"I don't know where home is. Yeah ya do. It's green an' it's got a goal post at each end."
- Goal! The Dream Begins (2005)
- Goal! The Dream Begins (2005)
This dialog from the movie Goal, in my opinion, epitomizes and summarizes the passion of all the famous and the best football players. They just know what is home, be it for a football club or their country. All they know is that they have to 'Just Do It'.
That is precisely the reason why soccer fans the world over go gaga over them, idolized because of their sheer hard work and talent. Want to meet some of them with the best feet and best trysts with publicity? Well, then here is the kick off!
Following is a list with brief information on some of the most popular soccer players in the world. It is nearly impossible to mention all famous players, therefore, the list is according to the author's choice.
Sir Robert CharltonOften known as Bobby Charlton, this former English player is considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time. After playing nearly all of his club football matches for Manchester United, Sir Charlton was voted as the fourth greatest player Manchester United has ever had. Before announcing retirement in 1970, he made significant contribution to Manchester United's win in the Football League of 1965 and also winning the World Cup medal for England in 1966.
David BeckhamThis poster boy for Manchester United had always dreamed of playing at the magnificent Old Trafford and he did and how! He has been pivotal in Manchester United's monumental success with his superb football skills in the late 90's. He is most loved face of the international media and of football. David Beckham took the number 7 t-shirt from Eric Cantona and wow! Now after all this, no wonder every football lover wants to 'Bend it Like Beckham'!
Steven GerrardSteven Gerrard, another gem of English football is the captain of the English Club Liverpool. Playing as a midfielder, he is one of the best England has got. In 1998, he made his professional debut for Liverpool and since then the captain cool has never looked back. He is a master of penalties and free kicks and has been the man for Liverpool in times of crisis. He guided the team to a stunning win in the UEFA Champions League of 2004-2005.
Wayne RooneyOne of the spearheads of Manchester United attack is Wayne Rooney. He has made his mark on the football scene since around 2002. He has great footwork and never leaves a chance to attack. He was the youngest in the English squad ever in the year 2003. He is undoubtedly one of England's most expensive players.
Alessandro Del PieroGood looks, a physique tailor-made for playing football and footballing sense is what characterizes this former captain and second striker from Italy, Alessandro Del Piero. He is Italy's one of the leading goal scorers and made his tournament debut in Euro '96. As far as club is concerned, he was the top-notch guy for Juventus.
Francesco TottiOne look at this Italian stallion strike and attack as a midfielder in action and you would be in awe. Francesco Totti is one of the best and most stylish Italian players, though is best known for his job as a second striker.
Roberto BaggioAmongst the all time greats of Italian football is Roberto Baggio. The second striker graced many Italian clubs and the national team and lead Italy to dizzying heights of success. In 1993, he won both, Ballon d'Or and Fifa World Player of the Year.
Zinedine ZidaneThe man with the unforgettable head butt, Zinedine Zidane aka Zizou is still the most sought after player in the world of football. Excellent athlete and a star for the French team, he has helped France get the glory in 1998 (World Cup) and 2000 (European Championship). Interestingly, the country with which he carved his career as midfielder, brought curtains on his flourishing football career and that is Italy.
Thierry HenryBe it France or the English Club Arsenal or la Espana Barcelona, fiery Thierry Henry is not one to be held back. Henry plays a crucial role when it comes to France's attack. He plays as a forward for France and has been a golden man for Arsene Wenger. Along with Zidane, Henry made France team a force to reckon with.
Cristiano RonaldoOne of the youngest and exciting heart-throb of football is Cristiano Ronaldo, from Portugal. He is known for his excellent footwork, especially his soccer dribbling moves. Wow! You could just go on looking at his ball play! Even the football connoisseurs are enchanted when he shows his skills. This winger and a forward became one of the world's richest football players when he was transferred from Manchester United to Spanish Giant Real Madrid for £80 million.
Luis FigoLate 90s and early 2000s was the peak period for this serious looking champion of Portugal and has appeared in Euro 1996, 2000 and 2004, as well as the FIFA World Cup's in 2002 and 2006. He represented FC Barcelona from 1995 to 2000 before transferring to Real Madrid in 2000. The midfielder rapidly catapulted Real Madrid to glory in early 2000. He was a former captain of Portuguese national team and has played under Luiz Felipe Scolari and Carlos Queiroz as managers.
Johan CruyffHe is a former Dutch football player and has also played for FC Barcelona. The most amusing fact associated with Cruyff is that while representing the Netherlands internationally, the Dutch team never lost the match in which Cruyff scored! It was because of him that the Netherlands won the runners-up medal in the 1974 World Cup.
Peter SchmeichelWorld famous goal keeper, Peter Schmeichel has millions of admirers which led him to being voted as the "World's Best Goalkeeper" in consecutive years of '92 and '93. He also made significant contribution to the football club Manchester United and captained the team in the 1999 UEFA Champions League.
RaulWho wouldn't love to watch a player like Raul, playing as a forward, with exceptional skills and equally good looks which make you watch the game even if the team is losing! This Spanish footballer, who has also represented Real Madrid for 15 years, holds a record of never receiving a red card in his entire professional football career so far! (as of April 2012)
Fernando TorresNow he is one player who needs no introduction! Nicknamed El Nino, this Spanish footballer began his club football career with Atlético Madrid in 2001 and made his debut for Spain in 2003. He is well-known for his composure on the field and is regarded as one of the best strikers. Currently playing for Chelsea, after a transfer from Liverpool in 2011, Torres assures a bright future and a place amongst the elites.
Michael BallackBallack is one of the few lucky players to have been hand-picked by Pele in the list of FIFA's 100 greatest living players. With incredible ball skills and ability to score, Ballack was awarded German Footballer of the Year thrice, in the years 2002, 2003 and 2005.
PeléAnother Brazilian hero, who perhaps paved the way for Ronaldo, Kaka and the likes, is Pelé or Edison Arantes do Nascimento. He played as a forward for Brazil and was a top scorer for Brazilian national football team.
RonaldinhoBesides playing for his country, Ronaldo de Assis Moreira presently plays for the Brazilian club Atlético Mineiro. With around 150 goals to his name for the various clubs he has represented over the years, Ronaldinho has also scored 33 goals for Brazil. He won the FIFA World Player of the Year twice, first in 2004 and then again in 2005. His name also appears in the top 100 footballers of all time, which was complied by the great Pelé.
RonaldoNeedless to say, he is one of the most famous footballer of all times - Ronaldo. The Brazilian has no competition when it comes to scoring in finals. Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima has played for Brazil as well as Real Madrid alongside Beckham and Figo. He has awards like FIFA World Player of the Year in1996, 1997, 2002, World Soccer Player of the Year in 1996, 1997, 2002 and European Footballer of the Year (Ballon d'Or) in 1997 and 2002 to his credit. Need I say more?
KakaOkay, Kaka is anytime easier than Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, right, for calling this handsome Brazilian footballer? Kaka is the most well-known amongst Brazilian midfielders. He also plays for Real Madrid. His awards list is endless and some of them are;
- Serie A Footballer of the Year: 2004, 2007
- UEFA Champions League Bronze Top scorer: 2005-06
- UEFA Champions League Best Midfielder: 2005
- UEFA Team of the Year: 2006, 2007
- FIFPro World XI: 2006, 2007, 2008
- Pallone d'Argento: 2006-07
- UEFA Champions League Top Scorer: 2006-07
- UEFA Champions League Best Forward: 2006-07
- UEFA Club Footballer of the Year: 2006-07
- World Soccer Player Of The Year 2007
- FIFA Confederations Cup Golden Ball:2009
Diego MaradonaWhat do I say about this 'Argentine' God of football? World Cup went to Argentina in 1985, thanks to this man called Diego Maradona. The man who has been a subject of dazzling popularity as well as infamy. He is more known as an attacking midfielder and a second striker for his beloved Argentina rather than any club.
Lionel MessiCurrent football sensation of Argentina, Lionel Messi runs his way into every football fan's heart wherever he goes. After becoming the captain of the Argentine football team, Messi led his team to win an Olympic gold in the year 2008. Such is his manner of playing that Maradona himself has called Messi as his 'heir'.
The list, however, does not end here! This is just a trailer!
Gosh! I wish I could write on and on about these players, but then if I go on I am afraid I might culminate into a small book! These players won hands down when I compared them with others so that was put on the platter for you!
Finally, this is where I blow the final whistle for full-time and go off the pitch! Adios!