VII Players Who Became Heroes Unexpectedly

​Heroes. We all have them. Be it your favourite player, the one you emulated in your back garden or he whose poster you had on your bedroom wall. They live long in the memory, and we never forget them, nor do we stop loving them.

But what about the heroes who aren't the star names? What about those who in times of adversity stepped up to the plate, delivered the goods and etched their names into footballing folklore forever? 

Well, it's those we are going the herald here as we look back on VII players who became heroes unexpectedly. The true greats.

Sergi Roberto

Sergi Roberto

La Remontada. Trailing 4-0 from their first leg defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 stage of the ​Champions League, what would take place at Camp Nou a few weeks later would leave fans speechless for years to come.

It was the largest comeback in the history of the competition, as ​Barcelona produced an otherworldly display to secure their place in the quarter-final stage. How they did it was through sheer determination and desire, but the final say came from an unfamiliar source.

Two late, late ​Neymar Jr goals levelled the tie at 5-5, but Barça still needed one more goal to achieve the unthinkable. Who was their hero? Substitute full back Sergi Roberto. When did he do it? The 95th minute. Was it magical? Absolutely. Will we ever forget it? Not a chance.

Andreas Brehme


Four years on from their heartbreak against Argentina in the previous World Cup final, West Germany had the opportunity to banish their demons from Mexico City. This time, in Italy, both sides once again successfully navigated their way to the final stage.

A cagey tussle was heading towards extra time after 83 goalless minutes, only for Rudi Völler to win Franz Beckenbauer's side a crucial late penalty. Captain and regular spot-kick taker Lothar Matthäus was expected to do the honours, but he surprisingly handed the job to left-back Andreas Brehme.

Why? Because he was forced to change his boots earlier in the match and wasn't confident enough to bear the burden. There was no need to panic, though, as Brehme made no mistake by firing beyond master penalty saver Sergio Goycochea to put his side in front.



In the absence of number one goalkeeper Alisson, ​Liverpool headed into their UEFA Super Cup final clash with fellow ​Premier League outfit ​Chelsea with a seemingly significant disadvantage. Naturally, losing your best stopper is cause for concern, but it shouldn't have been: after all, they still had Adrian.

The Spaniard was signed as direct backup to the Brazilian, but he showed his worth - and then some - with an outstanding all-round display​ that made his acquisition an inspired one.

After a 2-2 stalemate following 120 minutes, Adrian intervened with a fine save to stop Tammy Abraham scoring after nine perfect penalties had been converted in the shootout, handing Jurgen Klopp's side the coveted Super Cup title.

Federico Macheda

Manchester United's Italian forward Fede

Trailing 2-1 at home to ​Aston Villa in the Premier League, ​Manchester United's title challenge was beginning to slip as an almighty tussle between Chelsea, Liverpool and the Red Devils continued to entice.

Two straight defeats had left United faltering, but the most unlikely hero turned up at the crucial moment to secure a historic victory. ​Cristiano Ronaldo levelled matters at Old Trafford in the 80th minute, but 17-year-old substitute Federico Macheda would have the final say.

A divine turn in the box presented him with the opening to shoot - and that he did. Curling a sumptuous effort into the far corner in the 93rd minute, he handed United three crucial points that would end up being the springboard from which they would secure the league title.

Juliano Belletti

Juliano Belletti

Three seasons, 102 matches, one goal. That's how the numbers read for Juliano Belletti's Barcelona career. However, that solitary strike would be the single most important goal he'd score in his entire career.

Coming up against ​Arsenal in the 2006 Champions League final, La Liga stalwarts Barça were doing their best to snatch a late winner with extra time looming. The unlikely name of substitute Belletti would be the one everyone remembered after an unforgettable night in Paris.

His 80th minute goal was the deciding factor in a 2-1 win, in turn handing La Blaugrana their second Champions League title.



Portugal fought their way into the Euro 2016 finals with some colossal displays along the way. Led by their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, the nation successfully navigated their way to a deciding clash with hosts France.

A gruelling encounter in the French capital remained goalless until the 109th minute, when legs began to tire and penalties seemed inevitable. However, Eder had other ideas.

Receiving a pass from João Moutinho, the striker drove at the defence before unleashing an effort from 25 yards that squeezed past Hugo Lloris. Portugal would go on to win the match, and Eder's name would be forever etched into Portuguese history. 

Hal Robson-Kanu

Hal Robson-Kanu,Thomas Meunier,Marouane Fellaini

Wales' first ever qualification for the European Championships came back in 2016. For such a small nation, even achieving that was victory in itself.

So when they had managed to reach the quarter-final stage, it was truly remarkable, although European heavyweights Belgium stood in their way. What happened instead, however, was a performance of utter magnificence that stunned the world and put Wales on the map.

Was ​Gareth Bale the hero against the Belgians? Nope, it was their striker who at the time didn't have a club, Hal Robson-Kanu. His sublime turn in the box was worthy of a FIFA Puskás nomination, and the finish he produced afterwards completed a turnaround for the Welsh. 

Sam Vokes would finish the scoring in a historic 3-1 victory.

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Source : 90min