Forget the Beatles, here's the original fab four (from l-r.): Sokratis, Andrea Pirlo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kevin-Prince Boateng with AC Milan in 2010. - © © imago / Buzzi
Forget the Beatles, here's the original fab four (from l-r.): Sokratis, Andrea Pirlo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kevin-Prince Boateng with AC Milan in 2010. - © © imago / Buzzi

Ronaldo and Zieler? Sokratis and Ibrahimovic? The Bundesliga and world stars you didn't know had played together

The Bundesliga is a breeding ground for talent, with many superstars gaining their stripes in Germany before flourishing elsewhere on the world's stage. Many others were addendums elsewhere, but owned their own chapters once arriving in the Bundesliga – and there are some star turns that you may not even remember once played together. has compiled a list of Bundesliga and world stars who once strutted their stuff in the same colours…

Ron-Robert Zieler and Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United

Signed on with big hopes and expectations, ultimately he went on to play for the English Premier League champions. Yes, we are talking about Stuttgart's Ron-Robert Zieler, who was on the Manchester United books at the same time as a certain Cristiano Ronaldo – that Portuguese player who has been voted the world's best footballer five times? He honed his skills in training against Zieler, who also turned out for Leicester City in the Premier League, between spells at Hannover and VfB.

James Rodriguez and Marcel Tisserand, Monaco

Here's an interesting nugget that you won't have known: when on the field on the same side, Bayern Munich's James Rodriguez and Wolfsburg's Marcel Tisserand have never lost a game. Lining up together on five occasions for Monaco during the 2013/14 season, as Les Monegasques finished second to Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1, James and Tisserand were on the winning side four times and drew once. Following that summer's World Cup, golden boy Rodriguez joined Real Madrid and now Bayern; Tisserand eventually left the south of France permanently for Ingolstadt and now the Wolves. They're more likely to face each other these days, but memories of that impressive season on the French Riviera will no doubt remain.

Watch: Check out all of James' goals and assists since joining Bayern!

Abdou Diallo and Kylian Mbappe, Monaco

As strange as it may appear for a Mainz defender and the PSG superstar to be acquainted, the pair are in fact good friends.  Both came through the Monaco youth system and although Diallo is a couple of years older they share a close bond: "Kylian didn’t just play with me but was also with my younger brother in the Monaco academy," he told last year. Both went on to appear for the Monaco first team, albeit not very frequently: Diallo made just ten outings before joining Mainz, via a loan spell in the Netherlands with Zulte Waregem, while Mbappe's electric pace and killer instinct in front of goal earned him a high-profile loan move to the French capital.

- © imago / Team 2

Nils Petersen and Kevin De Bruyne, Werder Bremen

Once a Premier League outcast, Kevin De Bruyne discovered in the Bundesliga – and Werder Bremen – the ideal surroundings to find his footballing feet. With 10 goals in 34 games, the Belgian forged a formidable partnership with the Bundesliga's all-time greatest super-sub Nils Petersen, who struck one goal more for the Green-Whites in the 2012/13 campaign. A northern lad at heart, De Bruyne felt at home in northern Germany and went on to be named the Bundesliga's Player of the Year in the following season at Wolfsburg before doing quite well at Manchester City in northern England. On the contrary, Petersen found more southern comfort in Freiburg, having started to shine 'down south' at Bayern Munich.

- © imago / SportImage

Josuha Guilavogui, Diego Costa and David Villa, Atletico Madrid

Guilavogui's imperious displays for boyhood club St. Etienne caught the attention of Atletico Madrid in September 2013 and the powerful midfielder signed a five-year deal in the Spanish capital. First-team outings were hard to come by, but he still made seven competitive outings alongside the likes of Diego Costa and David Villa before eventually making the switch to Wolfsburg in August 2014.

- © imago / Buzzi
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