The FIFA World Cup 2018 has been one of the most topsy-turvy and unexpected world cup in recent history. As this global spectacle reaches its tipping point, we’ve got to spare a moment and truly admire the action that has been on display this past month. As the millions of fans descend upon Russia, one thing that every fan will agree with is this: FIFA World Cup 2018 has been a proper war with some of the most tremendous battles breaking out between giants and minnows alike.
These battles have thrown some of the greatest players into the dust, while other stars have been born. Be it Javier Mascherano playing with a foot-long slit on his face or Danijel Subasic standing on one leg against Russia, we have seen some beast-like displays across all teams. Whatever may be the result this Sunday, it is fitting to look back at some of the most indomitable warriors and how they compare to our famous African animals.
Cristiano Ronaldo: The Leopard
One of the most clever and cunning of all cats, the leopard does not stop at anything. Once it sets eyes on its prey, it will run on land, climb trees and swim through water to get to it. Most of the time you will not see it coming, and that leap will leave you with no chance of making it out alive. That is exactly how Cristiano Ronaldo plays the game – super-fast, super-decisive, clever with a tremendous leap. Try pulling him down once he’s airborne (he might just turn into a dolphin).
Lionel Messi: The Elephant Shrew
They look really cute, they seem really harmless, they always stay safe and some believe they’re even faster than a cheetah! Sounds like someone you know? Yes, sounds a lot like Lionel Messi! The elephant shrew is one of those animals that never lets go. Its pace makes it unbelievably hard to catch and always ends up getting the upper hand. Messi is pretty much the same – he hardly gets injured and when he gets going, there isn’t a player in the world that can stop him!
Kylian Mbappe: The Cheetah
The standout star of the tournament, Kylian Mbappe’s lethal pace was the undoing of Argentina. While Olivier Giroud draws blanks in front of goal, this mean machine has the capacity to outrun an entire team in a matter of a few seconds. Just like the cheetah, Mbappe’s leaps are the secret behind his Olympic pace. Before you know it, he’s charging towards goal at 40 kilometers per hour – pretty much what makes the Cheetah one of the most feared big cats.
Harry Kane: The Silverback Gorilla
The silverback gorilla is the leader of the pack and the pillar of the group. England’s young and ambitious side have one man on a mission; a man who you cannot move off the ball once he gets going – it’s their captain Harry Kane. Once you hear him roar, you will know exactly what I’m talking about!
Mohammed Salah: The African Wild Dog
Unlike popular opinion about dogs, the african wild dog is one of the most agile and ruthless carnivores you can come across. Their size does not go to define their strength even one bit. The same goes for reigning African Player of the Year Mohammed Salah. Sleek, swift and super-agile, Mohammed Salah might not be built big, but he has a true hunger for goals and will fight right until the end.
Paul Pogba & Ngolo Kante: The Lion and Lioness
The lioness is always on the move. She hunts for herself, her lion as well as her cubs. She has eyes everywhere and it is almost impossible to get to her pride without going through her – this sums up Ngolo Kante’s role quite accurately. The Lion always looks elegant and rested with a streak for the unconventional. He doesn’t do the dirty work but is on the front page of every animal magazine you find. Paul Pogba is one talented player who always seems relaxed and rested, suddenly springing to life. Thanks to his partner in the park, he can really lion that midfield like no other!
Diego Costa: The Hippopotamus
They look much older than their age. They are massive and can be quite the bullies if they wanted. All traits point to one spanish matador – Diego Costa. He is big and strong, has a ton of power, looks like he’s 40 and can bully the living daylights out of the defenders he faces. He also seems like the guy who would be extremely lazy off the field – the perfect match once again!
Sergio Ramos: The Hyena
You may not like his ways, but he is one of the most decorated players of all time. Moreover, if there was ever a guy who you take into battle, it would probably be Sergio Ramos. Hyenas are not the prettiest creatures, they’re not the most elegant either. But they have the strongest jaws in the animal kingdom and they are always ready to get down and dirty. They will stop at nothing and take away what’s yours right at the death, after you have done all the work. Ask Sergio Ramos how many times he’s done that, it’s uncanny!
Luis Suarez: The Jackal
Jackals are not the most gifted of animals, but they are extremely clever and opportunistic. They thrive in the making most of what the moment gives them, just like the Uruguayan sniper Luis Suarez. He is sneaky, cunning and waits in the shadows until the right moment arrives. More often than not, he is in the right place at the right time and will make you pay for your lack of concentration. Jackals, just like Suarez, are not picky and will resort to any means to satisfy their hunger.
As the World Cup final spells the end of a month-long war, we hope to see some of these beasts battle it out one last time for the ultimate prize of them all. Who’s your pick for the biggest winner of them all?
Think we might have missed out any other uncanny resemblance between a footballer and an animal? We are all ears! Let us know in the comments section.