Whether coupled at the heart of the defense, placed at the core of the sprawling midfield, or leading the fear-inducing attacking line, a volley of footballing duos left an indelible impression on our minds. Such has been their impact that it’s hard to talk about one of them in singularity. These players were destined to play together and, in doing so, they brought laurels to the clubs and moments of joy to the fans. 

As the new season of Premier League beckons us, one can’t help but get excited by the prospect of watching Erling Haaland and Jack Grealish at Manchester City, or Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz at Chelsea, among others. Only time will tell whether they go on to ink their name in the list of most iconic duos. 

But for now, in celebration of football’s greatest partnerships, we take a look at some of the most memorable duos:

Xavi X Iniesta – Barcelona

Xavi and Iniesta formed the lynchpin of high-flying Barcelona when Pep Guardiola was in charge of the club. It’s almost impossible to talk about one without mentioning the other. Both of them graduated from La Masia, eased into their roles at Barcelona without much turbulence, and dominated world football for over half a decade. But their influence was not limited to Barcelona alone. They were equally effective for their national time, winning Euro Cup and FIFA World Cup with them.

Mohamed Salah X Sadio Mane – Liverpool

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In the last few years, the striking duo of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane emerged as a force to reckon with. They became the embodiment of heavy-metal football pioneered by Liverpool’s head coach Jurgen Klopp. Both of them pressed relentlessly and combined for a number of iconic goals that changed the destiny of the club. It’s shame we’re no longer going to watch them together, as Mane has now moved to Bayern Munich. 

Cristiano Ronaldo X Wayne Rooney – Manchester United

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From the strike duo of Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole in the 1990s to Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney in 2013, Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United has always been adorned by sublime attacking talent. But perhaps none so captured the public imagination as Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo did during the mid-noughties. Both of them were young and brash, shared a great camaraderie, and pulverized the opponents with their nerve-racking skills.

Lionel Messi X Luis Suarez

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Numerically, none of the striking duo even comes close to the goal-scoring proficiency of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez at Barcelona. In the six-year span between 2014 to 2020, the duo netted a sum total of 478 goals. Messi served Suarez on 52 occasions, while the latter has 47 assists for the former’s goals. 

Thierry Henry And Dennis Bergkamp

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The union began in the summer of 1998, when Thierry Henry joined Arsenal from Juventus, and lasted till 2006, when Dennis Bergkamp bid adieu to football. In between, the duo won two Premier League trophies and three FA Cup titles. It’s tragic but fitting that Arsenal never regained the summit after Bergkamp’s retirement. Each was supremely talented in their own ways but the combination propelled their potency.

Lead Image: ManUtd/Twitter