There is something special about a strike partnership, especially when one-striker systems have been so popular for more than a decade.
Two players knowing each other’s game inside out and carving out opportunities and goals, to win games and eventually trophies.
These seven duos were so good that they led their teams to the ultimate prize.
Alan Shearer & Chris Sutton (Blackburn)
The Premier League’s original ‘SAS’, Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton were paired together at Blackburn after the latter arrived from Norwich in the summer of 1994 and were Premier League champions at the end of their first season as a duo.
Sutton netted 15 Premier League goals, while Shearer plundered as many as 34 to take the Golden Boot, with Blackburn unsurprisingly outscoring every other team in the division.
Raul & Fernando Morientes (Real Madrid)
Before Ronaldo came along at the Bernabeu and the Galactico era gathered speed, Raul and Fernando Morientes were the star strikers at Real Madrid, powering Los Blancos to Champions League glory in the club’s centenary year in 2002.
The Champions League final itself against Bayer Leverkusen is remembered for Zinedine Zidane’s iconic volley, but working together Raul and Morientes had scored 50 goals between them that season, including nine in Europe.
Ian Rush & Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool)
With Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish leading the line with their complementary styles in the 1980s, Liverpool won four English league titles, the 1985/86 FA Cup and the 1983/84 European Cup.
In Rush’s first full season with the Reds, 1981/82, he and the more experienced Dalglish combined to score 52 goals in all competitions. Two seasons later, they scored eight times between them in Europe as Liverpool conquered the continent for the fourth time in their history.
Diego Maradona & Jorge Valdano (Argentina)
Diego Maradona emerged as the superstar of Argentina’s 1986 World Cup winning side, but he was supported by an able cast, none more so than attacking partner Jorge Valdano.
Between them, the pair scored nine of Argentina’s 14 goals in the tournament, with Maradona netting braces against England and Belgium in the quarter and semi finals respectively, while Valdano was on the score-sheet in the 3-2 final victory over West Germany.
Thierry Henry & Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal)
Arsenal fans saw the magic of Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp’s partnership during the 2001/02 season. The pair, who were also joined by Sylvain Wiltord, scored 48 goals between them as Arsenal won a Premier League and FA Cup double.
Two years later, the Henry-Bergkamp partnership helped steer the club to another Premier League title. This time, Arsenal also became the first English club to go unbeaten in a league season since Preston North End way back in 1888/89.
Ronaldo & Rivaldo (Brazil)
Ronaldo being left out of the 2002 World Cup would not have been a surprise after missing of two-and-a-half years prior to the tournament. But he made the cut and, with striker partner and fellow Ballon d’Or winner Rivaldo beside him, fired Brazil to a historic fifth title.
With a young Ronaldinho also supporting them from deep, Ronaldo scored eight goals to pick up the Golden Boot, while Rivaldo chipped in with five goals of his own. Together, they scored 13 of Brazil’s 18 goals, with the duo alone scoring more than every other team except Germany.
Dwight Yorke & Andrew Cole (Manchester United)
Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored the heroic late goals that won Manchester United the Champions League final in 1999, but the team had been buoyed all season by the incredible goals of first choice strike partnership Dwight Yorke and Andrew Cole.
Yorke, a record signing from Aston Villa, enjoyed the most prolific campaign of his career with 29 goals in all competitions, while Cole netted 25. Their dummy one-two against Barcelona at Camp Nou, scored by Cole, remains one of the all-time great Champions League goals.
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