**NOTE: As I am still an American, I will refer to “football” as “soccer.” Suck it, rest of the world.**
I believe I speak for everyone when I say that the World Cup has not disappointed. At all. Some of the soccer stars highlighted in Part I of my series have shined like the badass superheroes they are. Some have not. Tim Cahill, who I compared to Wolverine, struck a thrashing volley with his Adamantium-boned left foot. Clint Dempsey, or Iron Man, managed to weave his way through the Ghana defense with an entire nation on his back and score in the first thirty second of the USA’s first group match. He continued to play after getting his nose annihilated. America. Ronaldo… Well, Ronaldo did this. Oh well, can’t win ’em all. Anyway, here’s a list of other notable soccer studs who play The Beautiful game in a heroic-ish and/or villainous way.
Guillermo Ochoa, Mexico ‣ Spider-Man, MARVEL
Ochoa wasn’t regarded as the best goalkeeper entering the World Cup, but he is now. The only explanation for this save is that he cut little slits in his goalie gloves so that the webbing from his wrists could shoot out and help deflect soccer balls at will. Seriously, that is the only plausible explanation. The dude is playing out of his mind right now. The Internet has named him “San Memo.” Spider-Man may also be apropos.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, Germany ‣ Magneto, MARVEL
Bastian Schweinsteiger is German through and through. He is the heart and soul of the German national team as well as his club team Bayern Munich, a powerhouse in both Germany and Europe. In a sport where stars swap teams like dirty underwear, Bastian has remained at Bayern his whole career (although I do hope the rumors of him tranferring to Manchester United are true :]). He bleeds black, red, and yellow. I don’t know how there isn’t a bronze statue in Munich immortalizing Schweiny mid battle cry yet. German women would flock to it for a chance to drape the statue in their trachtenblusen. I love the guy.
Max Eisenhardt, or Magneto, is also German. In terms of allegiance to Deutschland, that is were the similarities end. According to Magneto’s origin story, Eisenhardt was Jewish in the worst time to be Jewish. His parents were killed in a Nazi concentration camp, so you could understand why he is less than fond of humans. When it comes to his fellow mutants, however, he wishes nothing but the best for him. Magneto is as loyal and passionate toward mutants as Schweinsteiger is towards the nation he loves. Magneto is known to have a bit of a mean streak. Schweinsteiger can also be a hot head. Schweiny collects yellow cards like Pokemon cards, and was even shown red in Germany’s Euro 2008 match vs Croatia. Bastian manipulates the flight of a soccer ball is reminiscent of the way Magneto can bend a truck into an origami frog.
Robin van Persie, Netherlands ‣ Bizarro, DC
Robin van Persie, Netherlands has a case to be Superman for this goal alone. It had the whole world collectively exclaim something along the lines of “WHAT THE SHIT!?” in dozens of languages. He’s one of the world’s best players. RvP is like Superman, but he’s not. I like van Persie, but he is selfish with a side order of ego and a dash of crazy. “The Flying Dutchman” is a good nickname. Or Bizzaro. Anyway…
Lionel Messi, Argentina ‣ Superman, DC
Messi is Superman. With the exception of Argentina, the very country whose team he represents, pretty much everyone likes or respects Messi. He is humble on and off the pitch. He lets his play do the talking. The man can insulate his Fortress of Solitude with the silverware he’s collected, and continues to collect, throughout his career. Messi knows he’s pretty awesome, but doesn’t feel the need to flaunt it.
Messi’s strength on the ball as he dribbles into opponents’ penalty box is similar to Superman lifting three tanks just because. While Messi won’t be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, he can pick out the slimmest of margins to slot a pass through the back line to set up a goal or do the work himself. Messi is capable of single-handedly winning games for club(Barcelona) and country, similar to Superman carrying the Justice League on his Kryptonian shoulders at times.
Lionel is also Superman/Clark Kent off the field. Messi has made a number of monetary donations and appeared in a variety of charity events in recent years. While everyone makes mistakes, the good far outweighs the bad when it comes to Lionel “Superman” Messi.
Welp, that’s all I have. If you enjoyed, share with your friends! Agree with my choices? Disagree? Have ideas? Don’t give a shit? Sadface… Let me know in the comments section below, tweet me @jklolitscr, or mumble into your Dixie Cup string phone. I have mine at the ready.