6 Current Players and Coaches in World Football Who Already Deserve Statues
Statues are reserved for world football's elite.
Whether a player or coach has served his employers with a tremendous amount of loyalty, secured a slew of trophies or achieved something particularly memorable, a handful of current individuals deserve to be immortalised in bronze.
Sir Alex Ferguson recently received a statue before announcing his retirement. Who should follow the Scottish legend and see their life's achievement remembered before they scurry away from the limelight? Read on to find out.
Vicente Del Bosque
Luis Aragones may have been the manager who ended Spain's tag as international underachievers, but Vicente Del Bosque is the driving force behind sustained success.
His managerial prowess has led the Spanish national team to triumphs at World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012. This maintained dominance has outlined the current crop of Spanish talent as one of the greatest generations ever produced.
Many could poo-poo this achievement and suggest Del Bosque has an era-defining selection of players to choose from, or that he simply built upon Aragones' side from Euro 2008. This argument quickly comes crashing down when you consider the 62-year-old's staggering run of success throughout a career that spans nearly half a century.
Del Bosque won La Liga five times as a Real Madrid player and also captured four Copa Del Rey titles with the Spanish giants. As Madrid manager he directed the team towards two domestic league titles, a Spanish Super Cup and two Champions League victories. He also claimed a UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup and Copa Iberia.
Despite being reproduced in waxwork form, Del Bosque deserves a classic statue sharing his resemblance (via Marca). There's something extremely creepy about waxworks that doesn't quite produce the same amount of class as a classic statue. If anyone in Spanish football deserves a bronzing over, it's Del Bosque.
Where would the statue stand? Overlooking the Bernabeu.
Ryan Giggs is the perfect example of a player who should receive his own statue.
The Manchester United man made his debut for the Reds in 1991 and has enjoyed a career of unprecedented success. He is the only player to have scored in every Premier League season since the competition's inception, but more importantly, he is the physical embodiment of a club that has achieved and maintained great success (via BBC Sport).
United's recognisable Welshman has won 13 Premier League titles, equalling Arsenal's entire number of top-flight domestic championships (via Opta). He has also won four FA Cup trophies, four League Cups, eight Community Shields, two Champions Leagues, a UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.
This is forgetting the numerous personal honours, Player of the Seasons awards and OBE selection (via BBC News). It's difficult to put into words how important Giggs has been to United's emergence as one of the world's elite clubs. The fact he will still be turning out for the Red Devils as a 40-year-old underlines what an amazing athlete he is.
Where would the statue stand? Outside Old Trafford's Stretford End, which should be renamed "The Ryan Giggs Stand."
Otto Rehhagel is responsible for one of modern football's greatest underdog stories.
The charismatic 62-year-old installed a sense of discipline into the Greece side that travelled to Euro 2004. Barely fancied as outsiders for the tournament, Rehhagel's team beat Portugal, drew with Spain and lost to Russia en route to the knockout stage.
In the quarter-finals, Greece triumphed over previous winners France. This set up a semi-final tie against the Czech Republic, who also fell 1-0 to the outsiders. All that waited was a final against host nation Portugual; a side Greece had already put to the sword earlier in the tournament.
With one Angelos Charisteas header, the competition was won.
Although Greek football has never looked like repeating such a fairytale win, Rehhagel lives on as a national hero. The German has even been enlisted by Chancellor Angela Merkel to hold talks as a goodwill ambassador between the two nations (via BBC).
Where should the statue stand? Atop Mount Olympus.
Describing Lionel Messi with superlatives is probably a waste of time. We've heard them all before. I'll just say he knows how to kick a ball. Really well.
The four-time Ballon d'Or winner continues to break records before his 26th birthday. Barcelona's maestro scored 91 goals last year, surpassing Gerd Muller's record and even consecutively netted against every La Liga side during the 2012-13 campaign. The stats continue to tumble in his favour, suggesting football world records will no longer be relevant when he retires.
Allthough Messi has endured troubles with Argentina, recent form has seen the swift-footed player help his national team to decent success.
Where would the statue stand? Outside the Camp Nou.
Who on earth is Giampaolo Mazza?
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the man who has been in charge of San Marino's national team since 1998. He is a PE teacher who also happens to be the longest serving coach in European football (via The Daily Mail).
Statues shouldn't be awarded for longevity, right? Although that is partially true, Mazza's loyalty to one of the world's most useless football nations is admirable. It's also worth noting he is the architect of San Marino's first and only victory since the nation joined FIFA in 1990.
The 1-0 friendly triumph over Liechtenstein came on April 28, 2004. Mazza and his players haven't experienced another victory since then, but who cares? His single success and three draws from 78 games produces a 1.28 win percentage; the best San Marino has ever seen.
Where should the statue stand? In San Marino's defensive line.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic strikes me as the kind of person who would commission his own statue, just like Mario Balotelli and Nani have done in the past.
The giant Swede is an excellent player who teeters between genius and disaster. He is arguably the only reason to fear playing Sweden and continues to scoop up trophies wherever he goes.
Although his run of winning eight consecutive league titles came to an end when Milan failed to capture the 2011-12 Serie A championship (via Goal.com), he moved onto Paris Saint-Germain and claimed Ligue 1 victory in his debut season (via BBC). That's nine league trophies in 10 years.
Ibrahimovic's ridiculous haul at Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Milan and PSG has seen his total rise to 11 domestic league wins. He also has nine cups to his name and the 2012 Golden Foot award. Sure, players such as Cristiano Ronaldo are better footballers, but imagine Zlatan's arms aloft in shiny bronze. It would be glorious.
Where would the statue stand? Outside Zlatan's house.
Which current players and coaches deserve a statue? Let me know in the comments section below and be sure to follow me on Twitter right here:
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