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Aug 1, 2013

Champions League-winning skippers

If you have any questions on football facts, statistics or trivia, please send them to ESPN's team of football anoraks at askespnfc@outlook.com and they will try to answer as many as possible.

I know Bob Paisley has won the European Cup or Champions League more than any other manager, but it got me wondering which captain has lifted the trophy most times? Rahul in Mumbai asked.

Liverpool's Paisley is alone in winning the competition three times and there is only one captain with a hat-trick of his own: Franz Beckenbauer, who skippered Bayern Munich in their final wins in 1974, 1975 and 1976.

In addition, there are 10 captains who have lifted the European Cup or Champions League twice. They are:

Miguel Munoz - Real Madrid, 1956 & 1957

Jose Maria Zarraga - Real Madrid, 1959 & 1960

Jose Aguas - Benfica, 1961 & 1962

Armando Picchi - Inter Milan, 1964 & 1965

Emlyn Hughes - Liverpool, 1977 & 1978

John McGovern - Nottingham Forest, 1979 & 1980

Franco Baresi - AC Milan, 1989 & 1990

Manuel Sanchis - Real Madrid, 1998 & 2000

Paolo Maldini - AC Milan, 2003 & 2007

Carles Puyol - Barcelona, 2006 & 2009

Two of them are three-time winning captains in one respect: Baresi was Milan's skipper in 1994 but was suspended for their final win over Barcelona, when Mauro Tassotti deputised and thus lifted the trophy, and Puyol was Barcelona's club captain in 2011. However, he began the final against Manchester United on the bench, when Xavi wore the armband until Puyol came on. But the trophy was lifted by Eric Abidal, a gesture to mark his recovery from cancer.

Can you list the Premier League records held by CURRENT Premier League players? Pheroze Mehta asked.

Ryan Giggs requires a section of his own. The Manchester United winger has played and scored in most seasons (21), played most games (620) and won most titles (13). In the time assists have been recorded, Giggs, with 109, has the most. Giggs has also played in the most Premier League victories - exactly 400.

The record for the most substitute appearances is held by Newcastle's Shola Ameobi with 126. Tottenham's Brad Friedel played the most consecutive games - 310, a sequence that ended last season. His Spurs team-mate Jermain Defoe shares the record for most goals in a game with five, along with Fulham's Dimitar Berbatov, whose quintet came in a Manchester United shirt, plus the retired pair of Andy Cole and Alan Shearer. In addition, Defoe, with 21, has the most Premier League goals as a substitute.

Frank Lampard is the Premier League's most prolific ever midfielder, with 165 goals. Friedel is also the joint top-scoring goalkeeper - with one - as is Everton's Tim Howard. The retired Peter Schmeichel and Paul Robinson, now in the Championship with Blackburn, are tied with them. Petr Cech has recorded the most clean sheets in a season - 21, level with the retired Edwin van der Sar - while another Chelsea goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer, has made most appearances by a foreigner, 504. Unfortunately for Schwarzer, he has also lost the most games in the division: 195.

His former Fulham team-mate, Matthew Briggs, is the youngest player ever to appear in the division. The left-back was 16 years and 65 days old when he debuted.

I read a story that before and after the 1966 World Cup in England, no substitutions were allowed. The original 11 who started the match had to play the entre 90 minutes without anyone being changed . My question is this: in the case when a player got injured very early in the match, did the team have to play the rest of the match with just ten players ? In fact, why and when did substitutions begin to be made? Patrick Senesie from Freetown, Sierra Leone asked.

That isn't quite correct. The first substitutions in the Football League came in the 1965-66 season - indeed on August 21, the first man to be brought off the bench was Charlton's Keith Peacock, later to become the assistant manager at the Valley and also known as the father of former Chelsea captain Gavin Peacock. For the first two years, however, replacements were only allowed in the Football League when players were injured, before they were then also permitted as a tactical move.

However, in international football, substitutes were permitted in qualifying for the 1954 World Cup. The first used was Horst Eckel for West Germany against Saarland, which was briefly an independent country. Substitutes weren't actually permitted in World Cup finals, however, until 1970.

Go back further in time and there is a strange story of the first substitution: in 1889, Wales played Scotland but their goalkeeper, James Trainer, was not permitted to play by his club, Preston. They sent for Wrexham's Sam Gillam but, until he arrived, a local amateur, Alf Pugh was in goal. Then Gillam became international football's first substitute.

The major reason why substitutes became introduced in England three-quarters of a century later was that a series of FA Cup finals were ruined by injuries. In 1957, Manchester United goalkeeper Ray Wood was knocked unconscious after six minutes, defender Jackie Blanchflower took over in goal - Wood eventually ended up a passenger on the wing - and unsurprisingly Aston Villa won the FA Cup. In the 1959 final, meanwhile, Nottingham Forest's Roy Dwight (uncle of Reg, otherwise later known as Elton John) broke his leg in the first half; in 1960, Blackburn defender (and future Wigan owner) Dave Whelan did likewise. Both sides finished with 10 men, though Forest did win.

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