We won’t pretend that Wednesday’s UEFA Champions’ League Final between Manchester United and Barcelona will be as big as the Super Bowl here in the U.S. But in Europe, it’s better than the Super Bowl. With its popularity ever-increasing, more and more people are watching the Champions League, if for no other reason than to tide themselves over until the next World Cup (or, for my money, the 2012 Euros).
With that in mind, we present to you, Cinema’s Starting 11, whom we think could hold their own against any club team Europe can muster:
Monk (Jason Statham) in Mean Machine (1)
He’s got the key ingredient to be a supreme goalkeeper – crazy. He’s full of it. He’s probably the craziest goalkeeper this side of Jens Lehmann. He has a “killer instinct” and would do just about anything to win the “war on the pitch.” It’ll just be up to some of the rest of players to keep him in the area and not dribble the ball up the pitch.
Terry Brady (Bobby Moore) in Victory (6)
Well, he helped beat the Nazis. What more do you want? He’s an English soccer legend, and is the most dependable of the cinematic defenders. You could rest easy with him playing the back line.
Iron Shirt Tin (Kai Man Tin) in Shaolin Soccer (22)
He may look short and dorky. But underneath lies a soccer powerhouse in the form of a flat gut. He has a nose stomach for the ball, and will stop most incoming shots from the opposing team. Like the centre-forward, his Shaolin mysticism will carry him through anything the other team can dish out.
Viola Hastings (Amanda Bynes) in She’s the Man (13)
A controlled player that will handle the ball well and push when necessary. She’s equally adept at deceipt which could be an asset on the pitch, especially if FIFA rules ever prohibit a co-ed team. Smart player, accurate passer, and very funny when given the right material.
Buddy in Air Bud: World Pup (K-9)
Buddy immediately makes your team better. He has a good low center of gravity, and the lack of hands ensures no sloppy hand ball fouls. He’s got a quick burst of speed on the outside, and although very, very short, plays like a centre-back inside the six-yard box. He’s deadly in set pieces, and is a surprisingly accurate passer. If he could talk, he might be the captain.
Jimmy Muir (Sean Bean) in When Saturday Comes (16)
Sure, he’s old. But he has a ruggedness to him that would prove vital in a dog-eat-dog midfield battle. With his blue-collar work ethic, he’d be sure to play in the centre with undying relentlessness.
Matthew / Martha (Jonathan Brandis) in Ladybugs (16)
Whether he plays as a man or a woman, Matthew is head and shoulders above his/her competition. More than that, he’s an encouraging force on the pitch, and if he can pick up downtrodden players like Penny Pester, he can be counted on as an emotional, as well as talented, leader on the pitch. And it’s just a good rule to have a backup transgender. (See: Ronaldinho/Shelley Duvall look-alike on AC Milan)
Jess Kaur Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) in Bend it Like Beckham (7)
She’s a bit of a wildcard for sure. She has a lot of off-the-pitch issues, but when she is on the pitch she is a great versatile player, able to play up front or in the midfield giving support to the attack. She’s a great free kick taker, and would be counted on to keep offensive pressure on the opponents. Also, she can lead the team in a seemingly impromptu, yet precisely choreographed dance after every victory.
Captain Luis Fernandez (Pelé) in Victory (10)
The guy plays hurt and is still the best player on the pitch. This is a no-brainer and allows some flexibility with the front line. Luis can play back and lob balls into the area, or can play a great shadow striker, waiting to pounce or create his own opportunities. And the money he can still bring in from Puma endorsements would help fund sequel squads for years to come.
Santiago Muñez (Kuno Becker) in Goal! The Dream Begins (26)
A sleeper that came on when he was introduced to the Newcastle starting lineup. He plays well on the outside, doing well in centering the ball and creating chances. Contract with Adidas requires cameos by Beckham and Raúl, which could be coordinated for fan appreciation day. We could count on a lot of assists from this kid if he gets any accuracy in centering to…
Mighty Steel Leg Sing (Stephen Chow) in Shaolin Soccer (10)
It’s hard to argue with this pick. I’m not sure anyone kept official stats on the major tournament, but in his teams 40-0 victory in the first game, he may have scored 20+ goals in one match! Accuracy and leg strength are unmatched. If Shaolin embodiment wasn’t a banned substance in FIFA’s governing rule, we might be discussing Steel Leg as the greatest centre forward in the history of the game.
Gordon McCloud (Robert Duvall) in A Shot at Glory
His club was never given a chance, and he made a lot out of nothing, pulling small-timers Kilnockie into the Scottish Cup Finals against perennial favorites Rangers. Plus, the Scottish accent (love it or hate it) brings out the best in tactical discussions. Just ask Celtic’s Gordon Strachan. Oh, nevermind. Fergie it is.
Juan Morales (Anthony Esquivel) in The Big Green
The savior in The Big Green thanks to his late entrance in the final. Gives fresh legs off the bench and can play almost anywhere on the pitch. Would take him over Theo Walcott any day. He’s too busy with two different England squads anyway.
Lincoln in Soccer Dog: The Movie
Another versatile player off the bench, and could be a starter if Buddy wasn’t already playing on the right side. After all, they are dogs, they’d just be sniffing each other all match. Like Wes Brown and Gary Neville. It happened.
Grace Bowen (Carly Schroeder) in Gracie
Tenacity and Never-Give-Uptitude. A couple of great characteristics to have coming off the bench. She’d like Niklas Bendtner of Arsenal, yet would look much better wearing pink boots.
Danny Meehan (Vinnie Jones) in Mean Machine
It’s hard not to include ex-England captain Danny Meehan on this list, but he’s relegated to the bench, because you never know when he’s trying to fix a match. But the good news is, in the second half of games, he’s usually out there to win – sub him in anywhere around the 60 minute mark. He’ll bust heads like the Juggernaut.
– ROSS CONKEY
There you are. Have your say below. Who would you include?
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