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Ask Norman: Most decorated players

September 6, 2010
By Norman Hubbard

Norman Hubbard is ESPNsoccernet's resident anorak. If you have any questions on football facts, statistics or trivia, please send them to and he'll try to answer as many as possible.

Andreas Moller, Ebbe Sand
GettyImagesAndreas Moller won the DFB Pokal with Schalke in 2002

Former German playmaker Andreas Moller won literally everything there was to win - the Bundesliga (twice), the German Cup (three times), the German Super Cup (twice), the World Cup, the European Championships, the Champions League, the UEFA Cup and the Intercontinental Cup. The only thing missing from that list is an Olympic gold medal! Can you think of another player who has won as many trophies as he has? Winston Cheng of Cape Town asked

There are players who have won more trophies. What distinguishes Moller is the number of different titles he was won. As with any such comparison, it depends upon the weight placed upon different competitions, which can vary - for instance, the German Super Cup is scarcely the most significant prize Moller won. And comparatively few leading footballers have won the Olympic gold medal.

But Germany may boast two other footballers with a better CV than Moller's. Franz Beckenbauer won the 1974 World Cup and the 1976 European Championships for his country. With Bayern Munich, he lifted the Bundesliga and the German Cup four times each. He also won the European Cup three times, the Cup Winners' Cup and the Intercontinental Cup. His time at Hamburg produced a fifth Bundesliga title while, in the colours of the New York Cosmos, he won the NASL three times.

And a team-mate of Moller for Die Mannschaft and Dortmund was Jurgen Kohler. The defender also did the double of the World Cup (in 1990) and the European Championships six years later. His club career brought three Bundesliga wins, though not the German Cup, but he was in the Borussia side that won the Champions League and Intercontinental Cup in 1997. Where Kohler may trump Moller is that his spell with Juventus brought triumphs in Serie A, the Coppa Italia and the Uefa Cup.

Competition comes from the great French team that won the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championships. Captain Didier Deschamps' club career brought him plenty more trophies: he is in the elite group who have won the Champions League with two different clubs (Marseille and Juventus in his case), plus the Intercontinental Cup and the European Super Cup. He won the French league twice, the Italian league three times and both the Coppa Italia and, at Chelsea, the FA Cup. For those who count the Italian Super Cup, he lifted that twice as well.

Another contender is Thierry Henry, whose achievements include the World Cup, the European Championships and the Confederations Cup for France; the Champions League, European Super Cup and Club World Cup for Barcelona; league titles in three major leagues with one at Monaco, two at Arsenal and three for Barcelona; four domestic cup wins - three in England and one in Spain; and the lesser trophies of the Community Shield and Spanish Super Cup. The dominance of the Champions League means that the Cup Winners' Cup does not exist and the Europa League, to some, matters less, so we can probably forgive him for winning neither.

However, if we expand the search beyond Europe, another man with plenty of different silverware on his mantelpiece is Cafu. The Brazilian won the World Cup and the Copa America twice each as well as the Confederations Cup for his country. In his homeland, his club trophies included the Brazilian Championship and (twice each) the Copa Libertadores, the Recopa Sudamericana, which is the South American Super Cup, and the Intercontinental Cup.

In Europe, he won the Cup Winners' Cup with Real Zaragoza and Serie A with Roma. Then at AC Milan, he managed a second Serie A title and, in 2007, the treble of Champions League, Super Cup and Club World Cup.

As to the order in which Moller, Kohler, Beckenbauer, Deschamps, Henry and Cafu rank, I'll let you decide.

Can you give me a logical answer as to why football is called soccer in the USA? Where does the term soccer come from and why is the American game called football when they mostly use their hands? Fernandez Gomez asked

Charles Wreford-Brown
PA PhotosCharles Wreford-Brown is said to have coined the term 'soccer'

While soccer is the name often used for the game in the United States, it was actually originates from England - though it is very rarely used on these shores. A former England captain, Charles Wreford-Brown, who was a 19th century aristocrat, is credited with coining the term as an abbreviation for association football. The sports now known as football and rugby union were then often called 'soccer' and 'rugger'. To confuse matters, some people in rugby refer to 'football' while - to outside observers - it is fairly obvious the ball is in the hands more often than at the boot of players. As to the American sport, I presume it takes its lead from rugby in that respect, though, knowing very little about it, it seems to involve kicking the ball even less.

• Further to the last column, Tracab no longer provides the statistics about the distances players have covered in UEFA Champions League matches. A company called STATS is now responsible for them, using real-time motion and positioning data for the ball, the referee and each of the players.