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The curious case of Edgar Davids

Paolo Di Canio's fascist beliefs, Carlos Tevez driving while banned and David Beckham playing 70 minutes for Paris Saint-Germain in a Champions League classic against Barcelona - just three of the highlights of an intriguing season so far.

But flying somewhere under the radar is the curious story of Edgar Davids' reign as player manager at League Two Barnet.

Suriname-born Davids, who turned 40 last month, was one of the best players of his generation. He starred in midfield for Ajax, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus and Tottenham - and even had a spell on loan at Barcelona.

He won the Champions League with Ajax in 1995 and won Serie A three times with Juventus.

He was a key player in the Dutch national side for the best part of a decade, between 1994 and 2005, and was named in the FIFA 100, a list of the greatest living players.

Former glories

So life as player manager of a struggling League Two side is a far cry from his former glories.

He was a player with Crystal Palace for three months towards the end of 2010, before joining Barnet as player manager. He was a busy man, also managing Sunday amateur league side Brixton United.

He had to wait until February of this year to notch his first goal for Barnet, in a 2-0 win against Southend, then in March, he became a hero for Barnet fans after rescuing 36 travelling supporters who were stranded on the hard shoulder of the motorway.

Davids' first management role has been a struggle and he is facing a battle to keep the Bees in League Two.

Barnet have survived on the last day in each of the last three seasons, although they are unbeaten in four games and three points above the relegation zone, following their 1-0 win at AFC Wimbledon on Easter Monday.

'Progress'

"I am all about progress," he said. "In the last couple of games we didn't play that well, and we need to work on certain aspects.

"We just want to get the results in. We don't want it to be last minute."

Davids, renowned as one of the world's best defensive midfielders at his peak, has praised his side's defence, whose clan sheet against Wimbledon was their fourth in a row.

"Everything was ugly; the pitch, the game and the goal," he added. "But sometimes you have to take things as they come. The pitch was horrible and Wimbledon gave us a good fight. They were solid and have been for a couple of games.

"I am delighted with the clean sheets. I hope the offense can repay them in the next match."


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