Soccer players (footballers) are one of most influential sports personalities in the world in this present world. Countries and clubs have global fan following which could easily overpower any other sport in the world. With such exposure for the sport and the players in this generation of social media, looking up to footballers to be role models for them or for kids to idolize these stars is not really a rare occurrence.
As kids and even as adults grow older, there is always that one individual or a group of individuals who we look up to for inspiration, for guidance or basically to play role models for us, helping us in our growth as a person or in our professional perseverance. And Footballers are no different. Infact, the probability of a young fan looking upto a professional footballer is much higher in today’s world of blitz and glam than ever before.
Right from how the players behave on the field, pre and post-match interviews, from the cars that they drive, to the type of clothes that they flaunt in public appearances or on social media, each and every move they make is being monitored by the fans. That is not to say that every footballer could be looked up as a role model. In fact, it is quite the opposite as there are only a handful of players who maintain good enough standards to be considered as role models.
20 Carlos Bacca
For those wondering why a 29-year-old striker from Colombia makes the list along with the other legends, the answer is simple –his story. Yes, many footballers have great background stories but Carlos Becca is one of the most recent and probably one of the most remarkable stories out there.
19 Bastian Schweinsteiger
Bastian Schweinsteiger, ‘Der Kommandant von Kolbermoor’ – (The Commander from Kolbermoor) arguably, has the best name in football right now. Just the sound of the name Bastian Schweinsteiger has a nice feel to it.
Having lost the finals of Euro ’08, the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup, as well as Euro ’12 semis with Germany, coupled with the fact that he lost the 2012 Champions League final with Bayern Munich, seemed to personify Bastian as an unlucky hero.
18 Alessandro Del Piero
17 Dennis Bergkamp
16 Gary Neville
15 Tony Adams
14 Matt Le Tissier
13 Didier Drogba
Ivory Coast’s most successful footballer ever, King Drogba is widely renowned for the great amount of charity he does, especially through the Didier Drogba Foundation. The foundation contributes financial and material support in education and health including school bags for the school children, as well as a medical clinic in his hometown of Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
12 Andres Iniesta
11 Andrea Pirlo
10 Iker Casillas
9 Ricardo Kaka
8 Paul Scholes
Paul Scholes was a short ginger head who stayed away from media until it was unavoidable. The Manchester United legend got onto the training ground, practiced hard, put in great performances year after year and followed the no non-sense approach in life. Paul Scholes did what most footballers today fail to do which is to not let the money and fame get to their head.
7 Javier Zanetti
6 Francesco Totti
‘The Eternal Man from the Eternal City of Rome’, Francesco Totti is a ‘once in a lifetime’ type of player. Keeping the romance alive in football, Totti’s love story started way back when his mother refused a contract from the invincible Milan side during the Rossoneri revolution of the early 90s.
5 Gianluigi Buffon
One of the greatest goalkeepers in the game, Buffon has various traits other than his goal-keeping skills which qualify him as a role model. The darkest time in Serie A history was after the Calciopoli scandal which saw Juventus being relegated from Serie A to Serie B. Many stars left the club and went out to other European giants but not Buffon. Buffon stayed with Juventus, showed great character, earned them immediate promotion and brought back the glory days at Juventus winning the Seria A title for the past four seasons.
4 Lionel Messi
One falls short of superlatives when they speak about this Argentine Magician. Lionel Messi is, arguably, the greatest footballer ever to grace this sport. Such natural ability coupled with the grit and determination to fight through after being diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency which was stopping his normal growth rate at a tender age of 11, Lionel Messi has proven to the world that size does not matter when your brilliance is on a different level from the rest of the world.
3 Cristiano Ronaldo
From a very poor though big family in Portugal, sometimes sleeping with a half-filled stomach, no blankets to cover himself, losing his father at an early age, a mother who worked as a maid in houses to feed the family, using thrown away shoes by others to play football since he had no proper shoes and being diagnosed with a racing heart when he was 15, Cristiano Ronaldo managed to fight through all this and is today one of the greatest footballers ever.
2 Paolo Maldini
What can you say; 25 full seasons at AC Milan, 647 appearances, seven Serie A titles, five European Cup/Champions League titles and list of achievements which would probably put a team of players to shame. Paolo Maldini is everything that you expect from a player. Sincerity, loyalty, respectful, determination, successful, talented, a leader - you name it, he had the skill.
1 David Beckham
Girls over different generations have a crush on him and rightly so, David Beckham would probably top the list of the hottest and the most stylish footballers ever. Men try to emulate David Beckham. Be it in terms of fashion or his free kicks, David Beckham is THE name to imitate.
David Beckham is the ultimate role model for almost everyone related to football. Great looks, brilliant career, big money, a pop-star wife, a life right out of a Hollywood movie – is there anything you could possibly not want similar to David Beckham? David Beckham wins this battle of being the ultimate Role model for one and all.
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