Favourite XI – Wingers (Part 2)
Now for our second choice of winger as our Favourite XI series continues.
ATTILIO LOMBARDO – Our literal bald Eagle. I’m not sure any believed we’d actually signed Lombardo until they saw him run out at Goodison Park on opening day. He was a bona fide world class international in his prime, who turned out for Palace in a particularly average side and almost single handedly kept us in the top division. We won’t talk so much about his spell as manager but let’s just say that Lombardo was never on the losing side for Palace when he found the net. He didn’t even complete fifty games for Palace, but what an effect he had on those he was in.
WILFRIED ZAHA – It’s incredibly difficult to sum up Zaha and his relationship with Palace in so few characters. He has brought vast excitement to Selhurst Park, possessing a natural ability to have a supporter on the edge of their seat for ninety minutes. Having come through the academy system, he was initially prone to a loss of temper but has now matured into an excellent footballer. His all round game has improved with each season and he is slowly starting to show why he was so highly rated during his teens having stalled slightly with his failed move to Manchester United. An England recall awaits for a man whose development into an excellent Premier League player coincides with the rise of the club.
YANNICK BOLASIE – Who? I asked my friend after Yala arrived in 2013. A Bristol City reserve player was hardly likely to take us off the bottom of the league. Well, no. Not alone. But he was a key part in our rise from the bottom of the Championship to the top half of the Premier League and an FA Cup Final. Always playing with a smile on his face that must have irritated his bamboozled opponents, Bolasie danced, skipped and tripped his way into football fans hearts. Whenever he was on the pitch, watching Palace was always exciting. I just wished he could have faced Liverpool every week.
ATTILIO LOMBARDO – The Bald Eagle. A living legend. Lombardo was one of those players that made you rub your eyes and stare every time he was on the pitch. Was this guy really a Palace player?! He wasn’t at Palace for a lengthy period of time and only made forty-nine appearances. However, he is someone that continual makes fan favourite’s lists. Even making Palace’s Centenary XI. He was a hero and will be fondly held in Palace fan’s hearts and for most of you reading this, I’d say that you’d all agree, this player doesn’t really need any justification as to why he is mine and many supporters favourite.
YANNICK BOLASIE – Thinking about Yannick Bolasie since his unsavoury departure to Everton leaves a bad taste in my mouth. However, looking back both he, and the man he struck up a strong partnership with, Wilfried Zaha, worked perfectly together, teaming up on unsuspecting defenders. Seeing him grow from the player that arrived from Bristol City to a fully fledged international footballer has been great to witness but his trickery that afternoon at White Hart Lane which has made it onto the latest FIFA video game will live long in the memory.
ATTILIO LOMBARDO – I am certain I will not be alone with this pick and while he will rank as one of the best players to have pulled on a Palace shirt, he is also my favourite. Why? Well, his signing was completely unexpected. Long before the arrival of social media, the source of immediate information was very scarce indeed, I have no idea how we all coped. The minute rumours eminated that the Italian international was on his way to South London, the excitement began. Just another rumour they said. It will never happen they said. Nobody believed it. But it did happen and it was quite a coup for the club to attract someone of Lombardo’s calibre. He was immediately adored and soon became a cult hero even in his brief stay. I still cannot believe he played for Palace.
FOR THE NEXT INTERNATIONAL BREAK WE WILL SELECT OUR FAVOURITE CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS