By Chris Wright
In the absence of anything else happening, here’s a cheeky l’il look at some of the most ridiculous nicknames ever bestowed to the footballing fraternity…
1. Cristian “El Cebolla/The Onion” Rodriguez: So called because his fancy feet made defenders cry back in his Penarol days.
2. Ariel “El Burrito” Ortega: Not that Ortega is named after a sloppy Mexican sandwich of course, as burrito actually translates at “Little Donkey” – which makes far more sense.
3. Philipp “Wireless” Lahm: First coined by former Bayern Munich teammate Mehmet Scholl because Lahm (who also acquired the nickname “The Magic Dwarf” at Bayern) could play anywhere on the pitch, rather than it having anything to do with him being 3G enabled.
4. Javier “The Little Pea” Hernandez: So called as his father, former Mexico striker Javier Hernandez Snr, was nicknamed “Chicharo/The Pea” on account of his bright green eyes. Doesn’t make it any less strange though!
5. Julio “El Jardinero/The Gardener” Cruz: The story goes that Cruz was working as a groundskeeper for his local team Banfield in 1993 when he was summoned over by coach Oscar Lopez to play as a ringer in a practice match. Lopez was so impressed by Cruz that he signed him shortly after and the nickname stuck.
6. Cristian “Chucho” Benitez: Former Birmingham City forward Benitez is known as ‘Chucho’, a nickname given to him by his mother back in Ecuador which apparently translates as “pesky dog” or “mongrel”.
7. Hasse “The Bank of Naples” Jeppson: So called as Napoli broke the world transfer record by paying 105 million lira (around £50,000) for the prolific Swedish striker (who was referred to as “Hasse Goldenfoot” in his native land) when they purchased him from Atlanta in 1952.
8. Lionel “The Atomic Flea” Messi: Yes, we can see the logic, but Messi’s nickname has always rankled with Pies. It’s just that “La Pulga Atomica” sounds more like a 4’10” luchador wrestler to us.
9. Diego “The Cosmic Kite” Maradona: This very “Haight-Ashbury” nickname was given to El Diego by legendary Uruguayan radio commentator Victor Hugo Morales, who bellowed “Cosmic Kite. What planet have you come from?” down the mike after Maradona scored that goal (no, not that one, the other one…) against England at the ’86 World Cup. This was presumably before the smoking of jazz cigarettes was banned in the gantry.
10. Christian “Bobo” Vieri: Most would