Best XI – Valentine Edition
Best XI is a compilation of interesting events or snippets from the football world across different locations that we share with you. Best XI will seek to be about topics you are interested in and want explored. You may mail your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org
Football has always had a romantic side to it with handsome men and beautiful women involved; there has never been a shortage of romantic alliances surrounding the players. So in honour of St. Valentine, we present to you our very own selection of XI footballers who can be your dream dates. In true equality of sexes, we have compiled a mixed XI including players of either gender. The two criteria we have taken for this inclusion are – looks and the ‘availability’ of the player to be your Valentine. The latter criterion is loosely interpreted, which is why we have only kept out players who are married or have been in long-term relationships. To maintain objectivity, and our sense of orientation, there was a mixed jury in the Goalden Times editorial team. We know XI is a very short number and we had to leave out quite a few names. We decided to balance out the sexes by appointing a manager – thus making it an even distribution.
~ Be Thine Valentine ~
She is not just #1 in the US national team but we dare say, Hope Solo is one of the most recognizable faces after her performances in the 2011 FIFA World Cup. Though the US lost to Japan in an epic final, Solo won our hearts…literally. She was magnificent in the quarter final win against Brazil. Her story of growing up in a broken marriage and establishing herself as a goalkeeper and an athlete overall is a touching one. Put your dancing shoes on for Hope likes to waltz. While there may be rumours about a boyfriend, you could possibly join her for a session like this.
Communication Link: @hopesolo on Twitter
Anouk Anna Hoogendijk is a 26-year-old who plays for Netherlands. She started really young and used to play with boys in the beginning before shifting to an all-girl squad. Hoogendijk came to prominence aged 12, as a contestant on the “Geef Nooit Op” (Never Give In) television programme. She honed her skills playing for FC Utrecht in the Dutch division. She is adept both as a defender and a midfielder and her role demands extreme fitness. Her playing career has taken her places – like the UK, but we believe she could carve a career in fashion as well.
Communication Link: @Anoukhoogendijk on Twitter
Eva Nadia González is the star defender and at 24 years, is also the captain of the Argentine national team. Playing in defence has not stopped her from scoring goals though; Eva has 3 goals in 18 matches. One of those goals was the opener in the 2006 South American championship in Argentina when the hosts surprised the defending champions Brazil to win 2-0. The victory qualified the Albiceleste for two tournaments simultaneously: the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2008 Olympics. She also scored a bending free kick against England in the 2007 FIFA World Cup.
The 26-year-old French-Moroccan old-school defender currently playing for Valencia CF is contemplating his return to France, courtesy Paris Saint-Germain. He had helped Lille to the Ligue 1 title in the previous season; later moving to Los Che followed by La Liga. Starting out very early at the mere age of nine, Adil Rami has come a long way, from playing as a hobby to support himself – he was even labelled a ‘phantom student’ by his teacher since he dodged school to manage several other jobs – to the extrovert, overtly optimistic and sparkling with sprightliness Rami of today who has this bubbling ‘Bring ’em On’ attitude towards world champions Barcelona.
Being the sex symbol that he is, maybe you could be Princess Fiona in Adil “Shrek” Rami’s life. Non-stop entertainment guaranteed: in his own words, “I reckon I’m the most entertaining guy in our dressing room.”
Communication Link: @AdilRami4 on Twitter
The Kosovan-Albanian fighter playing for Italian Serie A club Lazio and captaining Albania at international level is a UNO ambassador for poverty. Lorik Cana has exhibited his skills as a devoted tackler playing for clubs like PSG, Marseille, Sunderland and Galatasaray in his career. He is not known as ‘le destructeur’ (The Assassin) for nothing.
Communication Link: @LorikCana19 on Twitter
Nayeli Rangel is the youngest member of this XI at only 19 but has already had 32 caps for the Mexican side and scored 3 goals. Being still a teenager though shows but she has shown responsibility in leading the Mexican U20 team with goals like this and assists like this. Her career has flourished so far and so has her fan following detailing her life.
Communication Link: @nayeRangel7 on Twitter
Laisa Andrioli is quite simply in the wrong profession, playing football for the Brazilian national team. Not because she lacks football skills. No, she doesn’t, as this can prove. But photo shoots with various magazines which included not many clothes and one in particular with the referee’s red card used in a pivotal manner, have propelled Laisa to the top of the charts for the tag of ‘most coveted female footballer’. While she loves balls, the camera loves her and it’s a match made in heaven.
Communication Link: http://laisaandrioli.com/
Dubbed as a “playmaker of real quality” and “an accomplished passer of the ball“, Lyon’s dynamic midfielder is one of the most talented players of his generation. He is capable of scoring spectacular goals too. In Yoann Gourcuff, France feel they have found their “Le successeur” aka heir apparent to the legend himself – Zinedine Zidane. He is a recipient to several titles and honours, like the French Player of the Year award in 2008-09 and UNFP awards in 2009, among many other accolades to boast of.
Communication Link: @yoann_gourcuff on Twitter
The golden boy of Arsenal, finally moved to Barcelona after a prolonged heartburn for the English giants. But he has been a source of heartburn for ladies throughout Europe. Young, dynamic, handsome and successful, Cesc epitomises the ultimate modern footballer. This might be a really good time to have Cesc as a valentine since only last year he split up with long-time sweetheart Carla Garcia.
Communication Link: @cesc4official on Twitter
Elodie Thomis is often talked about as the female equivalent of Thierry Henry and Sidney Govou for her pace. Scorching the turf for the Les Bleues, Thomis has scored 19 goals in 64 matches. She plays her club football for Olympic Lyon and is one of the best strikers ever to play for Lyon with 36 goals in 64 matches. She has been part of the team that has reached two successive UEFA Women’s Champions League finals in 2009-10 and 2010-11 winning the latter one. Proud of her Martinique heritage, the early career training in athletics has shaped her well.
Thomis though is keen to increase the popularity of her sport and is willing to pose for it too.
Communication Link: http://fr-fr.facebook.com/people/Elodie-Thomis/1008905565
FIFA World Player of the Year winner Lionel Messi says he is “one of the most dangerous players I have ever played against” while Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola feels “you would need a pistol to stop him”, speaking of his lightning speed on the field. Catch him if you can, off the field that is. Arsenal’s Theo Walcott has that boyish charm that can melt your heart. Can you keep up with his pace?
Communication Link: @TheoWalcott14 on Twitter
The man to manage this Special XI has to be special too and it was easy to choose the flavour of the moment – Herve Renard for this job. Having won the African Cup of Nations with the unheralded Zambians, he has already shown that he is a talented manager. But the 43-year-old has created a flutter in many hearts with his all-action displays on the sideline in his trademark white shirt. He showed his humane side when he carried the injured Joseph Musonda after the final in a victory lap.
Featured Image Source – The Atlantic