Cult icon Juan Pablo Angel names three best players he played with at Aston Villa, including Paul Merson

Juan Pablo Angel

Gareth Barry, Olof Mellberg and Paul Merson made the list.

There is little doubting the fact that Juan Pablo Angel is a cult icon at Aston Villa. The Colombian was not always the most prolific but on his day he was one of the most lethal finishers in the Premier League.

Nowadays Angel is retired. He left Villa in 2007 to join New York Red Bulls in what proved a very successful stint in American soccer. He finished his career last year with Atletico Nacional in his Colombian homeland.

He turns 40 this week and to celebrate the Aston Villa website have been speaking to their former striker.

They asked him about all manner of things but one question and answer that truly stood out was when Angel was asked who the best player was he played with at Villa. He got not choose one, but did pick three interesting and distinctly different players.

He told the official Aston Villa website:

"I can't single out one player.

"There were a lot of good players - Gareth Barry, Olof Mellberg and Paul Merson.

"Even though Merse was towards the end of his career you could still see his quality."

Of course Barry was a fantastic player during his era at Villa, before leaving for Manchester City in acrimonious fashion. Mellberg was a tower of consistency at the heart of Villa's defence and a worthy member of this list.

But Merson's presence on the list would seem to be the more surprising inclusion. He was coming toward the end of his career when at Villa Park and, he was not in the same state of fitness he was previously at the likes of Arsenal.

His overall talent however must have shone through at Villa as Angel was clearly a fan of the former England international.

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