Ever wondered what would happen if modern footballers were superheroes? Well, we here at O87 decided to answer that question. We present to you The League of Extraordinary Footballers, a team of superheroes with, ahem, amazing abilities. Each player is highlighted for a particular quality. And in the spirit of the campy comic books of the 40s and 50s, their powers must somehow derive from radioactive substances. Enjoy!
Alter Ego: Theo Walcott
Abilities: Super speed
Backstory: Rescued at a young age from evil Scouser parents by the magnanimous Professor Wenger, Theo grew up in his guardian’s North London fortress, learning the Gunner way of life. Wenger spent many years trying in vain to convince his young protégé that his allegiances should lie with Arsenal, but it was a lesson Theo would have to learn for himself. One winter afternoon while watching his beloved Liverpool FC on television, Walcott witnessed something truly terrible.
His boyhood idol, Captain Gerrard, took off his mask and revealed his true identity by skying a penalty attempt over the crossbar at Ewood Park. He wasn’t a superhero after all! Theo vowed never to support the Reds again. That very day, in a training ground incident at Emirates, his fate would be sealed. Bending down to tie his shoe after a grueling offense-defense drill, Theo inhaled a dangerous amount of radioactive sideline chalk and hobbled to his feet. When he regained his composure, he discovered he could run twice as fast as the average footballer! The Flash was born.
Weakness: The Flash has trouble harnessing the power of his amazing ability. He spends most of his time on the pitch dribbling at a ridiculous pace only to lose the ball seconds later. Time will tell if his superpower will ever become relevant, or whether he will be consigned to superhero mediocrity along with the Wonder Twins and Catwoman.
Alter Ego: Angel di Maria
Abilities: Fish-like reflexes, speed, telepathy
Backstory: Growing up on the banks of the Rio Parana, Angel di Maria spent many weekends on the water with his fisherman father. One foggy day, the family’s trawler collided with a breaching river manatee (later identified as a sunbathing Diego Maradona), knocking Angel overboard. The boy miraculously survived, despite being submerged for two hours. As he later discovered, a school of radioactive fish had saved his life and imbued him with superhuman abilities. Aquaman took to the water like Berlusconi to underage women. After studying with marine biologists at Benfica Laboratories in Lisbon, he made his move to Madrid, where he perfected his most important ability yet – diving.
Weakness: Though Aquaman’s propensity for diving is truly amazing, his power only seems to work underwater. Since embarking on a footballing career, the Argentine’s ability to fall headfirst at will has lost its potency (even turning him into a villain in the eyes of some). Nonetheless, Aquaman’s speed and telepathic understanding remain valuable assets.
Alter Ego: Heurelho Gomes
Abilities: Heightened senses (due to blindness)
Backstory: Heurelho Gomes began his career as an average goalkeeper in Brazil’s lower divisions with dreams of making it big. When he received a call-up for the Brazilian U23 national side, the young goalie decided to celebrate with a liter of radioactive bootleg cachaca and a pair of transvestites provided by his compatriot Ronaldo. Awaking the next morning, Heurelho opened his eyes but saw nothing – he was blind! Since then, without the aid of sight, Daredevil has relied on his other four senses in his quest to save goals…and save the world.
Weakness: Being able to smell and taste the ball hasn’t helped Daredevil’s game, as the loss of sight has seriously impacted his ability to judge seemingly simple shots. (On the other hand, his newfound echolocation does help him hear the ball hit the back of the net.) Like Ben Affleck, who starred in the eponymous film, Daredevil won’t be winning any awards anytime soon.
Alter Ego: Scott Parker
Abilities: Strength, speed, stamina
Backstory: Little is known of his formative years, but if legend is to be believed, Scott Parker was saved from Planet Newcastle moments before its destruction and delivered to Earth, where he was rescued by Alan Curbishley and raised in Upton Park. Scott grew up unaware of his superpowers, but when the same doom that claimed Newcastle faced his West Ham team, he vowed to fight against the forces of evil. Superman became a symbol of hope for the Hammers, and since his arrival in East London, he’s abandoned his alter ego as a mild-mannered midfielder and donned his claret and blue cape.
Weakness: The Man of Steel lacks the irreverent, unbecoming lifestyle typical of England national players and hasn’t received many call-ups as a result. Some have suggested that creating a sex tape, sleeping with prostitutes, swearing at cameras, or shooting a student at point blank range may help his cause. Truth is, England could use a Superman.
The Hulk – Hulk
Captain America – Landon Donovan
The Fantastic Four – Alexander Pato (Mister Fantastic), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Human Torch), Robinho (Invisible Woman), Antonio Cassano (The Thing)
Batman – Martin Demichelis: