Rigobert Song - hard as nails

football10 March 2023 05:48
article image


Liverpool: 34/0
West Ham United: 24/0
Premier League titles (0): None

Cameroon international Song was an uncompromising defender who was hard as nails and had an excellent read of the game.

He was just 22 when he signed for Liverpool for £2.7-million in January 1999, but had already played 148 club games for Metz in France and Salernitana in Italy, had 31 caps for the Indomitable Lions and played at two World Cups having made his debut six years earlier.

He was the first Cameroonian to play for the Anfield club and while he was more usually a centre-back, he was often used out of position at right-back, which did not necessarily help his cause.

Injury and international commitments (he led Cameroon to the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations title) meant he was in and out of the side though he did play in the early rounds as they won the UEFA Cup in 2001 (he had left the club by the time they played the final).

He moved to West Ham for £2.5-million in August 2000 having been earmarked as a replacement for Rio Ferdinand, who moved to Leeds United.

Song made 24 Premier League appearances for The Hammers, his last a 5-0 defeat at Everton in September 2001, after which he moved to Cologne in the German Bundesliga, later playing in France and Turkey before his retirement in 2010.

His numbers might not suggest it, but he was appreciated by fans at both clubs for his all-action style and incredible work-ethic he put into every game.

He is currently the coach of the Cameroon national side and led them to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.