**NOTE: As an American, I will be referring to The Beautiful Game as soccer, not football. If that’s a problem, I don’t give a shit. You’ll still enjoy the article.**
Huzzah! The World Cup is here! It comes around every four years like Leap Day, but the World Cup is infinitely more awesome. Earth’s workforce maniacally plots do to as little work as possible. Earthlings lock their eyes to their TVs, computer monitors, smartphones, cardboard boxes with children re-enacting a soccer game and cheer their country on. They marvel at the silky touch (and even silkier hair) of Pirlo, the blazing speed and control of Ronaldo. Belgium’s Marouane Fellaini’s fro. They are dazzled by how Messi seemingly keeps the ball on a string as he marauds through helpless defenses. They are heroes.
In celebration of the biggest sports tournament in the world, For The Blog is going to attempt to fuse sport and geekdom a touch by pointing out the comic counterparts of some of the players showcasing their super-powers in Brazil.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal ‣ The Flash, DC Comics
Ronaldo, nicknamed CR7, is arguably the best player in the world right now. He won the Ballon D’or this year, soccer’s highest individual accolade, as well as the UEFA Champions League for his club team Real Madrid. He is Scrooge McDuck rich. His trophies have trophies. In fact, the only thing bigger than his bank account is his ego. Seriously, Ronaldo is like the Atlas of narcissism.
One of Ronaldo’s biggest assets on the field(or pitch) is his speed. I would not be surprised if his legs have been genetically modified to resemble Ostrich legs, in which case he’d be a whole different comic character altogether (Ostrich-Man? CristanOstrich? RonOstrich?). Anyway, he’s fast(proof). You know who else is fast and has a touch of an ego? Barry Allen, or The Flash. Ronaldo zips down touch lines like The Flash breezes through time zones. Personally, I have an affinity for speed, so I love Ronaldo’s game and The Flash’s antics. Ronaldo is equally as heroic off the field, however, having saved a child’s life a few months back, as well as a impressive résumé of charitable works in years past.
Givanildo Vieira de Souza, Brazil ‣ Hulk, MARVEL Comics
Okay, this is a cop-out and the easiest name to add to this list. I have to do it, though! Growing up, Givanildo Vieira de Souza fell in love with a certain mild-mannered man who turns into a green behemoth when someone pisses him off. Givanildo loved him so much, that his father began calling him “Hulk.”
Hulk, now 27, still goes by Hulk. Hell, it’s even his last name now according to the back of his jersey. It’s all for good reason, though. The dude’s a beast. I’m pretty sure the only reason he’s on the team is to intimidate his opponents. If that doesn’t work crushing people with the fingernail on his pinky finger is “Plan B.” Hell, I’m terrified of making eye contact with his picture on my 50″ Samsung LED TV. I am unsure if Hulk is as mild-mannered as Bruce Banner off the field.
There are a laundry list of players more talented on Brazil’s roster including Neymar and Oscar. However, no one is more likely to make the opposition tinkle in their shorts more than Hulk. Either way, this guy loves him.
Clint Dempsey, USA! USA! USA! ‣ Iron Man, MARVEL Comics
With Captain America relegated to the S.H.I.E.L.D Headquarters for this one, it is up to other American soccer heroes to pick up the slack. The Captain of the US Men’s National Team (USMNT, not to be confused with the half-shelled TMNT) is Clint “Deuce” Dempsey, who plays for MLS team Seattle Sounders when he is not representing the Red, White, and Blue. A lot of super-heroes are born in the wake of tragedy. Unfortunately, Dempsey has had plenty of that in his life after losing his sister (check out this must-watch video below for more).
On the field, Dempsey has everything you want in an American athlete representing our country. He is tough-as-nails. Tenacious. Aggressive. Abrasive. A smart-ass. He’s like Indiana Jones but a lot less adept at using a whip (as far as I know, at least). The best part about Dempsey is he never gives up on a play. No matter how injured, dirty, and/or frustrated he becomes, Dempsey is in it ’til the end.
Know anyone else in the comic world who kicks ass with a smug smirk painted on his face? I do. Tony Stark aka Iron Man. Stark goes out of his way to make sure the baddies are put in their place. No Matter. What. Dempsey goes out of his way to help teammates and secure a victory by any means necessary. While Dempsey isn’t a sardonic billionaire playboy off the field, he did secure a record-breaking transfer deal with the Seattle Sounders this summer. Deuce also participates in a plethora of charity works in his home state of Texas as well as Seattle. So yeah, the USMNT’s Iron Man is doing pretty well for himself.
Tim Cahill, Australia ‣ Wolverine, MARVEL Comics
Tim Cahill and his teammates on the Australian national team are affectionately referred to as the “Socceroos.” There is nothing affectionate about Tim Cahill’s game. He is a BAMF, mate. For this reason, I chose Wolverine to be Cahill’s comic likeness. Cahill always looks as if he is pissed at the world. I really don’t think he ever smiles. Wolverine never smiles, either. Tim Cahill loves being shirtless. Wolverine loves being shirtless. Cahill fights for every ball with a ferocity akin to Wolverine slicing up evil mutants. Tim Cahill and Hugh Jackman, who plays Wolverine, are both Australian! It’s too good to be true. If all that weren’t enough to convince you how awesome Tim Cahill is, his boxing goal celebration is one of the best in the game (even the kids love it).
Off the field, Cahill is equally a hero. He helps out Australia’s UNICEF, created his own cancer research fund, and has participated in numerous charity events created by the New York Red Bulls, his MLS club team.
P.S. Tim Cahill looks almost exactly like the suave and charming Oberyn Martell(Pedro Pascal).
Well, folks. That’s it for Part 1 of 2 of my “World Cup Comic Counterparts” series. Stay tuned next week for more fun.Agree with my choices? Disagree? Have ideas? Let me know in the comments section below, tweet me @jklolitscr, or yell at the top of your lungs. I’ll hear you.