15 Greatest Super-Subs in World Football History
The game is equal nil-nil with 30 minutes left in the second half. With a defense that has been hard to crack all night there is only one option in reserve for the away team manager. He has to go for the win, and he looks to his right down his club's bench to that one player he knows can make a difference.
As he signals his player to gear up he catches the fourth official's attention to let him know a substitution is in the works. With the player stretched and ready the manager walks him to the touch line and says to him, "you know what you're going on for," and he walks back to the dugout.
Ten minutes later as the substitute is surrounded by his teammates and the away fans are raising the decibel level, he looks towards the bench to a smiling manager as he just scored the go ahead goal that eventually would give his side the victory on hostile ground.
That may be a brief bit of fictional prose, but the thought behind it is all to common of an occurrence in the game of football that we all love so much.
The term super-sub began to really surface in the 1960s when clubs started making more substitutions and the players coming of the bench became part of strategy more than necessity in most cases.
Since then, the super-sub has become a great part of the game and after years of history we can take a look at those that were or that have become particularly adept to the definition.
HM: Soloman Kalou
Ivory Coast and Chelsea winger, Saloman Kalou has 98 substitute appearances with 13 goals for the Blues, and gives some credit as to why Andre Villas-Boas still could see value in the winger.
Despite being basically out of a job since the arrivals of Ramires, Fernando Torres, Raul Meireles and now Juan Mata, he still could be a valuable super-sub for the team.
15. Thierry Henry
France and New York Red Bulls forward, Thierry Henry, has aged out of being a permanent starter for his national team, but is still looked at as a super-sub for the team.
His last season in Barcelona saw him nab four goals and three assists mainly off the bench and he is still deadly in short play periods.
14. Peter Crouch
Peter Crouch has made a name for himself on all different grounds, but he has been perhaps one of England's best subs off the bench during his international career with the Three Lions.
13. David Trezeguet
David Trezeguet has been a super-sub on multiple occasions for both France and during his previous time at Juventus, before moving to Hercules and Baniyas.
One of the most memorable exploit was when Trezeguet scored in extra time during the 2000 UEFA European Championship final in 2000 to give France the Cup over Italy.
12. Tore Andre Flo
Norwegian footballer, Tore Andre Flo was one of Chelsea's first famous super-subs. He currently plays with Sogndal in Norway, after having previously retired from Milton Keynes Dons in 2009.
He made 169 appearances for the Blues, but 69 were off the bench where he scored 13 goals.
11. Patrick Kluivert
Patrick Kluivert was a member of Ajax Amsterdam's golden generation and to that affect was the super sub that sank AC Milan in the 1995 Champions League final.
Later in his career he would go on to save both AC Milan and then Barcelona on multiple occasions.
10. Lars Ricken
Lars Ricken spent his entire career in Germany with Borussia Dortmund during their golden era in the late 1990s.
He is another, like Kluivert, that rose to fame as a super-sub in a Champions League final. In 1997 against Juventus he came on late and scored the teams third goal in only 16 seconds.
Look ahead to 1:40 on the video when he comes onto the pitch.
9. Javier Hernandez
Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez has only been with Manchester Untied for just over a full season but he has already made his mark as both a starter and a sub for the Red Devils.
The Mexican international has scored nine goals in 21 substitute appearances for the club and he has a knack for getting a crucial one when needed.
8. Henrik Larsson
Look back to the 2006 Champions League final to see then Barcelona midfielder, Henrik Larsson, save the Blaugrana against Arsenal.
Larsson was a sub that unlike those before, did not do the scoring, but he set up the goals for Samueal Eto'o and Juliano Belletti in the last half hour.
The stylish Swede joins the fray at serving up Eto'o at 2:20 in the video.
7. Didier Drogba
Didier Drogba has been outstanding in his Chelsea career as a starter, but he has also made a huge impact off the bench for the club.
In 60 substitute appearances for the London club he has managed to score 15 goals.
6. Tm Cahill
Tim Cahill was Australia's savior in one of many of Guus Hiddink's great managerial calls throughout history. During the 2006 World Cup against Japan, Everton midfielder Cahill was thrown on with 20 minutes left with the Socceroos down 0-1.
Cahill would go on to score two goals and save his team and make national history as the man that gave his nation their first victory in World Cup history. At Club level with Everton, Cahill has often been a savior, as well as the Austrailian's aerial skills are outstanding for his size.
5. Oliver Bierhoff
Another famous super-sub born in the UEFA European Championships was Oliver Bierhoff. During his time with Udinese in the Italian Serie A, and arguably the bets part of his career, the German international was called to service in the summer of 1996 for Die Mannschaft.
He was the national savior as he came on with 20 minutes left and the team down 0-1 to the Czech Republic and scored the equalizer that sent them to extra time and then scored the first golden-goal in extra time history at the Euro's.
Goal one at 4:05 and the golden goal at 5:36.
4. Günter Netzer
Borussia Moenchengladbach legend Günter Netzer was part of the clubs early 1970s golden era and later was part of a successful Real Madrid squad in the mid 1970s.
Netzer help his club all the way to the final of the 1973 German Cup, but the death of his mother days before the final saw him keep himself out of the first 11, believing he was emotionally compromised. However, with 20 minutes left he would come on to give his club victory and lift the Cup. It was only the second of three German cups that M'Gladbach has won.
3. Jermaine Defoe
Jermaine Defoe has been a great super sub for both clubs and country throughout his career. He has already scored twice off the bench for Tottenham this season, once against both Newcastle United and Fulham making him two goals in five substitutions.
His most memorable run of super sub fame is from June 10, 2006 until September 5, 2009. In that time he made five substitute appearances between Tottenham and England.
June 10, 2009 - England vs Andorra: Scores twice in last 45 minutes off the bench.
August 9, 2009 - Olympiakos vs Tottenham : Scores once in last 45 minutes off the bench.
August 12, 2009 - England vs Netherlands: Scores twice in last 45 minutes off the bench to give his nation a draw.
September 5, 2009 - Slovenia vs England: Scores once in last 45 minutes off the bench to give England the victory 2-1 away from home.
2. David Fairclough
David Fairclough is Liverpool's most renowned super sup. He scored 55 goals in 154 career appearances for the Reds and 18 of his goals came from 62 appearances off the bench.
Fairclough was his most deadly in the last half hour of any match with 35 goals scored from the 60th minute on.
1. Ole Gunnar Solskjær
Nicknamed the "Baby Faced Assassin," Manchester United's Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer is the greatest super-sub of all time. The Norwegian winger was prolific for United scoring a total 126 goals in 336 career appearances for the club.
He was the Red Devils savior time and again as he scored a total of 28 goals off the bench during his time at Old Trafford becoming known for his knack at snatching winners late for the club. Not only did he save his team, but he did it with flair and style.
The most famous super sub strike to his name was the 1999 Champions League final winner that gave the Red Devils the treble.
There are many other memorable late substitute goals in history but these have to the top of all time.
I hope you will add any others at the bottom in the comments section.