As a player Belgian defender Philippe Albert was known more for his goals and attacking guile than his effective contributions at the back, as Manchester United fans may know all too well.
Back in the 1996-97 season the Belgian was part of a Newcastle United team that exacted revenge on a Red Devils side that denied them the Premier League title in the season previous, romping to a 5-0 victory at St James’ Park.
The undoubted highlight of the display came from Albert himself, who rounded off the scoring with an exquisite chip over a stranded Peter Schmeichel.
Nearly two decades on and with Manchester United on the hunt for defensive reinforcements this summer, the club could be about to turn to Brazil’s very own version of the Belgian.
A pacy, agile left-back, Alex Sandro has been impressing in Portugal for much of the past four years, having moved to the club from Santos back in 2011.
Confident and capable on the ball, the 24-year-old may have some way to go before he matches the scoring feats of Albert but his previous goals do bear some resemblance to the Belgian’s finest work for the Toon.
The most obvious example comes from his days at Santos, when Sandro burst forward, beating several defenders before finishing with a deft chip over the goalkeeper.
Due to leave Porto at the end of the season according to speculation from TuttoMercatoWeb, the Brazilian would be a welcome addition to the Old Trafford club.
Capped six times by Brazil to date and part of the under-23 squad that reached the final of the men’s Olympic football tournament in 2012, Sandro could yet be in line for a permanent switch to English shores.
Here’s hoping for a few more Albert moments along the way.
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