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Paulo Wanchope: Never a dull moment

In the second of our World Cup Gold series, we look at former Blues and their stories from the biggest tournament in sport...

Spectacular goals, flamboyant celebrations and a Costa Rica international legend...

Player: Paulo Wanchope

Country: Costa Rica

Caps: 73

Goals: 45

City appearances: 75

City Goals: 29

World Cup: South Korea & Japan 2002, Germany 2006

 

 

Los Ticos Legend

When City fans think of Club legends, it's fair to say Paul Wanchope probably wouldn't top many lists.

It's not that he wasn't popular - Wanchope had some genuine 'wow' moments during his City career, but he made just 75 appearances during a four-year spell, with injuries taking their toll.

Wanchope joined the newly-promoted Blues in time for the 2000/01 Premier League campaign and make a stunning start to life in sky blue with a hat-trick on his home debut against Sunderland.

In his autobiography 'The Good, the Mad and the Ugly'', Andy Morrison claimed he had been involved in an altercation with Wanchope who had momentarily knocked him out with a flying right fist!

Unpredictable, entertaining yet never dull, it seemed Wanchope was the perfect man to lead the City front line, and with former World Footballer of the Year George Weah also signing, Joe Royle had fashioned a new strike pairing for little more than £3.5m.

Crowd favourites Shaun Goater and Paul Dickov initially made way for the duo, though their time with the Blues was far from over.

City struggled throughout the season and were ultimately relegated back to to Division One with Wanchope bagging 10 goals in 31 games.

He managed a healthy 13 goals from just 18 matches in his second season which was disrupted by injury, but he was fit for the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan where he scored in a 5-2 loss to Brazil.

 

Wanchope then missed the entire 2002/03 season as the Blues enjoyed a top ten finish - but he would still have a major part to play in what would turn out to be his last season with City.

His return to action coincided with a fresh battle to avoid relegation in 2003 and with three games to go, it was his powerful header against Newcastle United that earned Kevin Keegan's men a vital 1-0 win to move six points clear of the relegation zone with two games to go.

He scored in both the remaining games - one in a 2-1 loss to Middlesbrough and a brace against Everton in a 5-1 final day win.

He would remain with the Club until August before Malaga paid £500,000 for his services.

The 28-year-old was far from finished, however, as was included in the Costa Rica squad bound for the 2006 World Cup where he bagged two against Germany in a 4-2 loss.

By then, he was the Los Ticos all-time leading scorer and despite retiring from club football in 2007 after a brief spell in the MLS, he returned to play one more game for Costa Rica in 2008 - his 73rd and final cap.

 

HAT-TRICK HERO: Wanchope's home debut went rather well

 

National team manager and controversy

Wanchope moved into management with his first club Herediano in 2008 and then Uruguay Coronado before becoming assistant Costa Rica manager.

After being promoted to interim manager in 2014, he guided Los Ticos to the Central American Cup and was offered the role on a permanent basis the following January.

However, just seven month into his reign, Wanchope became embroiled in a bizarre fight with a security steward as Costa Rica Under-23s took on Panama - in the furore that followed he decided to step down as manager.

It was a pity for Wanchope, so early in his coaching career, to end wit such controversy - but then again, the Costa Rican star never did anything exactly by the book. 

 

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