‘May the 4th be with you’. Yes, it’s Star Wars Day again, and to honour the legendary film franchise, the Ladbrokes News team have been discussing which famous good guys from the world of football would find themselves fighting for the rebellion, and who has been corrupted by the darker parts of the beautiful game.
Here’s our line-up…
The Light Side:
It’s been an incredible journey for the man who began his senior career as a young Padawan at Stocksbridge Park Steels, and has grown to become a footballing Jedi Master, with the Premier League winner’s medal to prove it.
The Jedi’s force is also powerful and mystical to those who do not understand it – and many have certainly been stunned and baffled by the rise of the former Non-League hitman and his Leicester City teammates.
The man at the helm of a most unlikely triumph, he took on the old – often unpopular – powers and created a new dynasty.
Possessing that most Jedi of qualities, calmness, the Foxes gaffer has gone about defeating the illustrious powers of English football with a genial smile and a sense of humour.
He may be a virtual unknown on these shores, but the reliable Romanian international symbolised Yoda’s saying that “excitement. A Jedi craves not these things”.
Lazar – playing for Rapid Bucharest – was awarded a spot-kick when a defender for opposition Otelul Galati was adjudged to have fouled him.
Unconvinced, the heroic Lazar took the home fans’ excitement down a notch, telling the referee that he hadn’t been fouled, ordering a drop ball, and then knocking it out for an opposition goal-kick. Up there with Han Solo saving Leia, in the annals of selflessness.
Short and simple, this one. Jedi are a group who use their powers in the right way, and represent what’s good.
A man who always plays with a smile on his face, keeps calm under pressure and can excite fans with a piece of magic, Cazorla looks as happy as every bloke who gets to play Premier League football every weekend should do!
Fear not Newcastle fans, Rafa has the force.
The Dark Side:
As Star Wars Wikia succinctly puts it, some Jedi are “corrupted by the lure of the dark side”, and one formerly well-liked star who seems to have left his ethics at the door in pursuit of money is the former Aston Villa man.
Having pledged his allegiance to the Villans, with the words “I’m proving there still is loyalty in football”, he promptly packed his bags and headed off to sit on Manchester City’s bench for a huge pay packet. Shameless.
As strong and imposing as the AT-AT machines of the evil Galactic Empire, the Chelsea hitman also possesses the anger and deceit associated with the dark side.
A ferocious and sometimes petulant competitor who was most recently dismissed for his bizarre nuzzle on Gareth Barry’s neck, the Brazil-born striker is often accused of exaggerating contact and sly fouls. He’s certainly considered a villain to rival Boba Fett for the majority outside of Stamford Bridge.
Don’t get us wrong, we rather like the no-nonsense Baggies gaffer, but many consider the Welshman’s sides to be the ultimate enemy of attractive, flowing, total football. With a focus on set-pieces, defensive solidity and a fondness for brawn over brilliance, the former Stoke boss would probably field 11 stormtroopers if he could.
The all-black Albion tracksuit which Pulis is rarely – if ever – seen without, adds to the villain effect.
“The force is strong with you”, Darth Sidious told Vader in Revenge of the Sith, and there’s every chance a few referees have paraphrased those words when talking to Man United midfielder Fellaini.
Frequently embroiled in controversy over an unfortunate knack of poking his elbows into opponents’ faces, the Belgian midfielder has a reputation for using his (considerable) force in all the wrong ways.
The irascible Champions League winning manager defended his wind-up tactics and those of his Inter Milan side with the following comment – “If you have a Ferrari and I have a small car, to beat you in a race I have to break your wheel or put sugar in your tank.”
Mourinho has operated a powerful and revered dictator at every club he’s managed, but remains revered by a loyal band of followers who’ve enjoyed his success, despite finally losing his knack for dominance and success.
We’re not saying he’s Emperor Palpatine, but you might have trouble guessing which of them was publicly told “your overconfidence is your weakness”.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.