We’re no strangers to writing article on soccer and our favorite footballers. Hell, we’ve written more about David Beckham than probably any other one person, and we have no intentions or signs of stopping now. The reason for this, apart from being soccer fanatics, is that soccer (yes, we’re ignorant Americans and don’t call it “football,” which we admit makes more sense,) has an almost innate ability to, through the decades produce the most stylish athletes in the world, bar none. American athletes may dominate in terms of (in some cases ) fame and fortune, but we all know that soccer is watched and loved by more people the world over, with some of the salaries of top-tier players rivaling the GDP of a small nation.
Now a huge reason, we think, for the soccer world having a overwhelming majority and insanely dense amount of stylish athletes is simple: Europeans simply are the best-dressed men in the world (or, better said, non-American men tend to dress better than us Yanks.) We may hold the dubious title (and, boy do we mean it,) of “Best Country on Earth,” we sure as shit aren’t winning any worldwide style contests anytime soon.
So, to give our two cents of the “Best Of” list that has been done to death and is sure to elicit scoffs, anger, and maybe even the rare head nod of approval, we give you not necessarily our favorite footballers ever, but definitely the ones who could moonlight as GQ models if the whole athlete-thing wasn’t an option. Enjoy and Ole.
GEORGE BEST (NORTHERN IRELAND)
You know the stories. You know the quotes. You know the name. The man so legendary for his exploits off the pitch that Oasis titled a song after the question a sobbing bellhop asked Best after catching him in a hotel bed with a naked Miss Universe. Georgie Best had a legendary career and life cut short but fast living, but left an indelible mark on the game and left a blueprint for future playboys/athletes to follow.
OLIVIER GIROUD (FRANCE)
We love to watch Giroud play, leading France to a World Cup victory in 2018, but the man is too godddamn handsome. He doesn’t even look like a soccer player. He looks like someone that should be in a cologne ad campaign for Dolce and Gabbana.
CRISTIANO RONALDO (PORTUGAL)
We all knew we’d get around to Ronaldo, sooner or later. And, though he may be a divisive player and is always in the conversation with Lionel Messi as best in the world, one thing that’s not up for debate is Ronaldo’s style credentials. While he has a reputation as being a flopper and a bit of a drama queen, the Portuguese legend is possibly the most fashionable footballer ever, with one exception to be mentioned later.
FILIPPO INZAGHI (ITALY)
Our first Italian, but sure as hell not the last, Pippo endeared himself to us forever as a member of the Azzurri and as captain of our favorite Serie A club A.C. Milan. It’s no secret that the annual Italian national squad photo looks like a spread in Vogue, and Inzaghi will always be one of the standard bearers of Calcio de Italia.
GERARD PIQUE (SPAIN)
Athletes get the girls. Great athletes get supermodels. World-class footballers get Shakira. Spain’s Gerard Pique has legendary skills on the pitch and legendary hair to go with it, being one of the best-coiffed players in history. That’s not a requirement to be one this list, but it doesn’t hurt.
GARETH BALE (WALES)
Speaking of good hair, Welsh player Gareth Bale is the owner of possible the most enviable hair in all of sports. Now, in recent years, he may have let it grow out and a little too man-bun-y for us, but we know that we’ll always be one trip to the barber away from legendary hair status.
RIO FERDINAND (ENGLAND)
A legend in his own right, Rio Ferdinand was sometimes overshadowed by some of the other icons of football who shared time with him on the English national squad and the legendary Manchester United lineup of the early and mid-2000s. Though he was and remains one of the great center-backs of his era, it was difficult to stand out while playing alongside David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, and Wayne Rooney. That said, Rio has always been one of our unsung favorites and owns any room he enters with his slick yet understated style game.
THIERRY HENRY (FRANCE)
One of the greatest Frenchmen to ever play the game, Henry remains one of the best-dressed men on Earth, and the photo from his GQ spread proves.
ANDREA PIRLO (ITALY)
If you were going to cast a Bond villain who loved fine art, was impeccably dressed, was one of the best Italian soccer players ever, and already had a cool yet ominous-sounding nickname, you would most likely create L’Architetto, Andrea Pirlo. If he’s not believable to you as top baddie in a James Bond film, he’s most definitely convincing as your friendly (but also pricey) neighborhood tailor/haberdasher, as long as that neighborhood is in Milan.
DAVID BECKHAM (ENGLAND)
Yes…we gave away the ending at the beginning and finish the list off with a man who is on every one of these listed written since 2002 and will be written until the end of recorded time. David Beckham was a great football player, one of the best of his generation. But he’s not an all-time great mentioned in the same conversations as the Peles, the Maradonas, the Messis, or the Cruyffs. But he remains one of the most respected players and lauded ambassadors of the game and love world-over. But Beckham transcends soccer and has risen to icon status the way Oprah was a talk show host and journalist by occupation but rose to an almost unimpeachable level of untouchability that few in history have attained. That said, if he could get American citizenship, we’d slap his name next to hers on the 2020 ticket if we didn’t have an aversion for celebs-turned-politicians.