Aubameyang-Mkhitaryan & football’s most telepathic partnerships

With Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang having been reunited at Arsenal, Goal looks back at other devastating pairings…

Dwight Yorke & Andy Cole (Manchester United)

First brought together early in the 1998-99 season, Dwight York and Andy Cole combined to devastating effect as Manchester United won the treble under Sir Alex Ferguson, albeit with their back-ups – Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – sealing the deal in the Champions League final.

Cole and Yorke started 36 matches together in that campaign, with the Red Devils losing on just one occasion. Between them, they scored 53 goals in all competitions and followed that up with 46 in the next campaign.

Fernando Morientes & Raul (Real Madrid & Spain)

During a period around the turn of the millennium, Fernando Morientes and Raul were one of Europe’s most feared strike pairings, with their telepathic connection up front leading the Blancos into the ‘Galactico Generation’.

Such was their close friendship, Raul was one of the witnesses at Morientes’s wedding, while after Morientes was dropped for the 2002 European Super Cup following the arrival of Ronaldo, Raul wore his great friend’s No.9 jersey as a show of solidarity.

Ian Rush & Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool)

Given his legendary status at Liverpool, it is hard to believe that Kenny Dalglish went on a 10-month scoring drought during 1981, with the Scot contemplating a move into midfield as he struggled for form in the aftermath of his 30th birthday.

That all changed when Ian Rush arrived on the scene, however, as Dalglish became more of a withdrawn forward in behind Rush, and the pair ran riot. Liverpool won the title in each of their first three campaigns together, with the deadly duo scoring 59 goals between them as the European Cup was also secured in 1983-84.

Xavi & Andres Iniesta (Barcelona & Spain)

One of the greatest midfield partnerships of all time, Xavi and Iniesta changed the way the modern game is played with their precision passing for both club and country.

Together they won four Champions League titles among a whole host of other trophies at Barcelona, as well as helping lead Spain to two European Championships and their first World Cup, in 2010.

Wim Jonk & Dennis Bergkamp (Ajax & Netherlands)

It is clear that two players have a special connection when they are both bought by the same club at exactly the same time. That was the case for Wim Jonk and Dennis Bergkamp.

The pair impressed so much together at Ajex that Inter shelled out in excess of £7 million to bring them both to San Siro in 1994. They both struggled to adapt, however, though they did continue to combine well for the Dutch national team.

Mesut Ozil & Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

Perhaps the best foil Cristiano Ronaldo has ever had at Real Madrid, Mesut Ozil created goal after goal for the Portuguese forward during their three years together at the Santiago Bernabeu before the Germany international left for Arsenal in 2013.

Indeed, the Germany international rovided Ronaldo with 27 assists, with the pair proving integral to the Blancos winning La Liga in 2011-12 under Jose Mourinho.

Ruud Gullit & Marco van Basten (AC Milan & Netherlands)

Having impressed for the Dutch national team, Ruud Gullit and Marco Van Basten – along with compatriot Frank Rijkaard – were signed by AC Milan in 1987 and helped lead the Serie A outfit to an unprecedented period of success.

While at San Siro, yhe pair won three Scudetti and two European Cups, as well as leading the Oranje to the Euro 88 title, as they entered the 1990s as one of the best attacking duos in world football.

Frank Lampard & Didier Drogba (Chelsea)

The two attacking lynchpins upon which Chelsea have built their modern day success under Roman Abramovich, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard were almost unstoppable in tandem.

Lampard provided assists for the Ivorian on 24 occasions in the Premier League – a record for the competition – as well as providing plenty of goals himself from midfield.

Andriy Shevchenko & Sergei Rebrov (Dynamo Kiev & Ukraine)

Absolutely electrifying in leading Dynamo Kiev to the semi-finals of the Champions League in 1999, Andriy Shevchenko and Sergei Rebrov came from nowhere to become two of Europe’s hottest properties.

They both eventually moved to pastures new, though they were reunited as Ukraine reached their first ever World Cup in 2006.

Fabio Cannavaro & Alessandro Nesta (Italy)

Having played alongside one another since their days in Italy’s under-age sides, Fabio Cannavaro and Alessandro Nesta developed into one of the best central defensive partnerships in world football.

Together they helped take the Azzurri to the final of Euro 2000, though injury did rule Nesta out of the 2006 World Cup as Cannavaro captained his country to glory.

Alfredo Di Stefano & Ferenc Puskas (Real Madrid)

Despite both being in their 30s when they were brought together in the Spanish capital, Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas took no time in tearing up teams both at home and in Europe.

Together they won two European Cups, including the 1959-60 competition, in which the pair shared all seven goals as Eintract Frankfurt were seen off in a famous final in Scotland.

Marcelo Salas & Ivan Zamorano (Chile)

Such is the way of modern football, it is very rare nowadays to see two out-and-out No.9s partnered together up front. But, during the 1990s, Chile were able to fight above their weight due to the goalscoring exploits of Marcelo Salas and Ivan Zamorano.

Between them they scored 71 goals for their national team, though the relative lack of talent behind them stopped the duo from ever challenging for silverware.