The next time someone quotes William Shakespeare’s “What’s in a name” phrase to you, refer them to Brazil. Apart from the fact that their footballers have won the World Cup five times, they also have had players with possibly the most bizarre names — sometimes, from personalities and characters that had nothing to do with the game.
For once, imagine this as a piece of commentary: “Bambam passes the ball to Pikachu. He tries to make some space for Argel F**ks but chooses to pass it on to Mahatma Gandhi. It’s a brilliant run from Gandhi as he dribbles past two defenders before switching the ball towards the left flank where he finds Mosquito. Mosquito to Pitbull, Pitbull to Marlon Brandao and it’s ended at the back of the net!” Well, had the players who have such names come close to the footballing skills of the likes of Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Kaka etc…, they might actually have been a part of the Brazilian national team.
Here’s to name a few:
Marcos Bambam: He literally thought a Flinstones character would help him earn more reputation than Marcos Antonio Simao Pereira but then, probably Fred and Barney would have been more suited to European football!
Pikachu: As has been the case with Brazilian full backs over the years, Glaybson Yago Souza Lisboa is prolific upfront and has more than 40 goals to his name. However, with Yago Pikachu as his name, in the footballing circuit, do the clubs want to sign him or capture him?
John Lennon: Unlike the last two, John Lennon Silva Santos actually has the name in his original name. He joined Botafogo in 2012, and with a few of their fans who think Lennon’s 1974 album Walls and Bridges actually features their team, it was always going to be a tough task to fit the bill. He has been loaned back to his hometown club Atletico Goianiense.
Ben-Hur: Not quite on a chariot, but Ben-Hur Moreira Peres has actually been a part of 12 clubs — none who would perhaps recall him as a valiant warrior — in his career without much success.
Argel F**ks: Well, perhaps we should just leave it to that but then someone who has switched 22 clubs in eight years in his managerial career, needs to be talked about. Argel, who was part of the U-20 Brazil side that won the Fifa World Cup and the South American Youth Championship, did play for a few good clubs like Porto, Santos, Palmeiras but his footballing skills could never match up to the recognition his controversial name did.
Rafael Scheidt: Celtic signed him for £4.8million in 1999 and apparently him a good £20,000 as weekly wages but injuries and illness limited him to just 90 minutes of football. Martin O’Neill had once told him: “I like footballers who are not like you. I like footballers who play well.” Let’s not go further.
Marlon Brandao: Not one, but Brazil actually had two Godfathers. But while the maximum Marlon Brandao could reach was the upper tiers of Portuguese football, Mario Brandao da Silveira was last known to feature in the second division of the Japan Professional Football League.
Mahatma Gandhi: If there are trophies for clubs with footballers with most bizarre-names, Atletico Goianiense might have to build a separate trophy cabinet. Apart from this footballer named Mahatma Gandhi Heberpio Mattos Pires who played alongside John Lennon Silva Santos, they also had a Michael Jackson, ummm… we mean Carlos Adriano de Souza Cruz.
Creedence Clearwater Couto: Parents usually force their kids to take up a particular career. However in this case, Couto’s father Alfanio, who was a huge fan of roots rock legends Creedence Clearwater Revival, decided to force his child to live with a name that he has to explain to every second person he meets. His Wikipedia page states: “Creedence Clearwater Couto (born March 6, 1979), commonly known as Paulista (for simplicity).” Well then, good luck Paulista!
Mosquito: This is one footballer on this list who actually stung a bit. Well, not sure if that inspired his name, but clubs like Manchester United and Juventus had apparently shown interest in signing the 21-year-old in the recent past. He used to play for Vasco da Gama a couple of seasons back and had done well for Brazil’s youth teams.
Claudio Pitbull: When he secured a move to Porto in 2005, the songs “Don’t stop the party” and “Give me everything” might have been on his playlist but soon, the stocky aggressive striker was loaned out to clubs in Saudi Arabia and Romania. Alas, shut it down.