2010 FIFA World Cup: Ranking the Best Nicknames
Nicknames are a common feature of any World Cup.
Most of Brazil’s players are more commonly known by their nicknames.
Just think of the Little Bird, Garrincha, or Edison Arantes do Nascimento—better known as Pelé.
But other countries have contributed as well, from Hungary’s Galloping Major (Ferenc Puskas) to Italy’s Divine Ponytail (Roberto Baggio).
At every World Cup, there will be at least one El Loco featured amongst the South American teams—this year, the title is held by Uruguay’s Sebastian Aberu.
We rank our top 10 nicknames for players and coaches competing in this year’s World Cup.
Feel free to tell us your favorites in the Comments section below.
No. 10: Yogi (Joachim Low)
Germany coach Joachim Low’s nickname comes from a shortening of his first name.
Given his team’s excellent World Cup opening victory over Australia, he is certainly proving himself to be smarter than the average manager.
Just keep an eye on your pic-a-nic baskets.
No. 9: Deuce (Clint Dempsey)
U.S. star midfielder Clint Dempsey moonlights as a rapper, which is where his nickname comes from.
Dempsey’s hip-hop name is Deuce.
In 2006, Deuce featured alongside Texas rappers XO and Big Hawk on the soundtrack to a Nike advert.
No. 8: Cashley (Ashley Cole)
After England full-back Ashley Cole joined newly-rich Chelsea, fans of his old club, Arsenal, took to waving money at him and started calling him Cashley.
The feeling that Cole’s move was motivated by money was confirmed when the player released his autobiography.
Cole described how he nearly crashed his car when his agent told him that Arsenal was only willing to pay him $80,000 a week.
He reportedly earns $180,000 each week at Chelsea.
Cole is pictured with his wife, pop star Cheryl Cole, advertising the UK national lottery.
No. 7: The Wizard of Oz (Harry Kewell)
One of best players ever to come out of Australia, Harry Kewell made his name in the English Premier League.
His wizardry on the wing earned him the title, The Wizard of Oz, a reference to the children's book and film, and the nickname for his native country, Oz.
No. 6: Bambi (Zoran Tosic)
The Serbian midfielder has yet to lose the nickname he earned as a child.
Bambi was the brand of biscuits the young Tosic brought to training every day.
It probably doesn’t help the Manchester United player that his slight physique continues to remind people of Disney’s baby deer.
No. 5: The Atomic Flea (Lionel Messi)
The world’s best player also has one of soccer’s weirdest nicknames.
La Pulga Atomica, or Atomic Flea in English, is a reference to Messi’s small size and explosive style of play.
No. 4: The Rhino (Gennaro Gattuso)
The Italian midfielder is known for his combative performances both for his country and club side, Milan.
His tough tackling and high energy earned him the nickname, the Rhino, for the way he charges around the pitch.
No. 3: The Vacuum Cleaner (Kim Nam-il)
South Korea’s holding midfielder earned his nickname for his ability to tidy up a game from his position in front of the defense.
A veteran of South Korea’s 2002 team that reached the World Cup semifinal, Kim helped his team keep its score sheet clean in the opening 2-0 victory over Greece.
No. 2: Dopey (Dunga)
Brazil’s current coach seems like a smart man, though the Portuguese translation of his nickname means Dopey.
Actually, the reference is to the Seven Dwarfs. Dunga was given the name by his uncle, who didn’t think that his little nephew was going to grow up to be tall.
No. 1: Autobahn (Cha Du-Ri)
It is somewhat surprising, but South Korea seems to have the best nicknames at this summer’s World Cup.
Attacking full-back Cha Du-Ri is known as Autobahn, which is the German word for motorway and refers to the miles he covers in a game.
The German-based player lived up to his reputation with a fine performance in his country’s opening Group B match.