You may have noticed it’s the 2014 World Cup in Brasil. Soccer. Football. Whatever you call it. Many musicians want to be sports stars, and many sports stars fancy themselves as musicians. So here’s our outstanding 11-strong World Cup team selection with a mix of both.’s ass-kickin ball-hoofin’ squad has soccer-rockers and, erm, “rocker-soccerers.” You’d imagine this talented bunch might play a Ramones-like “1!-2!-3!-4!” formation, but that would be crazy. So we’ve here gone for a more traditional 4-4-2.


The U.S.A’s Seattle Sounders’ shot-stopper Marcus Hahnemann takes no prisoners with his music. “The heavier the better,” he growls and psyches himself up before games by listening to Slipknot, Mastodon, Five Finger Death Punch and Machine Head. Hahnemann has recorded a track with thrash metallers Malefice called “Omega” – he’s screaming somewhere in the mix. It’s got balls!


Sweden’s Jonas Olsson is a keen guitarist and fervent music fan. He joked with Kerrang! Radio, “One of the reasons I wanted to play football in England was the music scene.” More of a hard rock guy than a metalhead, Olsson’s muses are The Rolling Stones, Nirvana, The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan. But certainly no Jonas Brothers for him.

With his “metal warrior” hair/beard and uncompromising defending, the U.S.A’s Alexi Lalas was a hit at the 1994 World Cup in his home country. Lalas loves his ROCK! – here’s his personal list of Top 10 RATT songs! When not kicking attackers, Lalas was kicking-ass by singing and playing guitar in his band Gypsies, issuing the LPs Woodland and Jet Lag. Lalas’s solo debut, Ginger, was released in 1998. He’s supported Hootie and the Blowfish live! His signature song? “Keep Kickin’ Balls.” We hear ya!

Now a manager, ex-Croatia defender Slaven Bilić was hard as nails as a player. And Slaven likes his guitars as crunchin’ as his tackles. His favourite bands are Slayer, Metallica, AC/DC, Iron Maiden and Megadeth. His favourite guitar is a red Gibson Explorer and is a member of Rawbau, a Croatian rock group. In 2008, Rawbau recorded a song for Croatia’s appearance at Euro 2008 called “Vatreno ludilo” (“Fiery Madness”). In Croatia, it went to Number 1. Rockin’ soccer!

With his mod-esque mop, England’s 2014 World Cup left-back Leighton Baines is clearly more of an indie twanger, but he takes his guitar playing seriously. In one of his 2013 blogs for clubside Everton FC, he didn’t write about his team’s recent matches – he just wrote about his favourite albums! One of Baines’ best friends is Gibson-toting rocker Miles Kane, and Baines jumped off the England team bus into his Rio hotel this week with his acoustic guitar in hand. Poolside versions of “Wonderball” (sorry!) will surely follow…


Iron Maiden founder Steve Harris is a huge football fan, supporting London’s West Ham Utd (aka the Irons or Hammers). Harris has a WHU club crest badge on his favourite bass, a full-size pitch in his garden and, like the rest of the band, plays in their Iron Maiden football team… possibly the hairiest bunch of “sportsmen” ever known. You just know that Harris would run and run (to the hills) for his team. And Brasil loves metal, of course – see Maiden’s Rock in Rio DVD of 2013 – so expect to see a few of these official Maiden shirts on fans in coming weeks.

World Cup Soccer/Rocker Special - Iron Maiden Football Shirt
Alt-guitar legend Johnny Marr has wizardry in his feet as well as his fingers. As a teen, he was talented enough to be invited for pro football trials at England’s Nottingham Forest FC and his beloved Manchester City FC. “I was good enough for City,” Marr cheekily reckons, “but they didn’t follow up because I was probably the only player out there wearing eyeliner.” No matter, as Marr formed The Smiths soon after. His guitaring friends from Manchester, Noel Gallagher and Billy Duffy, are also dedicated Manchester City fans.

Brasil’s Sandro Raniere Guimarães Cordeiro (or just Sandro) also has skills in his fingers and feet. He’s nicknamed “Beast” by fans of his current club Tottenham Hotspur FC, but with a guitar in his hands he’s clearly a softie. But best not try and take his guitar off him: you may get kicked into touch.

Silken-footed ex-Spurs star/ex-England manager Glenn Hoddle is retired from the game now, but he’s a big guitar fan and plays himself. But he’s no hard rocker. His favourite band are reportedly The Eagles - which is foolish, as that’s also the nickname of Spurs’ London rivals Crystal Palace FC. Think it through, Glenn?

With fellow England player Chris Waddle (Hoddle and Waddle!), Glenn tried his hand at pop stardom in 1987. Watch this and be prepared to cry more than England players will when they inevitably get eliminated on penalties. Commentator: “Frankly Brian, he’s played a shocker here…”


Argentina’s Lionel Messi plays guitar when he’s not scoring goals for fun. His favorite band ever is Oasis. Honestly. “They are absolutely amazing. Their songs are incredible. I would have to say “Supersonic” and “Live Forever” are my favourites.” In 2010, Messi said if Argentina won the World Cup he’d pay “any money” for Oasis to reform for a team party.

As for his musical talent? Dare we suggest he’ll more likely find a “perfect pitch” under his feet?

One of U.K rockers’ Kasabian’s early hits was called “Club Foot.” Kasabian guitarist Serge Pizzorno clearly hasn’t got a club foot, as shown by this masterful goal in 2012’s Soccer Aid charity game, where music/entertainment stars and ex-soccer pros play together. The flummoxed goalkeeper is ex-England legend David Seaman. And it’s clearly no fluke, as Pizzorno has also showed his footie skills on TV show Soccer A.M. Watch Serge’s audacious Soccer Aid goal below. Sign him up!

And the Manager?

It has to be Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele. The Brasil legend scored 1281 goals in 1363 games in his famed footballing career, and can show our team a thing or two. And Pele’s a guitarist too. He will keep his team in perfect harmony.

Enjoy the 2014 World Cup. C’mon Bosnia-Herzegovina! Why? If they win, they’ll at least ensure the trophy engraver earns his money...