Writing this list reminded me of the long childhood car journeys where Tom and I would discuss our fantasy line-ups. Time flies when you’re having fun! But as fun as it is, it’s also really difficult. I could have picked 50 but instead I’ve picked 5. Well, 10 actually…
ULTIMATE FOOTBALL HEROES
1. Gareth Bale – Real Madrid
Here are 5 of the many reasons why I love Bale:
1) He’s Welsh (my Dad was born in Wales, so I support Wales over England)
2) He started his career at Southampton (that’s where I’m from and I support The Saints)
3) We share a birthday (16th July)
4) He’s an awesome footballer
5) He’s the first Heroes Football book I ever wrote!
2. Mousa Dembélé – Tottenham
I’ve always loved classy midfielders who glide across the pitch. Andrea Pirlo, Rui Costa, Xabi Alonso – go look those guys up on YouTube. Dembélé is a lot bigger and stronger than those guys but he also makes football look easy and beautiful. When he gets the ball and dribbles forward, no-one can get it off him! The Belgian has a lovely left foot and he’s the player that keeps the Spurs midfield ticking along. The weirdest thing is that Dembélé shares my birthday too!
3. Mats Hummels – Bayern Munich
On the football pitch, I’ve always played at the back. There aren’t many great defenders in the game these days but Hummels is definitely my favourite. In my own terrible way, I think I play a bit like him. Neither of us are particularly fast or strong; instead, we like to pass the ball around and read the game. The only difference is that Hummels is a World Cup winner and sadly I’m not!
This month, he also became the first player to join Juan Mata’s Common Goal project and donate 1% of his salary to charity. Nice work, Mats!
CLASSIC FOOTBALL HEROES
4. Paul Scholes – Manchester United
In my opinion, Scholes was always the best of England’s midfielders. Beckham had the looks and the free-kicks, Gerrard had the energy and the long-range shooting, but Scholesy had it all. He scored a lot of goals for Manchester United but it was his vision that made him special. His teammates used to call him ‘Sat Nav’ because his passing was so accurate! My other reason for picking Scholesy is his down-to-earth personality. He was all about the football and he really hated the limelight!
5. Gianfranco Zola – Chelsea
I’ve left the best until last. Zola was my number one childhood hero. I had the shirts, the posters and the big heads.
I loved everything about him:
1) His foreign flair
2) His tricks and flicks
3) His free-kicks
4) His non-stop smiling
5) His pizzas and ice creams
AND THE NEXT 5…