Wednesday, April 11, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 53: Markus Babbel


Coming in at number 53 in our '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' countdown is heroic German defender Markus Babbel.
Four years after our ground-breaking '100 Days That Shook The Kop', we are delighted to invite you to enjoy our new '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' series – the definitive countdown of the 100 players who have made the biggest impact at Liverpool.

Over 110,000 supporters have all nominated their own personal Top 10 players in order of impact made and now the definitive top 100 countdown is underway.

Every player who has made the top 100 – and there are some surprises in there - will be honoured on this website via the e-Season ticket console with a specially produced video clip, including archive footage and exclusive interviews.

Since 1892 hundreds of players have represented this club but everyone has their own particular favourites so don't expect this list to be based solely on talent. The greatness of a player can be measured in many ways – obviously, his ability on the pitch is the most important, but 100 PWSTK is much more than that. It's about the impact the individuals chosen have had on this club, be it for a variety of reasons. Maybe it was because of their unique rapport with the crowd, a specific incident that has never been forgotten or anything else that has left a lasting impression.

Name: Markus Babbel

Years at Liverpool: 2000 to 2004
Position: Defender

Date-of-birth: 8/9/1972
Birthplace: Munich

Signed from: Bayern Munich (July 2000)

Games: 73
Goals: 6

Honours: FA Cup (2001), UEFA Cup (2001), League Cup (2001), Charity Shield (2001)

Markus Babbel's Liverpool career may have been tragically cut down in its prime through illness but the former German international did more than enough in his four years at Anfield to be considered a true legend of the club. Bavarian born, Babbel initially made his name with Bayern Munich and was a key contributor to his country's triumph at Euro 96. When Gerard Houllier snapped him up on a free transfer in 2000 it was a move that was widely acclaimed by the Liverpool fans and the attacking right full-back quickly set about justifying this optimism. A highly polished performer, Babbel's experience shone through as a dream first season on Merseyside culminated in that never-to-be-forgotten treble cup success. The popular German was heavily involved each triumph, with his most memorable contribution being the early headed goal that sparked a goal-fest in the Westfalenstadion as Alaves were beaten in the Uefa Cup Final. Another important strike that season came at Goodison Park as Everton were famously defeated 3-2 in a game that went some way to securing Champions League qualification. A glorious future in red beckoned but after playing in the 2001 Charity Shield victory over Manchester United he was struck down by the debilitating Guillan-Barre Syndrome, a rare virus that affected his nervous system and left him confined to a wheelchair. As a result, he missed the entire 2001/02 campaign. His charging forays down the right flank were sorely missed but intensive treatment back in his homeland eventually quelled fears that Babbel's career could be over. He displayed great courage and determination to battle his way back to full fitness but, sadly, was never the same player again. Frustrated at his failure to regain top form, he uncharacteristically suffered bouts of indiscipline that resulted in a bust-up with Houllier and him being loaned out to Blackburn in 2003/04. On his eventual return to Melwood it was quickly made clear that his Anfield days were numbered and in the summer of 2004 Babbel returned to Germany to sign for Stuttgart. He left Liverpool with the best wishes of everyone at the club and will be remembered in the annals of this club's history as a truly heroic figure who would have achieved much more had it not been for his unfortunate illness.

Sold to: Vfb Stuttgart (July 2004)

Claim to fame: Scoring the opening goal of the 2001 UEFA Cup Final

Did you know? He rejected the chance to sign for Real Madrid before joining Liverpool

Where is he now? Plying his trade back in the Bundesliga with Stuttgart

Didi Hamann on Markus Babbel: "Markus came in 2000 when we had that great season and played a lot of games. He was the kind of player who you always knew what you'd get from him. I think he played in almost every game – 60 games – that year. He was a right back but could also have played at centre back."

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