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Championship Manager 1997/98 was a cult classic game which took virtual football management to heady new heights.

It, along with its successor games, gave generations after generations of football fans that they might just have the first clue about actually managing a football team. Such was its popularity and overall success, that the layout became a template for modern day football management games.

As with the games that both preceded and succeeded it, there would always be certain players who stood above the rest. Only their real-life careers wouldn’t always parallel their virtual ones.

Here, we take a look at what became of some of the CM 97/98 legends.

Erik Nevland

@EricNevland

The Norwegian striker started his career at Viking FK in Norway before being snapped up by Manchester United at the age of 19. In his time with the Red Devils, he only managed to score one goal and was subsequently shipped off back to Viking in 2000 after a couple of loan spells. A move to FC Groningen in 2004 saw him spend 4foursuccessful years in Holland before being signed up by Fulham, where he played over 50 times in the Premier League and scored nine goals. By 2010, his career had come full circle as he returned to his boyhood club, Viking, and retired in 2012. Throughout his career he represented Norway 8 times without scoring a single goal.

 

Denílson de Oliveira Araújo

YouTube

Believe it or not, but at one time this player held the title of the most expensive player in the world, signing for Real Betis from São Paulo for a massive £21.5 million in 1998. I don’t know about you, but I had no idea that Real Betis ever had that kind of cash-eesh to throw around. Denílson was touted as a star for the future but soon became somewhat of a flop at Betis when you take into consideration the money they paid for him. Whether it was too much hype or too much pressure to live up to the enormous price tag, it just wasn’t to be. Consider this; in 2001, Real Madrid paid Juventus £46.6 million for Zinedine Zidane, pretty much the best player of his generation and one of the best players of all time. Nowadays, if Paul Pogba can move for £90 million, then a player of Zidane’s quality would go for something ridiculous like 150 or 200 million. That’s not even hyperbole. So in 1998, paying £21 million for a player was a very, very big deal. And as such, he had a great deal to live up to. However, within two seasons Betis were relegated to the Segunda División and Denílson went back to Brazil on loan. He returned to Spain after Betis were promoted back to La Liga and found some form as the team garnered some success over a few years but Denílson soon became a fringe player and in 2005 he was sold to Bordeaux. Between 2005 and his eventual retirement in 2010, Denílson represented teams in Saudi Arabia, USA, Brazil, Vietnam and Greece. He played for Brazil 60 times and even won a World Cup medal in 2002 (but take that with a pinch of salt, seeing as the 2002 Brazil team was arguably one of the best one-to-eleven teams of all time) but not only did he fail to live up to his record breaking transfer fee, his superstar role in Championship Manager was also way off the mark.

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