February 14th is a day of celebration for all those with partners. A lot of people believe that two heads are better than one, so we take a look at some of the best sporting partnerships over the years.
Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole
In 1998, Andy Cole was reportedly upset with Manchester United for signing another striker in Dwight Yorke from Aston Villa, but what was to come next was unexpected to say the least.
Cole was used to starting alongside Teddy Sheringham but in October 1998, Sir Alex Ferguson was forced to start Yorke next to Cole due to attacking injuries. Cole and Yorke formed an almost telepathic bond against Southampton with the former assisting Yorke inside 11 minutes who played a key role in Cole’s goal later in the game. A partnership had officially begun at St Mary’s.
Later that season, the due conjured up a goal that summed up their partnership when linking up against Barcelona with a series of one-twos to score one of the goals of the season. They went on to score 53 times between them and played a crucial part in Manchester United’s treble-winning season.
The Bryan brothers
After winning a tennis doubles tournament at the age of six in an under-10s tournament, Mike and Bob Bryan were always destined to become one of the greatest partnerships of all time.
The Bryans seriously struggled in the opening years of their professional careers but in 2001 they made their breakthrough. The brothers finally arrived on the scene and they did it with style by winning four titles in a season, including Queens. In 2003, the Bryans won their first ever Grand Slam at Roland Garros and became the first ever brothers in doubles tennis to claim the number one world ranking.
Mike and Bob Bryan have gone on to conquer doubles tennis. The duo have won 16 Grand Slam titles, 39 Masters titles, one Davis Cup and Olympic Gold between them. The brothers announced that they would retire after the US Open concludes in 2020.
Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss
For years, England struggled to find an answer to their opening batting problems but that was soon to change when Alastair Cook came along.
Andrew Strauss was in seriously declining form during 2006 and even debated stepping down from international duty to focus on his game but that was before Cook walked out onto the pitch alongside him for the first time.
Strauss and Cook were praised massively for their batting heroics during the 2009 and 2010 Ashes series which saw Strauss become the first England captain to win the Ashes down under since 1987. England were named as the best test side in the ICC World rankings for the first time in 23 years.
After scoring 5,353 runs over 132 tests, Strauss announced his retirement in 2012, ending his career as one of the greatest England captains ever. Strauss rightfully handed over the captaincy to Cook who went on to become England’s highest ever run scorer.
Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez
In an era where speed and agility were on the rise, Barcelona decided to dictate football their own way and at the centre of this was Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez.
The pair were graduates from Barcelona’s infamous La Masia academy and first played together in 2002 and from then on, football changed. Both were regarded as the kings of the midfield due to their ability to change a game in the blink of an eye. It could be a last-ditch tackle, or it could be a five-yard pass, either way it would have an effect on the game. Xavi and Iniesta dominated Barcelona’s midfield for years to come but when Pep Guardiola took over the reins in 2008, the pair somehow managed to take their game to a whole new level. Everything they touched turned to gold, they couldn’t put a foot wrong and this led to years of dominance throughout Europe.
In 2015, Xavi left the club 24 years after joining the academy. Iniesta and Xavi won thirty-two titles together at Barcelona whilst also claiming a World Cup and two European Championships with Spain. Their midfield partnership will go down as one of the greatest in football history.