Manchester United's Neville, Arsenal's Cazorla, Chelsea's Petit & more footballers we'd like to see in government.
When we saw Emmanuel Petit, once of Arsenal & Chelsea, announce earlier this week that he was planning to become president of the the French Football Federation we began brainstorming in the Sabotage office about which footballer we'd like to see become presidents of their governing bodies around the world. The question soon expanded even further, towards the realm of the ridiculous - which footballers would we like to see become presidents? Of their actual government. We've rounded up our football experts from around the world to see which footballers they'd like to see take the fate of a country into their hands. Here's the answers.
Definitely Ronaldo. He talks to politicians of every party, took part in policy making for sport and has experience as a businessman. Needless to say he is a world icon. Last year the World Cup organising committee was a mess until he decided to step in. His calming presence eased the tensions between FIFA and the Brazilian government. In an interview he gave me two weeks ago in London he told me he wants to be a politician for football and nothing else. But denying intentions is also a part of political processes, isn't it?
In these austere times in Italy there can only be one man to head the nation and that's Andrea Pirlo. A calming influence who never gives anything away when he is on the ball, economic with his passing and strolls around the pitch in a majestic manner. Plus Italy have not had a leader with a beard to rally around since the Giuseppes, Mazzini and Garibaldi.
The popular choice in Spain would be Iker Casillas who is dubbed 'San Iker' (Saint Iker) by most Spanish but I think the perfect choice would be Arsenal's Santi Cazorla. Why? Anyone who knows anything about Spanish politics will tell you that here, you are either right or left wing. It has caused wars, divided families and is an open wound that is not allowed to heal. So with that Santi would be perfect as he can cover both wings and if needed he can also take a central role.
I'd say Uli Hoeneß for German President. Notoriously thrifty (moved upstairs at Bayern when injury ended his playing career), has been on the board since the late 70s. Was an important figure in getting the Allianz Arena built, was his idea to buy 1860 Munich's stake in the ground when they were relegated and now it means 1860 rent the ground for each home game. Never fails to remind people of Bayern's structured approach will means they'll be easily able to comply with fairplay regulations.
Also not afraid to criticise, said Bayern would have won the Champions League if Mario Gomez had been 'very good' instead of just 'good.' Also complained that today's Germany team don't show as much passion as previous teams and are pampered too much.
Gary Neville. It is not too long ago when most would have balked at such a suggestion. To many other non Manchester United fans, Neville was nothing more than a rat-faced a**e who took himself, and Manchester United seriously. Since his retirement, however, Gary Neville has emerged as our country's most insightful, most engaging and most watchable football pundit. His excellent work for Sky has left their competitors and has demanded a re-appraisal of the man from previous ignorants such as myself. "Red Nev" was a passionate, one club man. A leader. The kind of player every fan wants on their side. Imagine that steely-faced focus he showed when dismissing Schmeichel's handshake instead directed towards Merkel, Obama and co at a G8 summit.
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