Cult Heroes

Cult heroes: John Arne Riise at Liverpool

Cult heroes: John Arne Riise at Liverpool

When the debate of who had the hardest shot in football comes about, it doesn’t take long for Jon Arne Riise’s name to be mentioned.

Riise joined Liverpool from AS Monaco for £5.49 million (as per Transfermarkt) back in 2001 and it’s safe to say that the fee paid for the defender was soon repaid on the field.

Indeed, the Norwegian fullback’s legacy of hitting the ball ridiculously hard is something all football fans of a certain age remember well, and the former Liverpool star was quite literally one of the most explosive defenders to watch in the Premier League in the early 2000s.

Although Riise spent some time at Fulham in the latter years of his career, it is his spell at Liverpool that everyone remembers most. During his time on Merseyside, the former Monaco left-back scored 30 goals in 348 appearances for the Reds in which the Norwegian international won almost everything with the club.

Riise was the only Liverpool player to miss a penalty during their famous Champions League final win over AC Milan in 2005, however, the defender redeemed himself a year later, scoring the winning spot-kick against West Ham in the FA Cup final.

During his seven years at the club, Riise was one of Liverpool’s most important players both defensively and offensively. Primarily a left-back but able to play in a more advanced position, Riise made a name for himself as being a defender who was not afraid to venture forward whilst also doing well to return to defensive duties quickly.

As well as being an overall important player for the Reds, his set-piece wizardry made him one of the Premier League’s most lethal dead-ball specialists, being able to whip in corners with precision and power and being able to smash in free-kicks from both short and long distances.

Of course, Andy Robertson has made a name for himself since joining Liverpool from Hull City but he’s still got quite a way to go if he is to follow in Riise’s footsteps. The former Red literally had everything and supporters may have even loved him more than the Scotsman, which is understandable if you ever saw him play in the flesh.

His long-shot goals are the stuff of legend in English football, having one of the hardest shots out of any player in the history of the Premier League, something that built the foundation of Riise’s cult hero status on Merseyside.

Not all good things can last forever, though, and after losing his first-team place to Fabio Aurelio, Riise was sold to Roma in the summer of 2008, where he again asserted himself as a fan favourite.

Riise is a unique player in the history of Premier League. Known for his rockets shots, he is a player that is remembered fondly by neutrals and adored by Liverpool fans, who will also have time to reminisce about their former Norwegian superstar.

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