The Greatest Nicknames in World Football

Mitch HubbleContributor IJuly 26, 2011

The Greatest Nicknames in World Football

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    Sports fans have forever been creating nicknames for their favorite players and world football fans are no different, coming up with inventive, and sometimes insulting, nicknames. 

    This slideshow showcases the best of the best of nicknames in world football, in my opinion. 

    You can add your personal favorites by commenting all the details of the nickname; e.g the story behind it and I will add it to the slideshow within a couple of hours.

    Here are the greatest nicknames in world football...

    You can follow me and track my latest content on my blog, Keep The Ball Rolling.

'Little Mozart'

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    Name: Tomáš Rosický 

    Nation of Birth: Czechoslovakia

    Nickname: 'Little Mozart'

    During his five-year stint at Borussia Dortmund, he gained the nickname 'Little Mozart' or 'The Mozart Of Football' thanks to his ability to orchestrate a whole game whilst on the pitch.


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    Name: Givanildo Vieira de Souza

    Nation of Birth: Brazil

    Nickname: Hulk

    If you didn't know otherwise you could be forgiven for thinking 'Hulk' is not just a nickname, seeing as though it appears on Porto's official team sheets instead of his real name. 

    The nickname 'Hulk' actually comes from his resemblance to actor Lou Ferrigno, who played the comic book hero in a television series.

'The Magic Dwarf'

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    Name: Philip Lahm

    Nation of Birth: Germany

    Nickname: 'The Magic Dwarf'

    Lahm gained the nickname 'The Magic Dwarf' due to his small size and tremendous abilities. 


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    Name: Steve McManaman

    Nation of Birth: England

    Nickname: 'Shaggy'

    The nickname 'Shaggy' comes from his resemblance to Shaggy Rogers, a character in the American TV show Scooby Doo


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    Name: Cristiano Ronaldo

    Nation of Birth: Portugal

    Nickname: 'CR7'

    'CR7' is the name of a fashion label run by Ronaldo and his sister, and the name is obviously derived from the star's initials and kit number. 

'Baby Faced Assassin'

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    Name: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

    Nation of Birth: Norway

    Nickname: 'Baby Faced Assassin'

    Solskjaer gained the nickname 'The Baby Faced Assassin' thanks to his baby face and high strike rate as a forward at Manchester United

'The Non-Flying Dutchman'

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    Name: Dennis Bergkamp

    Nation of Birth: Holland

    Nickname: 'The Non-Flying Dutchman'

    For most big European players traveling in aeroplanes is a weekly occurrence, but not for Dennis Bergkamp, the Dutchman refused to travel in the air during his career.  


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    Name: Aaron Lennon

    Nation of Birth: England

    Nickname: 'Roadrunner'

    Lennon is often dubbed 'Roadrunner' by his teammates and fans because of his pace.


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    Name: Ashley Cole

    Nation of Birth: England

    Nickname: 'Cashley'

    Cole has been labelled 'Cashley' because of his greed when he swapped Arsenal for Chelsea in order to receive a larger pay packet.

'Crazy Horse'

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    Name: Emlyn Hughes

    Nation of Birth: England

    Nickname: 'Crazy Horse'

    The former Liverpool defender was famous for his commitment and his galloping runs, quite like a horse actually. And that's how Emlyn Hughes earned the nickname 'Crazy Horse'.


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    Name: Stuart Pearce

    Nation of Birth: England

    Nickname: 'Psycho'

    Imagine John McEnroe. Now imagine him as a football player. Stuart Pearce really was a psycho, proven by this video.

'The Kaiser'

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    Name: Franz Beckenbauer

    Nation of Birth: Germany

    Nickname: 'der Kaiser'

    Beckenbauer is the only European to ever win the World Cup both as a player and a coach, and has been recognized by fans as a legend, legendary enough to call him 'der Kaiser' which means 'The Emperor' in English. 

'El Niño'

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    Name: Fernando Torres

    Nation of Birth: Spain

    Nickname: 'El Niño'

    Fernando became an Atletico star at a young age and earned the nickname 'El Niño' meaning 'Young Boy'.


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    Name:  Gennaro Gattuso

    Nation of Birth: Italy

    Nickname: 'Braveheart'

    During his stint at Rangers, the controversial Italian was labelled 'Braveheart'. Can you see the resemblance

'The King'

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    Name: Pele

    Nation of Birth: Brazil

    Nickname: 'Rei' (translated as: 'The King')

    For being the all-time leading scorer of the Brazil national team and with three World Cup wins, you have to expect Pele to have a prestigious nickname of some description. And that he has, Pele has been labelled as 'The King' by football fans worldwide.

'Spice Boy'

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    Name: David Beckham

    Nation of Birth: England

    Nickname: 'Spice Boy'

    It seems that the focus of today's fans has switched from the pitch to outside of it, and when you have a player like David Beckham to focus on, why not? 

    Beckham has a personal life you can compare to an actor's, and has been nicknamed 'Spice Boy' by the press due to his glamorous lifestyle and a £125 million marriage to Victoria Beckham, former Spice Girl.


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    Name: Zinedine Zidane

    Nation of Birth: France

    Nickname: 'Zizou'

    This nickname might not actually stand for anything, but it sounds good and a player like Zinedine Zidane can't go unmentioned on any top list.

'El Fenómeno'

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    Name: Ronaldo

    Nation of Birth: Brazil

    Nickname: 'El Fenómeno'

    The recently retired Brazilian star was one of the most phenomenal strikers the world has ever seen. This quote from Sir Bobby Robson says it all:

    "You can go anywhere in the world and you won't find a player who can score goals like Ronaldo. He can pick the ball up anywhere and turn that into a goal scoring situation on his own. He is simply sensational"

'The Beast'

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    Name: Julio Baptista

    Nation of Birth: Brazil

    Nickname: 'The Beast'

    Due to his massive build, the Brazil and Malaga attacking midfielder has been nicknamed 'The Beast' by fans. 


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    Name: Mark Hughes

    Nation of Birth: Wales

    Nickname: 'Sparky'

    The Welshman developed the nickname 'Sparky' when he and his mates decided to be nicknamed after a comic book and Hughes chose 'Sparky', a famous comic book at the time.

    Some fans argue that it was because he was once a frustrated electrician, but he has personally denied that claim.