Footballers who cycle XI – World Cup stars who love life on two wheels

It may be gray, cold and rainy here in the UK, but the World Cup is underway, which gives us the perfect excuse to pull out the tactical board and bring you a list of football stars (and stars). ‘others less worthy of the title) past and present that would make our ‘footballers who cycle XI’.

From the big names in England’s major tournament teams to winners of the Premier League, Champions League and World Cup, these are the thirteen names we would send to bring the trophy home (by bike)…

Goalkeeper – Ben Foster

Ben Foster Partnership Garmin.JPG

I mean, was it going to be anyone other than “Cycling GK”?

With eight caps for England and nearly 500 appearances over two decades with Manchester United, Watford, Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion, Foster ticks the ‘pair of safe hands’ box.

> “If a professional cyclist could walk into a football club and show the players how hard they work, it would really open their eyes,” says Ben Foster

More importantly, with over 1.2 million subscribers to his YouTube channel ‘The Cycling GK’ where he regularly documents his Zwift exploits and life on a pretty tasty Specialized S-Works Diverge, Foster has clearly caught the cycling bug. cycling.

Oh, and in March of last year, he joined us for Drink at your Desk Live to tell us about it…

Right-back – Lee Dixon

Sharing a snapshot of this beauty was always going to please us…

Centre-back — Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Bike gets the go-ahead to lead the baseline. Strong, dominant in the air, with the characteristic Dutch skill to play from the back. You would probably also give him the captain’s armband. In another life, we imagine Virgil guiding his GC leader to the front of the pack, taking no mischief and never missing the front rung.

Centre-back – Joe Williams

Suggestions for a second centre-back would be welcome. No two ways about it, we were in trouble here…

Unless you’re a regular at Ashton Gate, you’re probably shouting “who?” to us – no offense, Joe – but the Bristol City scouser’s enthusiasm for saddle-height adjustments, only to almost crash into a team-mate and blame his “deathtrap” machine was oddly relatable.

Is he a central defender? No. Do we ask him to play there? Absolutely.

Left-back – Moritz Volz

Here is the gift written by a Fulham fan…

Like Gareth Southgate, we attract as many right-backs as possible into this defence, but Volz – the scorer of the Premier League’s 15,000th goal, prompting headlines of ‘15,000 Volz’ in the back pages – is probably the one of the most deserving newcomers to our team. .

While in south-west London, the German regularly trained and played at Craven Cottage on his folding bike, with Jimmy Bullard calling his team-mate a “real crackpot” in an interview with the Guardian.

“He used to go to bike practice and sometimes to games, which is saying a lot,” Bullard said. Nothing weird about that, Jimmy…

Right Midfield – Mo Salah

As the song says: ‘Mo Salah, Mo Salah, Mo Salah, pedaling on the fender…’ or something like that…

The Egyptian King earns a spot in our XI thanks to this lockdown tweet which, painfully predictably, threw the cycling world into the corner of the hood…just enjoy the fact that one of the most famous athletes people ride bicycles.

Central Midfield — Geoff Thomas

Geoff Thomas (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Leukemia and Lymphoma Research)

The cycling exploits of former Crystal Palace, Wolves and England midfielder Geoff Thomas are legendary. After recovering from leukemia, Thomas won the 2005 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award after raising £150,000 for leukemia research by riding the entire Tour de France route days before the race.

If that wasn’t enough, he’s done it several times since, and in 2017 he completed all three Grand Tours, racking up over 10,000km. In 2021 he was awarded an MBE for his charity work and this year’s Tour 21 event raised over £800,000 by the time the fundraising riders reached Paris. Sorry, Virgil, I changed my mind. Geoff’s captain.

Central Midfield — Remco Evenepoel

Remco Evenepoel wins 2022 World Championships in Wollongong (@cauldphoto/Specialized)

You didn’t think you’d get there without a Remco mention, did you?

As you are probably all too aware by now, the new world champion began his sporting journey on the football pitch, playing for local club RSC Anderlecht before crossing the border for PSV Eindhoven.

A defensive midfielder who could also play at left-back, Remco was apparently a fairly neat passer with a good left foot and solid set-piece delivery, his stamina moving him to the middle of the park since his debut as a golakeeper.

Either way, Remco fell in love with kicking a ball and started riding a bike as a teenager. A monument, a rainbow jersey and the Vuelta a España later, I think we’re all pretty happy he did…

Left Midfield – Arjen Robben

Yes, we know he played on the right and loved to step in, but we can’t have two right wingers… ‘Arjen man, beat your man and put him in the box’…

Speaking to the Daily Mail in 2004 while at Chelsea, Robben answered a questioning question about him cycling for training… “Why not? The new complex is very close to where I live with my girlfriend, and if the weather is nice, I can go back on my bike…

“When I started playing first-team football, I didn’t have a driver’s license. I had to go by bike. I used to cycle 10 kilometers every day to go to the school, and I was also going to bike practice.”

Robben scored 37 goals in 96 caps for… yes, you guessed it, the Netherlands, playing the full match as his country lost to Spain in the 2010 World Cup final.

Striker — Alan Shearer

At the end of Robben’s crosses, Big Al, the Premier League’s all-time top scorer and proud member of the N+1 club

Striker – Michael Owen

Up top alongside Shearer is another famous English name from the 90s/00s heartbreak era – Michael Owen. The man who made live blog headlines after diving when he forgot to unclip while returning home from a round.

Come on, referee, it must be a yellow…

Managers – Roberto Mancini / Neil Warnock

Every top team needs a great manager, but what about a double act? The Italian charmer wearing a Roberto Mancini scarf alongside Football League top fisherman Neil Warnock.

Mancini, the Premier League-winning manager who arrived at Manchester City’s training ground on his £2,500 road bike and cites Francesco Moser and Marco Pantani as his heroes.

Warnock, the companion promotion specialist who takes his ride to a more leisurely pace…

We think these two should be picked up for “Neil and Roberto’s Italian Adventure” by one of the more obscure ITV channels and spend the summer wandering the Italian countryside on their bikes, tasting wine and to reminisce about the good old days.

It’s our XI, but who have we missed? Get your suggestions, preferably a centre-back, in the comments. Don’t mention Kevin Keegan…

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