One of the best things about football is the fact that players can make their mark regardless of the country that they were originally from.
That is evident by the number of stars that have played in the best domestic leagues around Europe while representing Baltic countries.
The Baltic countries include Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia, and some of the stars from these countries have gone on to become cult heroes at respected sides around Europe.
Some of the biggest stars to have made their mark on the European game can be found below. If you know how to bet on soccer for a long time, you probably know some of these names. We highlight one star per country: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Take a look.
Mart Poom spent the best years of his career in the Premier League across stints with Derby County, Sunderland and Arsenal. The goalkeeper first emerged in England with Portsmouth, before signing for Derby County in 1997. Poom’s debut for the Rams was a memorable one, as they claimed a famous 3-2 win at Old Trafford against Manchester United.
He soon became a fan favorite at the club, and chants of ‘Poooom’ were synonymous in the Derby end as the goalkeeper took his goal kicks.
Poom was awarded the club’s player of the season award in 1999-2000, before leaving in 2002 after Derby’s relegation to the First Division.
In a strange turn of events, Poom scored for Sunderland against his former side in a fixture at Pride Park, with the goal celebrated by both sets of fans. He was signed by Arsenal in 2005 and was third-choice keeper for two seasons, before moving to Watford.
Marians Pahars remains a cult hero at Southampton. The striker enjoyed prolific stints with Skonto-Metals and Skonto before joining the Premier League side in 1999. The Saints signed him after impressing for the reserve team while on trial, scoring a perfect hat-trick against Oxford United.
He made his Premier League debut against Coventry City, as he became the first Latvian to play in the English top-flight. His first goal came on his home debut, as he scored the equaliser against Blackburn Rovers.
His status as a hero among the fans came on the final day of the season, as he scored twice in a 2-0 win against Everton to confirm their safety.
After an excellent stay with the club, he was given a hero’s farewell on the final day of the 2005-06 season with fans showing their appreciation at St Mary’s. He ended his stay with the Saints having scored 45 goals in 156 games, with his best season coming in the 2001-02 campaign, as he scored 16 goals in 39 games.
There are few bigger footballing heroes in Lithuania than Edgaras Jankauskas, who currently is the manager of the country’s national team. The powerful striker made a name for himself in Europe for being able to bully opposing defenders.
He spent his career moving around some of the biggest teams in Europe, which included stints in Spain with Real Sociedad and France with Nice. However, his most successful stay in football came between 2002 and 2005 with Portuguese giants FC Porto.
Jose Mourinho brought in the striker, and while he was often coming from the bench, he played a big part in one of the biggest stories in European football history.
He was part of the famous Porto team that won the Champions League in 2003-04, and also picked up a UEFA Cup winners medal in the previous season. Jankauskas also is part of a restrict group of players who have played for the two most successful Portuguese clubs, Benfica and Porto.
During his career, Jankauskas won a wide selection of titles, including the Primeira Liga on two occasions, the Scottish Cup and Baltic Cup. He was named Lithuanian Player of the Year on five occasions and is now the man leading his home nation into the next generation as manager.