‘There are downsides to looking this perfect’: Why footballers hate me for being beautiful
With apologies to Samantha Brick.
A few years ago, on a flight to Madrid, I was stunned when a stewardess came over with a chilled protein-shake. ‘This is from the captain — he wants to welcome you to Spain and hopes you have a great flight’. It was lovely, though it meant I had to perform 300 stomach crunches in the aisle. But it wasn’t a surprise; not for me.
Throughout my life, I’ve regularly had football boots, electronic goods, stuffed toys, clothes, and once even a leopard sent to me by complete strangers. On one occasion, a furious Scotsman gave me seven hundred sticks of chewing gum and a horse. And when I ask why, the answer is always the same: my stunning physical perfection and ability to kick a ball into a net has made their day.
But there are downsides to being perfect — the main one being that other footballers hate me for no other reason than my perfection.
If you’re a footballer reading this, doubtless you’ve already formed your own opinion about me, and it won’t be flattering. For while my perfection has enabled me to achieve many goals (literally), it has led to a life of persecution.
I’m not smug, and I’m no flirt, yet over the years I’ve been shunned by countless colleagues who felt threatened if I was merely on the same team-sheet. If the manager dared to actually compliment me, I’d find myself frozen out on the training ground.
But it’s not just jealous teammates that have given me the cold shoulder-barge. Insecure fans have also refused to recognise my perfection. You’d think lesser humans would welcome the presence of Olympian perfection in their midst — I work hard for my beauty. I exercise, own fourteen sunbeds, and use so much hair product that I must stay twenty-five feet away from naked flames. Sadly, fans feel diminished in the presence of my magnificence.
I am booed wherever I play, yet the only crime I’ve committed is not leaving the house with a Jay Spearing mask on. They don’t like me, because they view me as a threat. They are heavier, older, and weaker than me.
Paranoia grips my fellow footballers in my presence. In my late teens, when I first started as a professional footballer, one of my teammates would regularly invite me over for a long session of humiliating prostitutes after a hard days light jogging. I always accepted, as we got on well at work. But one evening, one of the whores genuinely laughed at a joke I made. He laid into her, then turned on me: he called my manbag “ridiculous”, and mocked me for using hair-dye. I declined all further invitations.
Sports psychologist Calamity Flan, author of “How To Score Goals And Be Really, Really Good-Looking”, writes: “Many of my clients are completely lacking in self-awareness. I sometimes suspect that when they quote from my book, they don’t even read the passage they use, which is symptomatic of their failure to appreciate just how ghastly their preened and plucked notions of perfection are to anybody with half a soul”.
One contract I accepted was blighted by a jealous teammate. It was the end of summer and I’d naively expressed a preference for a shirt number. I was dragged into the changing room and told that I was not worthy of the number; it was clear that he was worried I would look better wearing 7 than he did.
Our relationship deteriorated further when he began to lose his pace. Employed by one of the largest clubs in the world, I had the opportunity to become free-kick taker, but while the manager was fine with it, my so-called captain refused to sanction the appointment. I was later told this was down to jealousy on his part. Soon, every time I took a shot, he mocked me. Fortunately, he was old, and moved to Germany.
My current manager is slightly older than me, and takes great pleasure in hearing other managers praise my astonishing virility, or my tungsten thighs. He tells me to laugh off the sneers from my colleagues. Yet as soon as I prepare to take a shot, or a free-kick, I dread the bitchiness that inevitably follows. I find award ceremonies fraught, and if I must attend, I often contact the organisers beforehand, asking them to ensure I only come second or third, so as to avoid the jealous clucks from my peers.
So now I’m 27, and at the peak of physical perfection. Yet I must be the only footballer that will welcome the anonymity of decline and retirement. As the cat-calls and jealous snark fades, I will spend less time rolling in the grass, trying to persuade the blinkered officials to overlook their envy. I will spend less time pushing myself through the sticky mud, carrying my bitter teammates. I will slip from the public eye and perhaps find a lonely-yet-fulfilling happiness: just myself, and my mirror, and my majesty.