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Jul 15, 2010

Ask Norman: Doubles, caps and the Special One

Norman Hubbard is Soccernet's resident anorak. If you have any questions on football facts, statistics or trivia, please send them to asknorman@hotmail.com and he'll try to answer as many as possible.

Now that Chelsea have done the Premier League and FA Cup Double, can I make a guess that Nicolas Anelka is the only player to have won the Double with two different teams? asked KahYip Tham.

You can make that guess, but Chelsea contain another double Double winner: Ashley Cole, who won both trophies with Arsenal in 2002. Anelka's first Double also came for Arsenal, but in 1998.

In fact, Chelsea's was a squad full of Double winners. Michael Ballack (Bayern Munich), Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira, Deco and Jose Bosingwa (Porto) and Yuri Zhirkov (CSKA Moscow) had all achieved at least one in another country.

I have a couple of questions: In Scotland, who is the more successful team, Rangers or Celtic? And who is the third most successful team behind these giants? asked Devon Thomas.

The Old Firm can both claim to be the most successful. Rangers' total of 53 league titles is a record, not just in Scotland but in the world. They have also won the Scottish Cup 33 times and the Scottish League Cup a record 26 times. Celtic have 42 league titles, a record 34 Scottish Cup wins and 14 League Cup triumphs. And, as they won't be slow to tell you, they are the only Scottish club to have won the European Cup, in 1967.

As their rather large collection of silverware indicates, the title hasn't gone elsewhere too often. Hearts, Hibernian and Aberdeen have all won it four times and Hearts, runners-up 14 times, have finished in the top two most often. Both they and Aberdeen have won the Scottish Cup seven times, but the Dons are the only club apart from the Old Firm to win a European trophy: Sir Alex Ferguson's team won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1983. However, besides the Old Firm, the only clubs to reach the last four of the most prestigious club competition both come from Tayside: Dundee were European Cup semi-finalists in 1962-3, a feat Dundee United emulated in 1983-4.

I'm from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. There was an advert in Malaysia noting the fact that Soh Chin Aun, ex-national player for Malaysia in 70s and 80s (the heyday of Malaysian football), was capped in 260 plus games for his country. I'm proud if it's true but is he the most capped player in the world? asked Attan Power.

They can't all have been full internationals. The most capped player of all time (rather oddly for those who remember his incompetence at the 2002 World Cup) is the Saudi Arabian goalkeeper Mohamed Al-Deayea, who represented his country 181 times. Just behind is the long-serving Mexican defender Claudio Suarez (178). As both retired from club football this year, they are unlikely to add to their total of caps.

That means Egypt captain Ahmed Hossan, who at 35 years old is still playing and has 173 caps, could leapfrog both. The most-capped South American is Ecuador defender Ivan Hurtado with 167 and the most capped European is Vitalijs Astafjevs of Latvia with 162.

Is Jose Mourinho the most successful young manager; considering the number of "quality" trophies he has collected in the last seven years: from Porto to winning the Treble at Inter? asked Daniel Cheah.

Mourinho won the Champions League at Porto when he was 41 and the UEFA Cup and the Portuguese league a year earlier. However, the new Real Madrid manager may not be as precocious as his Barcelona counterpart: Pep Guardiola won six trophies in a year, including the Spanish title and the Champions League, at 38.

But the youngest to win the Champions League is Miguel Munoz, who was 37 when Real Madrid triumphed in 1959. He had only retired as a player the previous year. But of the three managers to win the Champions League for two different clubs, Mourinho did it the quickest; he was 47, while Ottmar Hitzfeld was 52 and Ernst Happel 57 when they won their second titles.

Does this year's World Cup set some kind of record for the highest number of such father-coach-son-player combination - there was Bob Bradley and Michael Bradley (USA), Vladimir Weiss Sr and Vladimir Weiss Jr (Slovakia) and Diego Maradona and Sergio Aguero (son-in-law) in South Africa? asked Mindy Ng from Singapore.

Yes, and there's another father-in-law and son-in-law combination with Bert van Marwijk and Mark van Bommel of Netherlands. In that respect, this World Cup has been more of a family affair than any other. However, there are other previous father-son combinations: Ondino and Milton Viera (Uruguay, 1966) Cesare and Paolo Maldini (Italy, 1998), Zlatko and Niko Kranjcar (Croatia, 2006).

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