Could you imagine asking a professional footballer to play two football matches in one day?! Some turn their nose up at having to play two games in a week let alone twice in one day.
However, Mark Hughes did exactly that in November 1987 as he represented both Bayern Munich and Wales in one afternoon and evening. It was truly impressive as he showed that he had the same stamina a horse would have when racing in a big event such as the Grand National.
The match for Wales involved a vital European Championship qualifier against Czechoslovakia in which they needed to win to have any chance of heading to the 1988 European Championship finals. Hughes had his work cut out for him in the game as he had come up against a Czech side managed by Josef Masopust and which featured the likes of Ivo Knoflicek, Tomas Skuhravy and future West Ham United goalkeeper Ludek Miklosko.
However, there were no designated international breaks at that point in football history, as national team managers had to wait and see if they could have players available for selection.
Indeed, Hughes managed to make himself available for both club and country on that one day, though. Having joined Bayern Munich on loan from Barcelona after a torrid time in Spain, the then-24-year-old attacker had informed Uli Hoeness that he was due to play for his country.
A problem could have arisen as Bayern Munich had their own important cup game that evening, however the former World Cup winner hatched a plan that would suit everyone. It involved a private jet flight across Europe, a dash in a Lada car and a German Cup second-round replay against Borussia Monchengladbach following the game against Czechoslovakia in Prague.
“He knew I was playing for Wales on the Wednesday night, the same night as this big cup game,” Hughes said.
“In passing he said ‘what time is the game?’ And I said, ‘I think it’s about half past three, four o’clock’.
“From that moment on he was making phone calls and came back into the room and said, ‘I think you may be able to play for us the same night’.
“I thought he was just kidding but obviously he wasn’t, so he organised everything.”
Hughes would then go on to play the full 90 minutes in Prague, which turned out to be a losing effort and saw Wales’ hopes of qualifying shatter into pieces.
However, the forward had no time to reflect on it as he was taken straight to a private jet – still in his full kit – that would fly him to Germany.
“There was a Lada to whisk us off after the match,” Hughes added. “I had to get changed into my kit on the plane.”
Having missed the entire first-half because the plane had flown over the stadium and could not land, Hughes got on to the Olympiastadion pitch as a second-half substitute with Bayern Munich 1-0 down.
“It seemed to buck up the team and bucked up the crowd and it was good for me personally to warm myself to the crowd,” said Hughes, who had only made his Bayern debut the previous Saturday.
“It was a masterstroke from Mr Hoeness.”
Bayern would eventually come back to beat Borussia Monchengladbach 3-2 in extra time to advance in the competition.