Rangers take on Villarreal in Europe again on Thursday.
Rangers head back to face Villarreal in Europe for the first time since 2006, when they were knocked out of the Champions League by the Spaniards at El Madrigal.
After a 2-2 draw at Ibrox in the first leg, Rangers were dumped out on away goals with a 1-1 draw in Spain, and here’s what the players in the Rangers’ side that night are up to now as Steven Gerrard prepares the current Rangers side for the same trip…
Ronald Waterreus: The Dutch goalkeeper was given the nod over Stefan Klos against Villarreal, and made just 24 appearances in football after his year with Rangers. The 48-year-old is still involved in football, but in a fascinating way as he has started selling his own range of goalkeeping gloves rather than turning to coaching.
Alan Hutton: One of the few players from the team still playing, 33-year-old Hutton is turning out for Aston Villa in the Championship, playing a key role for Steve Bruce’s side, who missed out on promotion back to the Premier League last season.
Julien Rodriguez: Now 40, French defender Rodriguez arrived at Rangers from Monaco after a Champions League final appearance, and played 34 games for the club before heading back to France with Marseille in 2007. With only 42 games in five years, Rodriguez retired in 2012, and hasn’t returned to football since.
Sotirios Kyrgiakos: Maybe better known for his spell with Liverpool, Kygiakos is now 39 and retired four years ago with Sydney Olympic in Australia. His two-year stint with Liverpool may have been the highlight, but winning the 2005 Scottish Premiership with Rangers was his final honour – and he hasn’t been around the game since quitting four years ago.
Ian Murray: Seen as an important signing from Hibernian in 2005, Murray lasted just two years with Rangers before heading to England with Norwich City. Injuries hampered the left back for many years, and after impressing as manager of Dumbarton, Murray struggled in charge of St Mirren and is now assistant manager of Asker in Norway’s second division, working under fellow Scot Kevin Nicol.
Chris Burke: Another player still featuring today, winger Burke was a product of the Rangers academy and left in 2009 with a league title and 131 appearances to his name. Spells with Cardiff City, Birmingham City, Nottingham Forest, Rotherham United and Ross County followed, and the 34-year-old now plays for Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premiership.
Barry Ferguson: Rangers’ captain at the time, Ferguson was in his second spell with the club, and moved on to Birmingham City, Blackpool, Fleetwood Town and Clyde to end his career. After briefly serving as Blackpool’s caretaker manager in 2014, Ferguson impressed in charge of Clyde and was even tipped to be Rangers manager in 2017, or at least on the coaching staff, but he has primarily served as a pundit since leaving Clyde over a year ago.
Brahim Hemdani: A key signing from Marseille in 2005, Algerian international Hemdani made more than 100 appearances for Rangers but was frozen out completely in the 2008-09 season, and retired that summer after leaving Ibrox. Despite being just 31, Hemdani decided to hang up his boots and hasn’t made the move back into football since.
Hamed Namouchi: Signed from Cannes as a youngster, Tunisian midfielder Namouchi showed some promise under McLeish, but was sent packing by Paul Le Guen in 2006. After spells with Lorient, Freiburg, Grenoble, Etoile du Sahel and Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Namouchi retired in 2014 at the age of just 30, but remains a big Rangers fan and still posts about the club on Twitter to this day.
Thomas Buffel: Somehow, Belgian playmaker Buffel is still playing at the age of 37, and signed for Zulte Waregem over the summer. With 76 appearances over four seasons and injury problems at Rangers, few could have seen him having such a long career when he left Ibrox for Cercle Brugge in 2008, but he went on to become a Genk hero, racking up nearly 400 appearances in 10 years before his departure this summer.
Peter Lovenkrands: 38-year-old Lovenkrands was Rangers’ goalscorer on the night, but left for Schalke just months later. Spells with Newcastle United and Birmingham City followed, but the Ibrox favourite is now back at Rangers as a youth coach after a stint as a co-commentator for Rangers TV.
Nacho Novo: A long-term Ibrox favourite, Spaniard Novo left Rangers at 31 in 2010, having hit 73 goals in 255 games, and has had an eventful career and life since. Now 39, Novo has since turned out for Sporting Gijon, Legia Warsaw, Huesca, Morton, Carlisle United, Carolina RailHawks and Glentoran in a nomadic eight-year stint, whilst he even suffered a heart attack whilst playing for a Rangers legends team earlier this year.
Kris Boyd: Another one of the few players to still be playing now, striker Boyd is not only turning out for Kilmarnock, but hit 23 goals last season. Boyd, 35, was a sensation in the 2005-06 season with 20 goals in just 21 games, and has had two spells with the Gers, but shows no signs of slowing down despite his advancing years.