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Kyle Lafferty, Andrea Belotti and seven more forgotten strike partnerships

One day, when playing a lone attacker has fully taken over football, we’ll look back on strike partnerships with misty-eyed nostalgia.

From Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke, to Andriy Shevchenko and Oliver Bierhoff, via Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp, strike partnerships used to be a thing of beauty.

But every so often football throws up an odd partnership. Not necessarily good. Not necessarily bad. Just quirky.

Andy-Cole

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Kyle Lafferty & Paulo Dybala (Palermo)

These days Lafferty struggles to get a game for Norwich City while Dybala is a main cog in Italian football’s most dominant force for decades at Juventus.

But in 2013 the pair linked up in Italian football’s second tier to try and fire Palermo back to Serie A.

Their quest was successful, with Lafferty, who finished the season with 11 goals, outscoring Dybala, who finished the season with five league goals.

Paulo-Dybala

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Kyle Lafferty & Andrea Belotti (Palermo)

Can you tell we’re big fans of Lafferty’s season-long escapade in Sicily?

As well as linking up with Dybala, Lafferty also partnered Belotti, outscoring him by a single goal.

Is it a coincidence that two of football’s best young strikers both played with Lafferty for a season before going on to bigger things? We think not.

Kyle-Lafferty2

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Andrea-Belotti

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Ruud van Nistelrooy & Salomon Rondon (Malaga)

Malaga’s 2011/12 squad was a hodgepodge assembly of home-grown Spaniards and expensive foreign signings.

Two of these imports were Rondon and Van Nistelrooy, who scored 15 league goals between them before the Dutchman retired at the end of the season.

We’re sure Rondon’s now passing on Van Nistelrooy’s tips to Hal Robson-Kanu, in between the Welshman telling him about how he once Cruyff-turned three Belgians into retirement.

Ruud-Van-Nistelrooy

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Salomon-Rondon

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Mario Jardel & Kevin Davies (Bolton)

What happens when a former European Golden Boot winner links up with a classic target man from Sheffield?

Not a lot, in the case of Jardel and Davies’ partnership for Bolton during the 2003/04 season, under the guidance of Sam Allardyce.

Not even the creativity of Jay-Jay Okocha and Youri Djorkaeff could help Jardel score a league goal, while Davies fell one shy of hitting double figures.

Mario-Jardel

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Kevin-Davies

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Diego Costa & Manucho (Valladolid)

It’s easy to understand where Costa’s anger comes from when you see the amount of clubs he bounced around before eventually settling at Atletico Madrid.

Former Man United striker Manucho was similarly nomadic before settling at Rayo Vallecano, incidentally one of Costa’s ten former clubs.

Costa scored eight goals, while Manucho only scored twice, as Valladolid were relegated out of La Liga and into the second division.

Diego-Costa

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Robbie Keane & Christian Vieri (Inter Milan)

It’s easy to forget Keane’s 14-game spell with Inter at the start of the Noughties under Marcello Lippi.

But the Irishman was part of one of the most talented frontlines ever assembled in Italy, alongside Christian Vieri, Alvaro Recoba and Hakan Sukur.

Unfortunately Keane never got to share the pitch with Ronaldo, who spent the entire campaign on the sidelines due to injury.

Robbie-Keane

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Vincenzo Montella & Collins John (Fulham)

Fulham fans had only just got over the shock of finding out that Collins John wasn’t John Collins when a Serie A winner swaggered into the club on loan.

Montella signed on a six-month loan deal to play for Chris Coleman’s side, although opportunities were few and far between.

Both John and Montella played second fiddle to Brian McBride, who finished the season as Fulham’s top goalscorer with nine goals, with The Cottagers narrowly avoiding relegation.

Vincenzo-Montella

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Collins-John

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Jay Bothroyd & Fabrizio Ravanelli (Perugia)

Ravenelli was finishing a career that had seen him win two Serie A titles, two Copa Italias, the Champions League and the UEFA Cup.

Bothroyd was starting a career that had seen him leave England in search of something fresh.

But neither could stop Perugia, who boasted Muammar Gaddafi’s son in their ranks, from being relegated and, two years later, the club folded.

Jay-Bothroyd

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