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Sport
Kit Bag

Five stars of beach soccer

  |  September 18, 2013

Eric Cantona has led France to a Beach Soccer World Cup win. Chris Lobina / AllSport
Chris Lobina Stringer
Eric Cantona has led France to a Beach Soccer World Cup win. Chris Lobina / AllSport

With the Beach Soccer World Cup kicking off early on Thursday morning in Tahiti, Osman Samuiddin looks at five well-known names from 11-a-side football who have played in the sand.

Eric Cantona (France) Cantona began playing the beach version shortly after his retirement in 1997. He initially captained the French national side but later found greater success as manager: in 2005, under his stewardship, France won the world cup in Rio de Janeiro.

Zico (Brazil) One of the best players never to win a conventional 11-a-side World Cup on grass, the Brazilian Zico does at least have the consolation of winning a beach soccer world title. That came in 1995. That title came a year after his professional retirement. Zico was the leading scorer with 12 goals through the tournament.

Romario (Brazil) Romario was one of the greatest modern-day strikers but his incredible ball control was honed on the beaches of Rio. He played for all-conquering Brazil beach side at the 2005 World Cup, though ironically ended only with a bronze medal.

Junior (Brazil) Junior was a central figure in the 1982 Brazil side widely considered to be the best to never win a World Cup. The midfielder played 74 times for Brazil, but it is in beach football where he is a bona fide legend. He played in six successive world cups from 1995-2000, ending as a winner each time.

Julio Salinas (Spain) Salinas was a striker with a solid record: seven mostly successful seasons at Barcelona and a decade of international football for Spain, scoring 22 goals in 56 appearances. He took up beach football after retirement and played in the 2005 World Cup, but failed to make a huge impression.