The very notion or idea of 'coolness' is ambiguous from the off. Its first recorded use came in 1948, born out of the Jazz world, and it has become embedded in modern American English language. Generally used to describe a person's attitude, appearance and style, something deemed as 'cool' is given a sense of admiration, acceptance and awe by the Zeitgeist of the time.
Sportsmen and women, especially in recent years as public attention can be so fixated upon them, have inevitably picked up tags such as 'cool' or 'uncool'. Players who have their own very individual style of play can often be seen as cool, as well as those who simply play with an attitude, verve or swagger, often notably nonchalant and effortless. Particularly cool players should certainly never seem fazed by big occasions or lacking in confidence.
However, in an age where we cannot escape players' lives off the pitch, this list factors in both a players persona on and off the field. It doesn't matter how classy you are on the pitch, if you announce in public that Justin Bieber is your idol, you won't be making this list. Likewise, you might be the most fashionable man on the planet but if you can only make the bench for Grimsby reserves, don't expect to feature either.
10 Dimitar Berbatov
Narrowly edging out Eric Cantona as the opener of this top 10 list is Dimitar Berbatov. His relaxed approach has earned him his fair share of critics over his career but it's also made the Bulgarian undeniably cool. He plays with all the nonchalance, calmness and composure required to make this list and still manages to be unplayable on his day.
9 Jose Mourinho
8 Zlatan Ibrahimovic
If coolness can be achieved in doing things your own way, then Zlatan is just about the coolest guy out there. Always great value for an outrageous quote, one thing the Swede doesn't lack is self-confidence, which almost always boils over into comical and deliberate arrogance. For the most part though, the PSG striker can back it up. He's played for six of Europe's top clubs, and been prolific with all of them, as well as for his country, with whom he has over a century of caps and is the all-time record goalscorer.
7 David Beckham
Too obviously cool to come any higher in this list, no soccer player has been so involved in celebrity culture as David Beckham. His looks made him English football's pin-up boy from a young age and as he established himself as one of the best players in the world, that image spread worldwide. His voice may have detracted from his 'coolness' somewhat, but now retired, there's no doubting Becks' cool credentials, with even his squeaky voice having been trained out of him. The third most recognizable human on the planet, the biggest and coolest companies in the world look to Beckham for endorsements, as he is the most well-known image of style in the sport, and few can match him away from the game too.
6 Roberto Baggio
The ponytail is a bold look, and one that can easily make you the butt of a few jokes, but Roberto Baggio had to miss a penalty in a World Cup final before anyone could mock him. A supremely talented player, Baggio played for a number of Italian heavyweights, including Fiorentina, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan. He won the Ballon d'Or in 1993 and inspired Italy to a World Cup final a year later, only to blaze his spot-kick over the bar.
5 George Best
4 Xabi Alonso
3 Zinedine Zidane
1 Andrea Pirlo
If good-looks and effortless respect and admiration are the barometer of coolness, then look no further than Italian midfielder, Andrea Pirlo. The deep-lying playmaker is 35 now, but still virtually untouchable due to his vision and range of passing which are probably the best in the world today. Pirlo has won a whole host of trophies with AC Milan and Juventus, as well as a World Cup with Italy and a vast array of awards for his individual efforts. Stats show that Pirlo covers the least ground and makes the least sprints of almost any player in Europe, yet he is still one of the best players in the game.
Away from the football pitch, Pirlo is a wine connoisseur who owns his own vineyard, producing 15-20,000 bottles a year. Effortless and apparently timeless, Pirlo is well worth top spot in this list of the coolest men in soccer.
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