Leeds United's top 30 players of all time - Number 9

Elland Road pitchside

At 9 in the countdown is a defender who may not boast the trophy haul of some of the other names on this list, but is still the Chief in Yorkshire.

When Lucas Radebe arrived at Leeds United from South Africa alongside countryman Phil Masigna in 1994, few would have expected that he would go on to become one of the greatest and most loved players the club had ever had - especially as on his debut the name on the back of his shirt was misspelt. 

Signed from the Kaizer Chiefs, his first couple of seasons at Elland Road would be difficult as first-team opportunities were limited under Howard Wilkinson.

However, he would quickly earn cult-hero status among United fans for his willingness to play anywhere he was needed. That attitude even saw him used in goal on a couple of occasions, including at Old Trafford against Manchester United. And while he was unable to prevent defeat on that occasion, his performance received a huge amount of praise.

Under George Graham - who was excellent at understanding the ingredients needed to make a solid defensive line - Radebe was made the focal point that he built the back four around. And in 1998, the South Africa international was given the captaincy at Elland Road just months after he had led his country to their first World Cup. 

Under Radebe's leadership, Leeds enjoyed their strongest finishes in the top flight since they won the title in 1992. In a three year spell, David O'Leary's men finished fourth twice and third on one occasion, which provided them with the opportunity to make their mark on the European stage.

UEFA Cup and Champions League semi-finals followed during the years when United appeared to be establishing themselves as Premier League contenders. And given the amount of youth in the side at that time, it is fair to say that without Radebe guiding them, United wouldn't have been anywhere near as successful as they were. 

Sadly for the defender, injuries became a major factor in the latter stages of his career and he missed the entirety of the 2001-02 campaign. And by the time he returned, he was unable to prevent the club's decline that would result in their relegation to the Championship.

Radebe's role at Leeds was huge to the club's success around the Millennium. The Chief's incredible attitude and courage makes him one of the greatest players the club has ever had - arguably, the best never to play under Don Revie - and one of the greatest ambassadors the sport has ever known. 

Countdown so far: Number 30, Number 29, Number 28, Number 27, Number 26, Number 25, Number 24, Number 23, Number 22, Number 21, Number 20, Number 19, Number 18, Number 17, Number 16, Number 15, Number 14, Number 13, Number 12, Number 11, Number 10

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