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Greatest ever trios in football

From Mbappe, Edinson, Neymar (MEN), The Fab Three, BBC and MSN, here are the greatest ever partnerships in football, as compiled by Sandra Wekesa

1. Messi, Suarez, Neymar (MSN)

Neymar may have broken up Barcelona’s band of brothers last season when he fled to France after a shock Sh 26.2 billion (€222 million) move to Paris Saint-Germain, but the legend of the MSN partnership will live on.

With the brilliant Brazilian lining up in attack alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, the Blaugrana won the Champions League, Club World Cup and La Liga (twice), tearing defences to shreds with their incredible pace, skill and movement.

2. Benzema, Bale, Cristiano (BBC)

While MSN was forming at Camp Nou, Real Madrid saw their own attacking triumvirate become an institution within the Spanish capital.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who has since moved to Juventus, was the undisputed star of the show but the addition of Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema added more blistering pace, power and, of course, goals to a forward line that fired the Blancos to four Champions League triumphs in five years.

3. Bonucci, Barzagli, Chiellini (BBC2)

Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini formed a formidable defence in front of legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon as Juventus set about re-establishing themselves as a major European force.

Together, the BBC provided the foundation on which the Bianconeri’s resurgence was founded, helping the Old Lady win six successive Scudetti before Bonucci departed for AC Milan last year only to return this summer.

4. AC Milan’s Dutch gold

The arrival of Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit at San Siro in 1987 proved instrumental in AC Milan winning a first Serie A title in nine years, but the signing of Frank Rijkaard propelled the Rossoneri to glory on a world stage.

The Dutch trio became the stars of Arrigo Sacchi’s wonderful team, helping the Italian outfit win two European Cups and two Club World Cup crowns.

5. Man Utd’s Holy Trinity

There seemed to be something miraculous about Manchester United’s spectacular triumvirate of George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton even before they helped the club break ground as the first English team to win the European Cup in 1968.

Indeed, Law and Charlton had already won the Ballon d’Or for their exploits at United, before Best collected the award after their historic continental success.

6. Messi, Eto, Henry (MEH)

The deadly attacking line of Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto’o and Thierry Henry were anything but what their acronym suggested, as they propelled an era-defining team to a treble in Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge.

Still just 21 years old, Messi took over as the star of the side in 2008 as his clinical ability became clear, but his more experienced partners were not far behind him as three unpredictable and almost unstoppable forwards combined perfectly to put the Blaugrana back on top of European football.

7. The Beatles (minus Ringo)

The band broke up when Philippe Coutinho left Liverpool in January of this year, but the rest of the group are still going strong.

Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are still rocking as hard as ever, having fired Jurgen Klopp’s team to the final of last season’s Champions League, suggesting the Barcelona man’s role at Anfield was more akin to Ringo Starr’s than John Lennon’s.

8. Barca’s midfield maestro

As a midfield trio, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets were the heart of Pep Guardiola’s iconic Barcelona side.

Each star graduated from the club’s youth academy and they would win the Champions League three times and the Club World Cup twice before Xavi left in 2015. Now, following Iniesta’s departure, Busquets is the last man standing.

9. Brazil’s three Rs

The symbols of Brazil’s most recent golden age, the phenomenal attackers Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho made up the greatest attacking partnership that international football has ever had the luxury of witnessing.

They all played their part as the Selecao stormed to World Cup glory in Japan and South Korea in 2002 but the narrative was dominated by Ronaldo, who enjoyed the perfect redemption for the pain he had suffered in France in 1998 by netting twice in the final win over Germany.

10. Mbappe, Edinson, Neymar (MEN)

The most expensive attacking triumvirate in football history, Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Neymar (or ‘MEN’) immediately proved their worth to Paris Saint-Germain by netting 87 goals between them last season, winning four trophies in the process.

However, a disappointing last-16 defeat by Real Madrid in the Champions League means that the pressure remains on the trio, and world-record signing Neymar in particular, to deliver the top prize in European football.

Tuesday night’s shootout with Salah, Firmino and Mane at Anfield will tell us much about whether PSG is finally capable of continental glory.

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