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Benni McCarthy: How Football's Prodigal Son Earned His Stripes

From the 18 area to technical mastery, we map out the international star's impressive career.

14/06/2017 10:01 SAST | Updated 28/09/2017 08:25 SAST

Former Bafana Bafana player Benni McCarthy was on Tuesday announced as the Citizens' new coach by club boss John Comitis. He replaced Eric Tinkler, who moved to SuperSport United earlier in June.

McCarthy has been revered around the world, particularly in South Africa and the United Kingdom, where he spent most of his career. Here's a timeline of his career from when he started out in 1995.

Seven Stars & Ajax Cape Town, South Africa (1995-1997)

Born Benedict Saul McCarthy, with a career spanning over 15 years, McCarthy began his football career at the tender age of 18 with Seven Stars, which would later merge with Cape Town Spurs to form Ajax Cape Town.

He scored 38 goals from 1995' to 1997 while playing in South Africa.

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Ajax Amsterdam, Netherlands (1997-1999)

His 38 goals in two seasons earned him his big break in Europe when he made his mark for Ajax Amsterdam. After scoring 20 goals for Amsterdam he started a new part of his career in Spain.

Honours: Eredivisie (1998)

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Celta Vigo, Spain (1999-2003)

By McCarthy's standards, his stint at Celta Vigo was not that great, only managing 10 goals over 70 appearances. However, his fortunes and football career would reach new heights when he was signed by FC Porto.

Honours: UEFA Intertoto Cup 2000

FC Porto, Portugal (2004-2006)

McCarthy was at the peak of his footballing career when he played for FC Porto from 2002 to 2006, scoring 46 goals. Amongst his top achievements were putting away two goals in the semi-final against Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2004.

His highest honour in Europe was and still is, being the only South African player to win the UEFA Champions League.

Honours: Portuguese Liga: 2003–04, 2005–06, Portuguese Cup 2005, UEFA Champions League 2004, Intercontinental Cup 2004

Benni McCarthy

Blackburn Rovers, England (2006-2010)

McCarthy finally fulfilled his dream of playing in the Premier League as he represented Blackburn Rovers and was their main man in front of goal with his prolific goalscoring rate. He also achieved another milestone by becoming runner up in the 2007 Premier League goal, scoring charts with 18 league goals.

Honours: Runner up in 2007 Top scorers, only South African to do so

Benni McCarthy / Twitter

Bafana Bafana (2008)

In 2008, he eclipsed Shaun Bartlett's record by becoming South Africa's top scorer on the international stage. He still holds this record and is arguably the most prolific striker South Africa has ever produced.

Honours: Banana Bafana's all-time top-scorer with 32 goals.

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Oh... who could forget when he still had a 'BIG appetite" for goals, or burgers

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West Ham United, England (2010-2011)

With age and match fitness proving a problem, McCarthy had a season to forget for West Ham when he failed to score a goal all season. His exit was prompted by his manager when he claimed McCarthy was 'too fat' to play.

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Orlando Pirates, South Africa (2011-2013)

Benni made a surprising homecoming when he joined Orlando Pirates after retiring from international and European play. In his final season, he managed to win the ABSA Premiership league title and a historic treble in 2012.

Honours: ABSA Premiership 2012, MTN8 and Telkom Knockout

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Cape Town City, Head Coach (2017)

After obtaining his coaching license Benni shocked the whole football fraternity when he signed as head coach of Cape Town City FC with no coaching experience. We are to see if his playing career will eclipse his managerial career.

Benni / Twitter

And finally...