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Jari Litmanen

Published: Wednesday 31 August 2011, 19.39CET
Finland

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Published: Wednesday 31 August 2011, 19.39CET

Jari Litmanen

Finland

Clubs: Reipas Lahti, HJK Helsinki (twice), Myllykosken Pallo-47, AFC Ajax (twice), FC Barcelona, Liverpool FC, FC Lahti (twice), FC Hansa Rostock, Malmö FF, Fulham FC

UEFA honours
UEFA Champions League:
winner 1995
UEFA Champions League: leading scorer 1995/96
UEFA Super Cup: winner 1995

• Made his Finnish league debut for Reipas aged 16 in 1987 ahead of moves to HJK and MyPa, where he won the Finnish Cup in 1992 and caught the eye of scouts from Ajax.

• A creative midfielder blessed with superior vision and composure on the ball, he scored 126 goals in 224 games for the Dutch giants between 1992 and 1999 and helped them win four Eredivisie titles, three Dutch Cups – and their fourth European title as they overcame AC Milan 1-0 in the 1995 UEFA Champions League final.

• Left to join former mentor Louis van Gaal at Barcelona, but injury marred his spell there and he was delighted to fulfil a boyhood dream by signing for Liverpool in January 2001 – only for injury to keep him out of all three finals as the Reds won the UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup that season.

• Returned to Ajax in 2002 and became the club's record scorer in European competition, but was again plagued by injuries and left for Lahti in 2004; then spent the second half of 2004/05 at Bundesliga strugglers Hansa Rostock and was unable to save them from going down.

• Spells with Malmö and Fulham, where he teamed up with former Finland manager Roy Hodgson, were followed by another stint at Lahti; now in his fourth different decade as a player, he rejoined HJK at the age of 40 in April 2011 after Lahti suffered relegation.

• Regarded as Finland's greatest footballer, Litmanen made his international debut against Trinidad & Tobago in October 1989 and won his 100th cap against South Korea in January 2006; still involved, he is also Finland's all-time leading scorer.

• Voted Finnish player of the year on nine separate occasions between 1990 and 2000 and immortalised by a statue in his home town of Lahti in October 2010.

Last updated: 06/12/13 9.48CET

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