From Clooney to Tarzan, all set for Euro 2008
Footballers may not have the hardhitting nicknames of the boxing fraternity such as Tommy 'The Hitman' Hearns or 'Smoking' Joe Frazier but many at the Euro 2008 have interesting ones to say the least.
Italian striker Alessandro del Piero earned the monniker of Renaissance artist of ‘Pinturicchio’ (Bernardino di Betto) from Juventus' late owner Giovanni Agnelli, himself known as 'The lawyer', a man not unknown for handing down great artists’ names to his best players as Roberto Baggio - also known as the 'Pony-tailed Buddha' - was branded 'Raphael'.
Hollywood gets a look in as well as Greece’s Euro 2004 goalkeeping hero Antonis Nikopolidis has earned the nickname ‘Clooney’ after hearthrob George because of his prematurely greying hair, while in a less complimentary fashion Spanish defender Sergio Ramos has become known as ‘Tarzan’ on account of his long hair and muscular body.
Italian defender Marco Materazzi is either known as ‘Matrix’ or by his detractors as Macellazi — a play on words of macellaio ‘The butcher’.
Swedish veteran — and almost pensioner — Henrik Larsson is called ‘The Gold Pearl’, Spanish ’keeper Iker Casillas is ‘Saint Iker’ for his remarkable saves and one time Chelsea badboy Adrian Mutu is ‘Dynamite’ while his compatriot Marius Niculae is simply known as ‘the Arrow’.