football

Who are the World’s Tallest Footballers?

January 28, 2018

- Grant Whittington

While it’s fair to say that tall footballers bring an obvious, competitive advantage to the field of play, these players have often emerged as figures of fun among supports.

Think of former Stockport County forward Kevin Francis, for example, or the ex-Birmingham City striker Nikola Zigic. Both of these forwards were just over 2 metres tall and boasted relatively impressive goal scoring records, and yet were often mocked for their perceived lack of balance and coordination.

These are largely unfair observations, and there’s no doubt that exceptionally tall players can also boast superb technique and achieve great things in the game. So, here’s our list of the world’s tallest players and what they have achieved in the game:

  1. Kristof Van Hout, Westerlo

We start with the world’s tallest player, with goalkeeper Kristof Van Hout towering over the opposition at 2.08 metres (6 feet 10 inches) tall.

While he has spent the vast majority of his career as a second-choice stopper, he has remained in demand throughout his career and plied his trade in both Europe and Asia. He joined Dutch club Willem II as a 16-year old in 2004, but failed to make a senior appearance before signing for Belgian side Kortrijk five years later.

He stayed in Belgium with Standard Liege and Genk, making a total of 62 appearances in seven years during this time.

Having spent a year in the Indian Super League with the Delhi Dynamos in 2015, he has since returned to Belgian where he currently plays for Westerlo in the Pro League.

  1. Paul Millar, Deveronvale

Scottish striker Paul Millar is the world’s tallest outfield player, measuring at a little less than 2.08 metres (6 feet 10 inches) tall. A lean and agile forward, Millar is most notably remembered for his time at Elgin City F.C., where he scored 15 goals in 65 appearances and became the only player to have scored in the League Two play-offs for the club.

He moved to lower league outfit Formartine United after rupturing his interior cruciate ligament in April 2013, before signing for the Highland Football League side Deveronvale in the pre-season of 2015.

Due to his career achievements, Millar was recently inducted to the Kirckaldy YM Hall of Fame at an annual award ceremony, providing genuine recognition for a man who was a cult favourite wherever he played.

  1. Vanja Ivesa

Currently measuring 2.05 metres (6 feet 9 inches) tall, the 40-year old Vanja Ivesa is the world’s tallest footballer and he currently plays for the Croatian First Division outfit Istra 1961.

This Croatian national has enjoyed a 20-year career as a top-flight goalkeeper, making an impressive 442 appearances for a total of 11 clubs. As well as Croatia, his career has also taken in Turkey (where he represented both Eskişehirspor and Elazığspor) and Australia (during a brief stint with Sydney United in the 2002/03 season.

Ivesa has almost always played as a first-choice keeper, while the fact that he remains in high demand well into his fortieth year is a testament to his pedigree, ability and hard-earned experience.

  1. Yang Changpeng, Henan Jianye

If a player is dubbed as the ‘Chinese Peter Crouch’ by the British media, we can surmise two things. Firstly, he is likely to operate as a centre forward. Secondly, we’d bet our bottom dollar that he is also exceptionally tall and capable of giving opposition defenders serious neck-ache.

In fact, Changpeng is taller than Crouch, standing at 2.05 metres (6 feet and 8 inches) tall and verified as the world’s fourth tallest footballer.  He is known to the British media having left his home in Wuhan at the tender age of 15 and travelled to England for a one-month trial with Premier League outfit Bolton Wanderers in 2006. Even then, the Chinese striker was 2 metres tall, and he became a well-known prospect with local and national papers in the UK.

Having failed to sign a contract with Bolton or any other England club, he returned home where he signed professionally for Wuhan Guanggu in 2008. He has since represented six other Chinese league clubs, but a disappointing scoring record of 12 goals in 82 career appearances means that he has so far failed to fulfil the promise he showed as a youngster.

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