World Cup Names: Soccer superstar baby names

The World Cup means many things to many people–mostly rooting for their country’s team–but to name nerds it also means a chance to sample a smorgasbord of international names. They’re all here–Slavic names, Norse names, Hispanic names, African, Asian and Anglo names…

Here’s a selection of some that we found particularly intriguing and possibly exportable, together with the team they play for  (understanding that it doesn’t necessarily represent their own ethnnicity).  In some soccer cultures–especially Portugal and Brazil–there’s a tradition of using only one name (one Brazilian superstar moniker I’m NOT including is Kaka, even if the accent is on the second syllable), and some of the choices below are the nicknames the players are known by.

ABOU Diaby (France)

ACHILLE Emana (Cameroon)

ALOU Diarra (France)

ARJEN Robben (Netherlands)

AURELIEN Chedjou (Cameroon)

BECARY Sagna (France)

BOJAN Jokec (Slovenia)

BROU Angoua (Ivory Coast)

BROWN Ideye (Nigeria)

CACAU (Germany)

CLEMENTE Rodriguez (Argentina)

CRISTIANO Ronaldo (Portugal)

DANILO Turcios (Honduras)

DANKO Lazovic (Serbia)

DECO (Portugal)

DEJAN Stankovic (Serbia)

DEMY De Zeeuw (Netherlands)

DICKSON Etuhu (Nigeria)

DJIBRIL Cisse (France)

DRAGAN Mrdja (Serbia)

EDINSON Cavani (Uruguay)

EIJI Kawashima (Japan)

FILIP Holosko (Slovakia)

FLORENT Malouda (France)

GAETAN Bong (CAmeroon)

GENNARO Gattuso (Italy)

GOJKO Kakar (Serbia)

HENDRY Thomas (Honduras)


JESPER Christiansen, Gronkjaer (Denmark)

JONNIN Magallon (Mexico)

JOZY Altidore (US)

JURAJ Kucka (Slovakia)

JUSTO Villar (Paraguay)

KARIM Matmour/Ziani (Algeria)

KEIJI Tamada (Japan)

KOLO Toure (Ivory Coast)

LIONEL Messi (Argentina)

LOUKAS Vyntra (Greece)

MacBETH Sibaya (South Africa)

MADJID Bougherra (Algeria)

MARCELL Jansen (Germany)


MAURO Camoranesi (Italy)

MAXI Rodriguez (Argentina)

MISO Brecko (Slovenia)

NEVEN Subotic (Serbia)

RAFAEL Marquez (Mexico)

RAFIK Halliche, Saifi (Algeria)

RETO Ziegler (Switzerland)

ROQUE Santa Cruz (Paraguay)

SAMI Khedira (Germany)

SIMAO (Portugal)

SOCRATES Papathinaikos (Greece)

SOREN Larsen (Denmark)

STELIOS Malezas (Greece)

STIJN Schaars (Netherlands)

SULLEY Muntari (Ghana)

SURPRISE Moriri (South Africa)

TAYE Taiwu (Nigeria)

TEKO Modise (South Africa)

THIAGO Silva (Brazil)

THIERRY Henry (France)

TRANQUILLO Barnetta (Switzerland)

VALON Behrami (Switzerland)

WALDO Ponce (Chile)

XABIER Alonso (Spain)

XAVI (Spain)

YAZID Mansouri (Algeria)

YUJI Nakazawa (Japan)

YUKI Abe (Japan)

ZORAN Tosic (Serbia)

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8 Responses to “World Cup Names: Soccer superstar baby names”

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Giuls Says:

June 15th, 2010 at 12:22 am

I’ve been an avid football fan my entire life. (My Opa was invited to play for the now famous Bayern Munich.) I’ve always had football inspired names on my guilty pleasure list and recently I’ve considered them as middle name contenders. Some of my favorites are Rooney, Zidane, Nistlerooy, Thierry, Kahn, and Podolski. (My favorite combo lately is actually Florian Podolski.)

UrbanAngel Says:

June 15th, 2010 at 5:23 am

The South African names are actually very typical of that specific ethnic group/culture in the country. They’re actually very normal for me

Kiki Says:

June 15th, 2010 at 6:26 am

I’ve watched football so much I’m pretty much desensitised to Kaka. Besides his realy first name is Ricardo, which is much nicer.

Iker Casillas (Spain)
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
Rio Ferdinand (England)
Francesc Fabregas (Spain)
Alvaro Arbeloa (Spain)
Lucas Thwala (South Africa)
Siphiwe Tshabalala (South Africa) – Best last name ever!
Kaisuke Honda (Japan)

Just some random ones I remember so far.

UrbanAngel Says:

June 15th, 2010 at 8:04 am


glad you like Tshabalala.It’s actually a very popular surname

Write Mom Says:

July 6th, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I did it again!…

I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

Sunshinetina Says:

July 7th, 2010 at 11:48 pm

I love the names Bastian (Schweinsteiger) and Lukas (Podolski) but don’t have reason to use them.
Can you guess which team I’m rooting for?

Ana Says:

August 5th, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Deco and Cacau are just nicknames
and Silva from Thiago Silva is a lastname, the players from Brazil use their first name on their tshirt
Thiago is a really popular name in Brazil

Caroline Says:

August 21st, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Cacau, the german player, was actually born in Brazil, and Cacau, which means cocoa, is a really popular nickname here, mostly for girl names like Caroline – it’s actually my nickname ^^ -, Carolina and Claudia.

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