September 5 2010
With the arrival of Dutch legend Edgar Davids at Crystal Palace, we pick out the top 10 foreign stars to have played for the club.
10. Sasa Curcic (1998-99)
Controversial Serbian midfielder joined Palace for £1m from Aston Villa when the Eagles were struggling at the wrong end of the Premier League table. His attractive style of play galvanised the team but he soon started to fall out of love of the game as Palace were relegated. He remained at the club for the next season and as Palace fell into financial trouble, he left to save wage costs.
9. Craig Moore (1998-99)
Australian centre-half only made 24 appearances for Palace but was a class act in defence during the club's Premier League campaign. Signed from Glasgow Rangers, he went back there after Palace defaulted on transfer payments during financial problems at the time under Mark Goldberg.
8. Mathias Svensson (1998-00)
Mathias Svensson joined after the trauma of relegation from the Premier League. A useful target man, the Swede's goals helped a struggling Palace to 15th place in the second tier and his form in the following campaign attracted champions-elect Charlton to snap him up from the cash-strapped Eagles. Scored 10 goals in 26 league starts.
7. Nico Vaesen (2004)
Belgian goalkeeper played an integral part in Crystal Palace's march to the play-offs and successful promotion to the Premier League. Signed in March, Vaesen kept clean sheets in the wins over eventual champions Norwich and promotion rivals Sunderland and West Ham. Then was brilliant in the play-off semi-final against the Black Cats and the Cardiff Final against the Hammers making some outstanding stops as Palace went up.
6. Mikael Forssell (2000-01)
Palace borrowed the young Finnish striker from Chelsea in February 2000 when the Eagles were in administration and struggling on the pitch with a bunch of inexperienced players. He forged a good partnership with Clinton Morrison, helping Palace to 15th, and returned the following campaign to score 13 times as the Eagles survived relegation on the last day.
5. Rachid Harkouk (1976-78)
Algerian nicknamed "Rash the Smash" for his powerful shot and "Spider" for the way he weaved in and out of opposition defences, Rachid Harkouk scored four goals in the five wins over Brighton in 1976-77 and finished top scorer. Scored in the vital win at rivals Wrexham which earned promotion to the Second Division in 1977. Played in the 1986 Mexico World Cup while with Notts County.
4. Aki Riihilahti (2001-06)
Midfield enforcer became a massive fan favourite for his boundless energy and tough tackling, helping Palace win promotion to the Premier League in 2004. Flamboyant character who wrote an entertaining column on his own website, he holds the record of international appearances for a Palace player with 36 caps for Finland.
3. Fan Zhiyi (1998-01)
Fan Zhiyi and countryman Sun Jihai became the first Chinese nationals to sign for a British club when Terry Venables brought them to Palace in 1998. Both sparkled in South London with Fan particularly impressive in midfield and at the heart if the defence where his displays earned him the Player of the Year honour in 2001.
2. Julian Speroni (2004-)
Regarded as one of Palace's greatest goalkeepers after establishing himself as the No.1 choice following an indifferent start to his career. Magnificent displays between the posts have earned the Argentine stopper three successive Player of the Year awards.
1. Attilio Lombardo (1997-99)
The Bald Eagle lit up Selhurst Park with his silky skills on the flank or down the middle, scoring on his debut at Everton in the Premier League. The Italian international briefly took charge of team affairs with Thomas Brolin and remained loyal to the club after relegation from the top flight and remains one of the club's finest players.
*Foreign is outside British Isles.
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