Thor: Ragnarok has been ruling the roost in the worldwide box office takings, another addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. To be honest the only comic book I ever read as a kid was The Beano, but I can’t deny that these film adaptations earn the big bucks. Superhero movies are huge at the moment, the most bankable of bankers for cigar-chewing studio execs – it’s arguably the biggest genre in cinema today. In fact you could buy footballer Gareth Bale 12 times over with the money that Avengers: Age Of Ultron made at the box office, and still have some cash left over.
Speaking of football, I think it would also be fair to think that football is the biggest sport in the world today. With TV deals for the Premier League bigger than ever now, the sport looks set to continue making money itself. So this got me thinking, for all the heroes we see putting a shift in week after week for their clubs (looking at you N’Golo Kanté), how would a literal superhero team line up?
To clarify, right from the get go I’ve decided that Superman is too perfect for his own good, so I’m ruling out DC characters here and looking at a Marvel Movies Dream Team XI. I will include X-Men and Fantastic Four characters though, as they are technically Marvel characters too… I’m afraid Captain Fantastic himself Mr John Terry will not be on this list despite donning his full kit and shin pads costume. Although I’m sure the former England and Chelsea legend would have some useful tips for the centre backs I’ve chosen here…
Some may cower in fear at this lot but, to be fair, can they do it on a cold Tuesday night in Stoke?
Goalkeeper: Mr Fantastic
Judging by the names of some of these guys, their egos actually make them good candidates to be footballers… We start with one such example, Mr Fantastic. He would be the perfect keeper, as he is basically Stretch Armstrong – good luck trying to get anything past this guy when he can stretch and cover all parts of the goal. The net is going to be looking smaller and smaller… He’s also very intelligent, so he’d be a great tactician at the back to keep the defenders in line. Hell, he’d probably have calculated every move of the opponent before kick-off. Plus he suits the footballing life well, in that he has his own brand of clothing to advertise (they made the suits themselves right?). Easy pick!
Kind of reminds me of: Iker Casillas
Right Back: Captain America (also team captain)
Trying to figure out where he’d play was a tough one, but I went with Right Back for Captain America, who is errrm… Captain of the team. He will never run out of energy and will work tirelessly for the good of the team. He’s unselfish to the point of being try-hard, and his job is defending people from threats, so defence may actually be the best role for him. But his incredible agility and strength means that he can bomb forward to provide the ball for his more egotistical team-mates upfield. He’s not about the glory, he just wants to make sure the team wins. Much like Cesar Azpilicueta, or even the legendary Cafu, he would be Mr Consistent. As captain of the team he can lead by example, and we know he’d never get sent off because he would never, ever swear at the referee.
Kind of reminds me of: Cafu
Centre Back: Drax the Destroyer
I’m going for solid at the back, and you’d struggle to find someone more solid than Drax. There’s a definite fear factor in his huge size, appearance, and just the general worry an opposition striker is going to have when he looks at a team sheet and sees that he is playing against someone called ‘Drax the Destroyer’. Asides from being big and strong, Drax also has great agility, and has proven to be a good team player. Team-mates will have to be very literal with Drax though, as he does not understand metaphors or figures of speech. So never ask him to hammer the ball in, forget asking him to run the opposition into the ground, and definitely don’t tell him to kill the game off… All of these would go over his head (although nothing goes over his head. His reflexes are too fast, he’d catch it). I feel that he would not fare well as a commentator or pundit either for that matter… Although he’d still be better than Michael Owen.
Kind of reminds me of: Mats Hummels
Centre Back: Colossus
Due to the success of Belgian pair Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld at Tottenham Hotspur this season, I was tempted to give Drax a familiar face by partnering him with Groot. But Groot may be a bit of a liability, so I’ve found one of the few people who may be more solid than Drax… Colossus. A no-nonsense straight shooter, and also very much a team player, I think this centre back partnership could cause serious damage, like literal damage, to any opponent trying to attack them. Plus I noticed that most of the team are American, so it’s nice to have a bit of cultural variety in having a Russian here to partner someone in defence who to be fair isn’t even from planet Earth. Manchester United once thrived with an eastern European in central defence, so what’s not to like here?
Kind of reminds me of: Nemanja Vidić
Left Back: Spider-Man
What better person to have in defence than someone who can literally sense danger coming? Spider-Man will be a great asset on this front, his quick reactions can combine with his strength and agility to stop people (when they eventually give up trying to run through the literal brick walls I’ve put in central defence). His speed makes him ideal to quickly turn defence into a counter-attack, and get it forward to the big guns up front. Plus with his web-slinging abilities, I’d imagine his long throws would put even Rory Delap to shame. So what if he’s wearing a mask? Players with broken noses do it all the time!
Kind of reminds me of: Ashley Cole
Defensive Midfielder: Deadpool
In this position I’ve resisted getting another brick wall, and gone for something a little different with Deadpool. I think his size and tenacity would make him Makélélé-esque in this position, with the key attributes of being both stubborn and completely indestructible. He’s going to drive the opposition, and possibly his own team-mates, nuts with his back-chat, but he will get the job done. He also has no moral compass and no sense of mortality, so he will do anything and everything to ensure that his enemies don’t make it past him. What more could you ask for from a defensive mid?
Kind of reminds me of: Claude Makélélé
Central Midfielder: Wolverine
People will hack at him, they will try to injure him, but it will make no difference. This street fighter will take down any opponent without mercy. I’d imagine Roy Keane in his heyday to resemble Wolverine on a football pitch. Wolverine’s animal instincts and will to survive will help him take down anyone running towards him. But for all his lone wolf attributes, he’s worked very well in a team too. Another literally indestructible person to have in midfield couldn’t hurt either. Speaking of…
Kind of reminds me of: Roy Keane
Central Midfielder: The Hulk
Mercifully not the Brazilian winger (I can’t imagine this green guy diving to win a free kick), The Hulk may well render the rest of the team redundant, as he is just so powerful, so big, and would thus be a complete nightmare for opponents. He scores when he wants, he scores when he wants… No, literally he scores whenever he wants – the fan chants write themselves with this one. I decided that he would be wasted in defence or in goal – In centre midfield he can make ground-shaking runs forward like Yaya Touré has done in the Premier League many a time. To warn the opposition not to make him angry may be a moot point, because if he’s always angry… Have you considered playing badminton instead?
Kind of reminds me of: Yaya Touré
A bit of a no-brainer here, this guy will embarrass even the quickest of defenders. He’s young and cocky, but if pointed in the right direction he will be priceless. Are the players running low on gas in extra time? Quicksilver can do the running for everyone. He can mess up a cross into the box, chase down the ball, bring it back to where he was, and try it again in a split second. I would think he’d be a nightmare for pranks in the dressing room, but ultimately he has to be picked. He’d be infuriating to play against, and would probably be the most fouled player on this team. Except perhaps for…
Kind of reminds me of: Kylian Mbappé
Winger: Iron Man
While not as fast as Quicksilver, Iron Man has pace to burn himself, and his famous reputation on the world stage makes the life of a footballer a good fit for him. He is the rock star of the team, except unlike David Beckham he doesn’t need to retire as the suit will keep him playing at the very highest level forever. The ego of this genius billionaire playboy philanthropist will need massaging, but he’s a footballer, isn’t that always the case? He will probably try and hog a lot of the glory himself, and much like Cristiano Ronaldo I’m not sure he’ll always want his team-mates to score instead of him. But ultimately for all his put-downs he is a team player like the rest of them, and his funding will come in handy when the transfer window opens. Captain America can still be the captain of this team though – as Tony Stark says, “he’s the boss. I just pay for everything, and design everything, and make everyone look cooler”.
Kind of reminds me of: Cristiano Ronaldo
There haven’t been enough quality players in football these days in the Number 9 role, but I reckon Thor would be a great shout for this position. He’s big and strong, but most of all he’s fiercely competitive… if a little arrogant. I guess that being a demi-God will make you a bit full of yourself, but this is good for a striker – just ask Zlatan. He wants glory and all that? Well here is his opportunity… Plus he seems a bit vain, so I can imagine him using almost as much hair gel as Harry Kane to ensure he’s always looking the part.
Kind of reminds me of: Zlatan Ibrahimović
Managers: Given the qualities of the players here, a formation may be a bit irrelevant… But for what it’s worth I’m going with a 4-3-3 arrangement for this team. For the managerial role I’ve gone with Professor X, for a few reasons. Firstly, he has the power of mind control – remember Sir Alex Ferguson getting in the referees ear? Well how about literally getting in the referee’s mind? If the superstars aren’t delivering, just make sure the ref gives that little bit more injury time, or gives a penalty, whatever you need. Plus Charles Xavier’s wealth combined with Tony Stark would be really useful to fund this team, especially when they have their grudge match against the DC XI that’ll be funded by Bruce ‘Abramovich’ Wayne.
Kind of reminds me of: Sir Alex Ferguson
Professor X is a good leader too, and has successfully tutored a few of the players that are in the team. One problem with him though is that he is quite moral, and therefore might not resort to such mind control behaviour. So to counter his calm teacher approach I’ll also have the street-smart Nick Fury as his assistant manager. A little rougher around the edges, he will be a far more animated presence on the touchline, questioning even the biggest egos and putting them in their place. He will work without the moral considerations that the Professor may have, because he has been here and done it all before. And forgetting all that, who better to deliver an inspiring team talk than Coach Carter himself, Samuel L. Jackson?
Kind of reminds me of: Diego Simone
So there it is, how do you think these guys would fare? I’d say they’d give Barcelona a run for their money at least… With Justice League coming out in cinemas, FC Marvel vs DC United would certainly make for an intriguing grudge match. Or perhaps you would rather watch West Brom?