I know it’s never nice to laugh at someone’s name, but there are some out there that just make you go “what were their parents thinking?”

Last weekend, I was hanging out with my colleagues Nasa ”Nasassistic” Maria Entaban Nasa and Melody L. Goh when the Chelsea-Aston Villa game started playing.

Now whenever the R.AGE gang go out together we inevitably turn into a bunch juveniles; and that night, we had some pretty good laughs over the name of Chelsea’s Russian left-back — Yuri Zhirkov.

Basically, we spent the whole night waiting for the commentator to say ”Zhirkov with the ball”. It never came.

What did come to mind however, were a few Henrique Hilario(s) names that I’ve come across in football.

Francisco ”Chiqui” Arce

Apparently, the Paraguayan right-back and freekick maestro didn’t like the way his name sounded, so he decided to change it to ”Chiqui” (pronounced cheeky) Arce. True story.

Dean Windass

Hot air: Dean Windass is quite a, erm, character.

Hot air: Dean Windass is quite a, erm, character.

If only Windass could’ve played with Rafael van der Vaart (the Dutch sometimes pronounce ”V” like an ”F”) in the same team. But he was always popular at the clubs he played for with his bustling, never-say-die style of play, especially Bradford City and Hull City. His disciplinary record, though, would suggest he was a bit of an @$$. He once got THREE red cards in ONE game. Go figure.

Nicky Butt

Nicky Butt cheering in glory of his name.

Nicky Butt cheering in glory of his name.

Who cares if Nicky was the butt of many jokes while was growing up. Thie footballer had last laugh when he became one of the famed ”Fergie’s Fledglings” to win the Treble in 1999. Pele even called him the best player of the tournament at the 2002 World Cup, not that anyone gives a toss about what he has to say.

Olivier de Cock

The former Belgian international is every football commentator’s greatest nightmare (alongside Diniyar Bilyaletdinov). It didn’t help that he had a pretty decent career, mostly playing with Club Brugge, one of Belgium’s most successful clubs and regulars at the Champions League.

Leo Messi

If he didn't scare the living daylights outta defenders, we'd probably be making more fun of his name.

If he didn't scare the living daylights outta defenders, we'd probably be making more fun of his name.

He’s the tidiest footballer on the planet with the ball at his feet, and that’s probably why nobody ever seems to laugh at what a mess his name is.

Brian Pinas

The Dutch winger made the brave choice of moving to England to play for Newcastle United in 1997 when he was 19, considering the *ahem* stick he would get for his last name (it’s not pronounced peen-ahs, by the way). Unfortunately for him, no one took him seriously. He returned to Holland after two seasons having barely played for the Geordies.

Uwe Fuchs

His father, Fritz Fuchs, was a footballer too, but nobody laughed at the senior Fuchs presumably because he never plied his trade in England. Uwe, on the other hand, started playing in English in 1995. He was a favourite among the Middlesborough fans when he helped them win promotion to the Premier League, but later sold to Millwall. Can you imagine the headlines in the papers? ”Fuchs’ off” comes to mind.

Stefan Kuntz

If there’s any consolation for the German former Bundesliga player and top scorer, it’s that his name is not quite pronounced the same as the word you’re thinking about now. But it’s still a classic.

Segar Bastard

Son of Dirty Little. Just kidding. He played during the 1870s and 1880s, and had one appearance for England. Unlike Kuntz, he can’t say it has some fancy foreign pronunciation being an Englishman. He’s really just a Bastard.

Have-A-Look Dube

This name is so hard to believe that I had to Google and Wikipedia it. It seems Have-A-Look is in fact, a real footballer from Zimbabwe. I can imagine his agent having a tough time asking scouts to have a look at Have-A-Look.

Einar Aas

It sounds like a Scot saying ”in ‘er…” Oh, never mind. The Norwegian central defender played for Bayern Munich and Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forrest during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

David Seaman


Main man: David Seaman is happy with his name.

Not many people appreciate how funny his name is. Think long and hard about this one. It’ll come to you.

The CAPS United team

And finally, you can always count on the Zimbabweans to come up with killer names. CAPS United is one of the biggest clubs in the Zimbabwean Premier League, and also the home to Danger Fourpence. And this ain’t like Austin ”Danger” Powers. That’s his actual name.

It’s not that hard to believe if you consider his teammates are Method Mwanjali, Limited Chikafa, Marvel Samaneka, Heavens Chinyama, Gift Makoloni and, wait for it … Laughter Chilembe. I guess Sunderland’s Benjani was one of the lucky ones.

Best of the rest: Paul Dickov (former Manchester City), Danny Shittu (Bolton Wanderers), Raymond Undi (Zimbabwe), Zoltan Kiss (Debreceni), Wayne Wanklyn (former Reading), Two-Boys Gumede (Panama City Pirates), and though he’s not a footballer, Gary and Phil Neville’s father, Neville Neville, deserves a mention.

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