Role models are important. They inspire us and give us a goal to aim for. There is something about the famous that draws us and excites us, and as parents we can encourage our children to find role models that will be positive in their lives. Here are five players for little soccer stars to look up to:
- Johan Cruyff – A Dutch man who played for both Ajax and Barcelona in the 1960s and 1970s, Cruyff is widely acknowledged to be Europe’s all time best player. He succeeded in a wide variety of positions thanks to his participation in the “Total Football” view of the sport, which had players move around between offence and defence in order to build strong players who could address any issue on the field. He won three European Player of the Year awards and many Dutch and European Championships, but unfortunately he always fell short of the World Cup title.
- Cristiano Ronaldo plays forward for Real Madrid and is the captain of the Portuguese national team. Born in 1985, he was the highest paid player of the year in 2009 when he moved from Manchester United. He has won three European Golden Shoe awards, three FIFA awards, and was named by the Portuguese Football Federation as the best Portuguese football player of all time in January 2015.
- Marta Viera da Silva is a Brazilian footballer more commonly known simply as Marta. She is one of the most talented female soccer players in the history of the sport, and she is currently tied, with Brigit Prinz, for the all time leading goal scorer with 14 goals. She’s been named FIFA World Player of the Year a whopping FIVE times!
- Eusebio is known as one of the greatest footballers in history. He was renowned for his technique, speed, and amazing right foot – which helped him to become a mighty goal scorer. Born in 1942, he won the Primeira Liga top-scoring award a record seven times! Overall, in his professional career, he scored 790 goals.
- Mia Hamm, an American football player whose name has become synonymous with women’s soccer, has actually been retired since 2004. She led the US team to the Women’s World Cup victory in 1991 and 1999 and to Olympic Gold in 1996 and 2004. One of just two women to be included in the FIFA 100 list, she is perhaps the most celebrated and successful female soccer player in history.
- Pele is a name that is synonymous with football, even people who know almost nothing about him know his name! He’s been named by numerous lists as being the top soccer player of the 20th century, and as well the top athlete in any sport. He’s listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the most scores in soccer history, and though he retired from the sport to his native Brazil way back in 1977, he continues to have influence over the sport and worldwide fame.