|A decent right-back isn't the easiest thing to come by. Have a think back over the last 10 years and try to name 10 truly world class right-backs. Cafu, Lillian Thuram, Gary Neville, Javier Zanetti... Well, that's where I get stumped!
So when you found a fantastic young player to fill in on the right side of your defence for many years to come, you'd find yourself excited as a Gary Neville commentating on a Fernando Torres Champions League semi-final goal.
I struggled to find any players from the early years of the game who jumped out at me. That is until I got to Championship Manager 97/98 and found my first CM/FM legend for this list, but it was a CM/FM legend worth the wait. Michael 'Mike' Duff could be snapped up from lowly Cheltenham Town and would slip into top-flight football with the greatest of ease. However, in real-life Duff has spent the last 10 years playing for Burnley and made just 11 appearances in the Premier League the last time they were promoted. He'll be hoping to get a few more games under his belt this season for the newly promoted side after being a mainstay in last season's Championship promotion side.
Carl Laurie is a name I remember extremely well who first popped up around Championship Manager 99/00. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Laurie turn out for the likes of Real Madrid and his club Crewe Alexandra were more than happy to do business for the player. But it didn't quite work out for Laurie who ended up at non-league outfit Northwich Victoria after a six-year spell at Gresty Road, but spent just one season there before quitting football to get a real job! He is now a director at mobile phone firm Lily Management Ltd.
The following season Laurie was still a powerhouse in the game but if you couldn't snap him up then Hannu Tihinen was an equally good investment. The Finnish defender had a decent international career but the highest level he reached was an eight-game loan period with West Ham in 2001.
RKC Waalwijk youngster Michael Lamey is next up from the CM 01/02 version. The Dutchman has never quite lived up to the hype despite stints with PSV Eindhoven and - wait for it - Leicester City, and now finds himself without a club after being released by RKC Waalwijk following a second spell with the club which ended in relegation from the Eredivisie. As they say, never go back.
The next entrant is from Championship Manager 4 and will be familiar to fans of the Premier League. Stuart Parnaby of Middlesbrough was a player who was touted to have a great career ahead of him and would be the player to fill that right-back spot for many of us. But at the age of 32, Parnaby has only ever made 161 league appearances and starts next season at Hartlepool United.
Darijo Srna was able to operate in right midfield or at right-back but it seems that most gamers used him in an attacking wing back role. Srna is a strange one as he has been highly regarded in many versions of the game since he became a prominent transfer target for most players in Championship Manager 03/04. But despite the fact his Champ Man CV probably features the likes of Manchester United, Juventus and Barcelona, he has remained at Shakhtar Donetsk for the past decade.
My sentimental vote goes to the man who first featured around Football Manager 2005. Billy Jones is another product of the Crewe Alexandra talent conveyor belt and could operate right across the back four or in midfield. As any gamer who managed Everton in FM05 will tell you, we operated on a shoe-string transfer budget and ploughing the £2m you probably had into the versatile Jones was money well spent. It hasn't quite worked out for him yet despite a fairly successful spell with West Brom and he'll start next season with Sunderland.
But if my sentimental vote goes to Jones, then my cast iron vote would probably go to the man known as Anthony Vanden Borre. The original AVB was a beast when he first appeared in Football Manager 2005 and it didn't take long for gamers to raid Anderlecht for both Vanden Borre and another teenager by the name of Vincent Kompany. But while Kompany has gone on to lead Manchester City to two Premier League titles in real life, the best Vanden Borre achieved was playing for Portsmouth. Yeah, that Portsmouth!
Next to step forward is Greg Halford who appeared in Football Manager 2007. Halford rose to prominence after impressing at Colchester United and the CM/FM community took notice. He fast became a highly sought after player. Reading took a punt in real life but it didn't work out and Halford then spent time as a bit of a journeyman going out on loan before he ended up at - uh oh - Portsmouth! He has since found some stability playing at Nottingham Forest since 2012.
Two Italian players feature next from the FM08 and FM09 versions. Lorenzo De Silvestri and Davide Santon are two players who have certainly fallen foul to the Champ Man curse. Italy must have thought they were spoilt for choice for the next 10 years at right-back, and De Silvestri made his international debut in 2010 but has only ever played for his country once more since then. Santon has made a few more international appearances with eight, but the fact he went from Inter to Newcastle United pretty much tells its own story.
And if you couldn't get Santon to sign for your team in Football Manager 2009, then you could always try to see if Daniel Opare would be willing to leave Real Madrid. Things didn't work out for Opare in Spain as he only managed a handful of appearances in Real's second team Castilla before he left to rebuild his career in Belgium with Standard Liege. Next season he'll be playing for Portuguese champions Porto.
The final two players on the list come from Football Manager 2011 and could well yet turn out to be genuine global superstars. Croatian Šime Vrsaljko and Brazilian Romario (no, not that one) are the best of the latest generation of CM/FM wonderkids. Vrsaljko is performing better at the moment as he was a regular for Italian side Genoa last season, but Romario is yet to make a league appearance for German outfit 1899 Hoffenheim since his 2013 transfer.
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