The world of football is almost in unanimity that Barcelona is the best team in the world right now. But are those clinical, almost faultless Xavi-esque passes good enough to unlock a defence made up of “The Giraffe”, “The Tall One”, and “Mr. Elbow”? Can Barca’s Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique defend against the “Crazy Dribbler”, “Spiderman” and “Wizard of Dribble”? Try to think of Victor Valdes saving a shot from the “Devil”
It is one of the most anticipated games of the season. A derby that arouses emotions like no other, one where every inch of the pitch is highly and hotly contested for, where managers unleash their most hidden tactful acumen, where fans cheer, jeer, boo, applaud and applause, curse where necessary and hurl obscenities and all manner of banalities even in front of the not-so-suspecting young ones.
Will today’s match be any different? Will the newly-promoted Potters upstage the dominant Pensioners just like they did a fortnight ago when they visited the Black Cats who have had their worst ever start to a season having already been hammered by a dozen goals by the Hammers? A win to either the Potters or Pensioners will take them to the top of the table after table-leading, the Reds and the Red Devils, could only manage a thrilling 4-4 draw, a scoreline that pleased Red Devils manager King Eric but left Reds manager, King Kenny fuming after controversial referee, The Big Howski, awarded the Red Devils an equally controversial penalty in the last minute of the game.
As has been the norm in the past three games, the Pensioners will once again rely on the safe gloves of Big Pete who has made the goalkeeping position his own after displacing injury-hit Genghis Khan. A very strong defensive lineup will try to mop up the opposition’s attack. The Tall One and the Giraffe will occupy the central defence, while The Donkey on the left side of the defence and the Little Donkey on the right will try to stop the Little Witch and Welsh Wizard from whipping dangerous crosses into the box.
After outplaying, out-passing, out-running and completely dominating their opponent’s midfield in the previous match, Pensioner’s Manager, The Phantom, has decided to stick to his midfield lineup of Braveheart, Wizard of Oz, Wizard of Tabanya and Sound of Thunder.
Super Pipo and Super Mario will for the first time lead the attacking lineup which sees topscorer Speedy Gonzalez make it to the substitutes bench. Pensioner’s summer signings, The Black Panther and The Dragon will also start from the bench and so will be the defensive twosome of Slim and Fat One.
After two of his defenders, Philosopher and Gov’nor, were both stretchered off in the previous match, Potters’ manager, Pizza, has called on the untested Holland international Vacuum Cleaner to man the defence together with the impressive Mr. Elbow, Argentina captain The Tractor and his countrymate Big Nose. Crazy Dribbler, Mighty Mouse, Spiderman and Wizard of Dribble will drive the midfield with the Non-flying Dutchman playing just behind the Baby-faced Assassin who returns after two months layoff with a virus to lead the one-man attack.
After scoring a hat-trick in the previous match, Pitbull can only make it to the bench. Potters manager will also have the chance to call on the services of last year’s club player of the season Black Panther to provide him the extra ammunition, if need be.
It’s one of those games that catapult excitement to a crescendo. It’s one of those articles that make me conclude that if footballers were their nicknames, they would simply cause trepidation and send some chilling nerves down the system of their opponents, fans notwithstanding.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a game made in mars and to be played on earth. The aforementioned ‘names’ actually represent players who either are or once played the beautiful game.
For those who are ardent football followers, it’s not rocket science to know that the ‘Potters’ and ‘Pensioners’ here are none other than Stoke City and Chelsea Football clubs. Perhaps the Reds (Liverpool) and Red Devils (Manchester United) are even more familiar, and so should ‘King Kenny’ Dalglish and ‘King Eric’ Cantona, he of the kung-fu kick.
And just who else could be ‘The Big Howski’ but English referee Howard Webb?
I know that is just as easy as it can get. So why not look at the list below to see who the Big Pete’s, the Bravehearts, the Donkeys and their little ones, the Rats and Wizards, the Giraffes and Thunders, the Pizza and Philosophers, the Big Noses, Mr. Elbows and Baby-faced Assassins (we know this guy though) are? Info provided by <Soccerphile>
Gennaro Gattuso (ITA)- "Braveheart"
Harry Kewell - "Wizard of Oz”
Kiprich, Jozef (HUN) - Wizard from Tatabanya
Dennis Bergkamp – the non-flying Dutchman
Koller, Jan (CZE) – Tall One
Pizarro, Claudio (PER) – Pizza
Toni Adams – the donkey
Eric Cantona – King Eric
Stankovic, Dejan (SER) - The Dragon
Ince, Paul (ENG) - Gov'nor
Thuram, Lilian (FRA) - Philosopher
Inzaghi, Filippo (ITA) - Super Pippo
Kahn, Oliver (GER) - Genghis Khan
Kevin Keegan – King Kevin
Roy Makaay, called "The Phantom"
Juan Sebastian Verón - "The Little Witch
Javier Zanetti, "The Tractor",
Van der Kerkhof, W. (HOL) - Vacuum Cleaner
Verón, Juan Ramón (ARG)—Witch
Verón, Juan Sebastian (ARG) - Little Witch
Waddle, Chris (ENG) - Crazy Dribbler
Wouters, Jan (HOL) - Mr. Elbow
Zenga, Walter (ITA) – Spiderman
Kevin Keegan = Mighty Mouse
Zanetti, Javier (ARG) - The Tractor
Pete Cech – Big Pete
Jack Charlton (Eng) – giraffe
Bilardo Carlos (ARG) – Narigon – big nose
Ortega, Ariel (ARG) - Little Donkey
Mario Balloteli – Super Mario
Pardeza, Miguel (ESP) - Little Rat – Ratoncito
Petkovic, Dejan (SER) – Rambo
Ronaldo (BRA) – fenomeno – phenomenon
Prosinecki, Robert (CRO) - The Yellow One
Romario (BRA) – Shorty
Riva, Luigi (ITA) - Sound of Thunder
David Beckam – the spice boy
Roberto Baggio – Codino d’ Oro – the golden ponytail
Franz Berckenbauer – Emperor
Pele = Edson Arantes do Nascimento – king
Kenny Dalglish – King Kenny
Tostao (BRA) – White pele
Edgar Davids – Pitbull
Sükür, Hakan (TUR) - Bull from the Bosporus
Lombardo, Attilio (ITA) - Bald Eagle
Marcel Desailly – rock, Beast
Eusebio da Silva (POR) Pantera Nera Black Panther
Ryan Giggs – Welsh Wizard
González Cristián (ARG) – Speedy Gonzalez
Hernández, Luis (MEX) – Killer
Solskjaer, Ole Gunnar (NOR) - Baby-faced Assasin
Sanchez, Erwin (BOL) – Devil
Schuster, Bernd (GER) - Blond Angel
Ilie, Adrian (ROM) – Cobra
Eusebio = The 'Black Panther'
Matthews, Stanley (ENG) - Wizard of Dribble
Boniek Zbigniew – Poland – beauty of the night
Morientes, Fernando (ESP) - Black One
Menotti, Cesar Luis (ARG) – Slim
Müller, Gerd (GER) - Fat One/Bomber
Nordahl, Gunnar (SWE) – Gunner/Buffalo
Andriy Shevchenko - "The Eastern Wind"
Pavel Nedved "The Czech Cannon"
And That's thesteifmastertake!!