Oluwamayowa Idowu: Ronaldo. The original Ronaldo. Made me cry when he went missing in the France 98 final.
Four years later, he won me a 500 Naira bet. I had told my Uncle the day the competition started that Brazil will win. His choice? England. (HAHAHAHA).
Made me approach a barber to replicate that awful haircut he wore in the 2002 final.
THOSE leg overs against Ghana in 2006.
A true great whose trademark smile encapsulated his charisma.
When I still played football, I was a right back and also had a spell where I supported AC Milan as a child. Cafu captures the essence of the modern wing back. If his greatness was ever doubted, he’s the only man to play in three World Cup finals (winning two).
Folarin Gbenro: It’s probably Ronaldo de Lima, the REAL one and not “Cristiano Alveiro”. When I think of the joy he elicited in me as a kid watching him play it always makes me melancholic how his injuries curtailed what could have been an even greater career. He’s a major reason behind me being a football fanatic today.
Somto Mbah: Ronaldo Luis Nazario De Lima. Just for the way he effortlessly put the ball into the back of the net in his heyday for Brazil. The World Cup’s all-time leading marksman was a terror to defences. His last goal at a World Cup where he was clear on goal, then performed his trademark quick stepover which left the keeper cursing inwardly, before tapping it into the net sent a roar that could have shaken the Berlin Wall. Such was his mastery, an efficient goal-scoring showman. Sorry, they do not get any better than that.
Michael Famoroti: Sir Geoff Hurst: “Two World Wars and one World Cup. England, England”. The 1966 World Cup was a special tournament. It was the day football finally came home. The British, the originators of the game had finally won the greatest prize of them all and what a way to win it. Sir Geoff Hurst is the only man to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final. His second goal was the original “ghost goal” on the grandest stage of them all. And he wasn’t even a starter when the tournament began. The mercurial Jimmy Greaves had gotten injured and Sir Alf Ramsey decided to keep Hurst in the lineup even after Greaves’ return. And oh boy, Hurst definitely repaid that faith. He scored the winner in his first game – the 1-0 quarter-final victory over perennial rivals Argentina before that hat-trick in the final. Hurst’s immortality was sealed with his third and final goal, the goal that inspired commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme to utter perhaps the most famous World Cup quote of all time – “They think it’s all over… Well it is now…” The Brazilians see the World Cup as their tournament but Sir Geoff Hurst made sure that at least for four years, football was back home. And we all know there’s no place like home.
Demeyin Agbeyegbe: The great Zinedine Zidane. The great player basically single handedly won the world cup final in 1998 and had a really great run in 2006 barring his red card. One argues he was the best player in that tournament and his performance against Brazil in the quarter finals was a joy to behold. A true midfield master class and a truly great footballer worthy of being a World Cup hero.