Bolton in the League Cup, all and sundry were hailing McManaman’s abilities.Interest peaked in 1997 when Barcelona and Juventus made bids for the dribbler’s services and by 1999, following a series of contract wrangles, he was being lined up by Real Madrid, who secured him on a free transfer thanks to the relatively new Bosman ruling, which allows out of contract players to leave for nothing.The deal was arranged part way through the 1998/99 season, and was the first time Liverpool had lost a star player for nothing, which shocked many Kopites at the time and undoubtedly reduced McManaman’s status in the eyes of some supporters.In Spain, however, McManaman was vindicated as he thrived where so many Englishman had failed before. In his debut season he became the first English player to win the Champions League with a foreign club, as he volleyed home (see below) their second in a 3-0 victory over Valencia in the Stade de France and was named man of the match.More success followed in the 2000/01 season as he was a member of the team which won La Liga, despite Vicente del Bosque being keen to sell him along with a raft of other players, which included Nicolas Anelka and Fernando Redondo, to finance their move for Luis Figo.Eventually, during a sustained period of excellence at the Bernabeu, even though Florentino Perez’s ‘Galaticos’ transfer policy threatened to curtail his time in Madrid, McManaman won a second Champions League in 2002, scoring a crucial goal in the semi-final away win at Barcelona, and a second league title in 2003.Upon his exit from the club in 2003, as David Beckham moved to the Spanish capital, McManaman was comfortably the most successful English to have played abroad and is still remembered as club legend at Real Madrid. 1last_img