When the words “it’s only football” are muttered, millions of people across the world become furious. Football is not just a game that happens, something to watch and move on from after the game finishes. It is a passion and a way of life for many, the clubs they follow but also the icons of the game that draw them in.
World-class players help you fall in love with football across the UK, Europe and the rest of the world. With the way icons of the game are accessible through social media and the world-wide nature of football today reaches almost every culture in the world.
The impact footballers have had are not only in their own country, but the global reach of football also ensures that players can move around the world and clubs can become more prominent in different regions should they sign a player from a different country who has a strong following.
Who are the icons?
When Park Ji-Sung joined Manchester United, the South Korean following for the club increased with this move. People would support the player which ever club he played for, and this brought more attention to Manchester United as well as the other players in the team to the people of South Korea.
One of the biggest icons of Manchester United modern history is Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star is one of the most famous and best players to ever play football.
Ronaldo was seen as the key player to bring Manchester United back to competing for the Premier League title and premier league betting when he arrived suggested the same.
He is Real Madrid’s all-time top scorer, and his name is as much brand now from the iconic status he holds off the pitch as well as on it.
CR7 is Ronaldo’s brand, he only wears number 7 when he plays, and it is used across all his products like a CR7 blanket, underwear, fragrances and much more. His Instagram feed is the most followed with a total that exceeds 400 million followers.
With this following, Ronaldo is able to influence the culture of people that respect him. They will support the causes he supports and behave in the way he behaves towards certain people and things. He is beyond a simple role model to a global icon who can influence masses of people with his actions on and off the pitch.
Ronaldo embraces his status as an icon and role model in football, though some do not enjoy the status they receive. Lionel Messi, the competitor with Ronaldo for the world’s best player throughout their career has shown a more grounded personality despite being an icon across the globe.
Messi provides people with a more family-based culture, his wife and children are a huge part of what can be seen of him as a person. Like Ronaldo too, though Messi does not use his name as much as a brand.
He is worshipped across the world as a player who has won everything and fans from the remotest parts of the world will try to mimic his style of play. There is young boy in Afghanistan who gained viral fame for wearing a blue plastic bag with Messi written on the back and was able to eventually meet his hero. Messi met the seven-year-old who even in troubled times for his country, was able to see and dream of being like his idol.
He is a player who parents will be happy for their sons and daughters to idolise, he has a good image which promotes hard work and family which goes alongside his career as one of the greatest players in history.
Before Messi, Argentina had another star who is an icon in football, his name was Maradona. ‘El Diego’, who passed away in 2020, was a hero and a villain on and off the field. There was no hiding from any part of his life, even before the era of social media. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest of all time and his ability and skill on the pitch excited the world.
Along with this legendary skill, his off-the-pitch issues were well reported and the struggles he had to overcome are well known. He lived in a world of chaos, was a hero to those who supported his clubs or Argentina, and was vilified by his rivals, but at the end of the day, everyone can look back on his career as one of excellence.
Whether the players have a cool and cleverly crafted image to influence culture or live in a wild and chaotic lifestyle that cannot be ignored; these football idols will influence young people throughout their lives.
The players you grow up watching shape the people you become, they are more than just players on a pitch for 90 minutes at a time. They are posters on the wall and names discussed for lifetimes amongst friends and family. The true greats of football affect modern culture and how we see the world through their guidance.