I’m very happy whenever the world’s most swole soccer player is in the news
There isn’t another soccer player in the world like Adebayo Akinfenwa. The 38-year-old striker has spent the better part of the past two decades toiling in relative obscurity in the third- and fourth-highest leagues in England, playing for teams like Torquay United and Rushden & Diamonds. But he’s by far the most famous player at that level of English football. Why? Because he’s the strongest soccer player in the world.
Akinfenwa has the honor of being the player with the highest strength rating every year in the FIFA game series, and one look at him makes it obvious why. He’s a barrel-chested man with biceps like pythons and a mountain range where his shoulders should be. He looks like you took an NFL linebacker and plopped him in the middle of a soccer pitch. And yet, he’s still as agile and skillful as you’d expect a striker to be.
The only thing as big as Akinfenwa’s shoulders is his personality, which was on full display on Monday. Akinfenwa’s club, Wycombe Wanderers, defeated Oxford United to earn promotion to the Championship, England’s second division. Neither Wycombe nor Akinfenwa had ever played above the third tier, so after the game, Akinfenwa was in a jubilant mood and he gave a truly delightful interview to Sky Sports.
He made jokes. He got serious. He had hype men. It was great.
Akinfenwa had been on this stage before. In 2016, his late penalty helped AFC Wimbledon earn promotion from League Two to League One, but he and his manager had decided shortly before the game that he would be released from his contract. In another interview with Sky Sports, Akinfenwa said, “I think I’m technically unemployed, so any managers, hit me up on the WhatsApp and get me a job.”
Now, Akinfenwa isn’t looking for jobs on WhatsApp, but his DMs are still open. After Wycombe’s big moment, he told Jurgen Klopp, the manager of Premier League champions Liverpool, to get in touch.
“Let me tell you something,” Akinfenwa said, “the only person that can hit me up on WhatsApp this time is Klopp, so we can celebrate together. You get me? Oi!”
Sure enough, Klopp (at the urging of Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson) sent Akinfenwa a video message.
Though he could joke about it at the time, being cut must have stung Akinfenwa. After helping lead Wycombe to promotion for the second time in four years, he used the Wimbledon slight to make a point about believing in yourself.
“For me, life and football is all about opinions,” Akinfenwa said. “Four years ago, somebody gave an opinion on me, and that was their opinion. I hope my story shows that the only opinion that matters is the opinion you have about yourself. I was lucky and blessed to find a manger and players who believed in me.”
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