By 90Min
May 18, 2019

The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is the biggest non-footballing event of the year (probably). But why does it have to be a non-footballing event? 

It doesn't. In fact, I reckon it would be a darned sight better if it was completely commandeered by footballers. So, without further ado, here is the footballer-heavy lineup that you should be seeing this Saturday night in Tel Aviv, in the running order that you will be. 


1. Malta

IAN KINGTON/GettyImages

Tricky one to start with, for obvious reasons, but after some quick research I found out two things. 1) There is an ex-player and manager of Malta named John Buttigieg, who may or may not be related to 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate Paul Buttigieg (originally from Malta). 

2) 38-year-old captain fantastic Michael Mifsud is still going strong, and holds both the goalscoring and appearance records for the country. So, obviously he's kicking off the show. I'm expecting saucy crotch-grabs (a bit like above) and plenty of gusto. 


2. Albania

Alessandro Sabattini/GettyImages

As Albania's most recognisable face, Elseid Hysaj is getting the nod. Hopefully he can bring some Neapolitan flair. 

Thing is, though, he's not making an impression unless he has fellow defender, and Italian resident (he plays for Atalanta), Berat Gjimshiti...because, well, that's the kind of name that's picking up plenty of drunken votes, which account for 99.9% of the votes at large.


3. Czech Republic

Stephen Shugerman/GettyImages

Are you kidding me? Did you not hear the hit collab with Queen's Roger Taylor: 'That's Football'? Do you not see Snoop Dogg? Of course it's Petr Cech. 

If anything, he might be too experienced. But, with all that "Hard work, Commitment, Sacrifice, Aim," he's definitely bringing the #energy, and he's definitely coming out of retirement for one last swansong, if you will.


4. Germany

Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

Highly competitive category, as you'd expect from the two-time Eurovision winners and four-time World Cup winners. Both Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil have shown their considerable vocal chops, as outlined here, while Franz Beckenbauer has also had popstar credentials. 

But Der Kaiser is too old and, considering Ozil's resignation from the German national team, and both his reasoning for the decision and the subsequent fallout, I can't imagine the Arsenal man giving his all for the performance. So, Poldi it is. Halleluja!


5. Russia

JUAN MABROMATA/GettyImages

If you don't think that Artem Dzyuba, and his entire 6ft4 frame, would have exceptional stage presence, then I don't want to know you.


6. Denmark

Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Look at that emotional power ballad stance from Kasper Schmeichel, and tell me he's not bringing the (teary-eyed) house down. 

The song's probably called something like 'Hope', with an English chorus but predominantly Danish verse, and it's just Kasper, some dry ice, a mic and zero dry eyes.


7. San Marino

Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

With the obvious connotations between San Marino players and their non-football jobs, I was sure I'd find some under-the-radar singer or actor. Alas, none were found, but I did find Alex Gasperoni, who runs a 'lighting business', so at least you know the staging will be on point.


8. North Macedonia

Paolo Rattini/GettyImages

Huh. I didn't even know that Macedonia had been broken up like this. Apparently, it was just renamed in February this year, with little to no land mass change, so thankfully everyone's in play. 

Anyway...*Squints at squad* Goran Pandev it is! The guy's a Champions League treble winner, FFS. Plus, he'd probably go with one of those over-the-top aggressive rock efforts that are ill-fated but great fun. 


9. Sweden

JORGE GUERRERO/GettyImages

There's no way that Andreas Granqvist isn't an amateur Heavy Metal singer in his spare time. Absolutely no way. And, even if he isn't, he's got the look, and that's all that really matters here. 

Could even call on Pontus Jansson for some piercing backup vocals. 


10. Slovenia

Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/GettyImages

Look, I know it's obvious, but Jan Oblak is the only marketable name Slovenia have. It's either him or Domen Črnigoj, and no one wants that. 


11. Cyprus

SAKIS SAVVIDES/GettyImages

Now, at this point, you might be thinking: "Did he assumed there'd be more mainstream countries competing this year?" And you'd be right. But it's too late now. 

Soooo *spins Cypriot bottle* Southend United's Jason Demetriou, you're up. I'm expecting some upbeat, unabashed pop. All technicolour strobe lighting and strained smiles.


12. Netherlands

Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

While Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt are trying to out-Alpha one another in the audition room, Ryan Babel comes in and blows everyone out of the water with his rapid rhymes. 

If you didn't know man had bars, now you know. Obviously, you need a bit more than a freestyle to win the overall competition, which is why Babel dyes his hair Dutch orange, rocks an orange suit and sporadically breaks out into a stepover-heavy dance routine. It doesn't work.


13. Greece

Robert Cianflone/GettyImages

I don't know if you've looked at the Greek national team recently, but it's a depressing read. Which is why turning to Georgios (Gorgeous, more like) Samaras is our only hope. 

And what a hope he is. Bloody 'ell, have you ever seen a more Eurovision-looking footballer in your life. I reckon he starts it off slow, with some lethargic piano, then suddenly kicks into gear with some rousing techno, takes his top off and ends with the above knee slide at the edge of the stage. Magic. 


14. Israel

Phil Cole/GettyImages

Yossi Benayoun and Tal Ben Haim, obviously. Benayoun's all campy and country, Ben Haim's all gravel-voice and one-arm fist pump. 

And, with a home crowd, it's their's to lose, let's be real. 


15. Norway

DANIEL SANNUM LAUTEN/GettyImages

It's Morten Gamst Pedersen on the Piano. It's John Carew on the drums. It's John Arne Riise on the guitar. All three have mics, all three have pipes. It's bedlam. 


16. United Kingdom

Getty Images/GettyImages

The UK haven't won Eurovision since 1997, and they're desperate for a win. After scouring this article, they know what they have to do: form a Supergroup. 

They cobble together Glen Hoddle and Chris Waddle (of 'Diamond Lights' fame), Ian Wright, Paul Gascoigne, Andy Cole, Kevin Keegan and, yes, Emanuel Frimpong (got to appeal to the youth), and pray for the best. 

Unfortunately, with unbridle egos colliding, it's an unmitigated disaster; Hoddle wants brit pop, Wrighty wants disco, Cole's after some R&B, Gascoigne's feverishly pushing garage, Keegan's desperate for an acapella ballad and Frimpong's vying for drill. 

They end up voteless.


17. Iceland

Stu Forster/GettyImages

No gas, Aron Gunnarsson has actually competed at Eurovision. 


18. Estonia

AFP Contributor/GettyImages

Here's the only Estonian footballer who plays for a team I recognise: Mattias Kait, of Fulham.

Good player, great singer, from what I hear.


19. Belarus

Epsilon/GettyImages

What, you don't know Pavel Nyakhaychyk? Frontman of Belarus' preeminent Ska band? 

Shame on you.


20. Azerbaijan

ADRIAN DENNIS/GettyImages

He may be regularly caught napping on the pitch, but Gara Garayev is singlehandedly bringing back grunge in Azerbaijan. Yeh, he's a one-man-band, what of it?


21. France

FRANCK FIFE/GettyImages

There are so many contenders here - Olivier Giroud is a natural born entertainer, and has extensive vocal credits, after appearing in the dubbed version of 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse', as does Antoine Griezmann. 

Paul Pogba would be an obvious choice, but there are doubts over his commitment, so he's controversially overlooked in favour of none other than N'Golo Kante. Yeh, the shyer than a shy horse N'Golo Kante. 

Thing is, this is the Chelsea man's secret weapon. He's so unassuming it catches you off guard, like on talent shows when someone with zero stage presence unveils a belting voice.


22. Italy

PATRICK HERTZOG/GettyImages

Campeone, Canneloni, Macaroni, Luca Toni. Obviously

If that's not the 'Numero Uno' Eurovision bait, I don't know what is.


23. Serbia

FRANCISCO LEONG/GettyImages

If Aleksandar Mitrovic puts as much effort into his head-banging as he does his headers, Serbia will be in good stead. 

There's crimson lights showering every which way, and Mitro is prowling around the stage in a ruby encrusted all-black suit. It's edgy, but enticing. 


24. Switzerland

KARIM JAAFAR/GettyImages

Few players in football history have captured the pure Eurotrash energy that Valon Behrami has over the years. 

He could even double as host for the evening, and do the whole laugh at your own joke routine before making some off-hand pass at his female co-presenter. Ahhh, Eurovision.


25. Australia

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/GettyImages

Yeah, so if this news is only just reaching you, Australia are in Eurovision now for some reason. They even finished as runners up back in 2016. Don't ask me how this happened, just ask me who's gigging up for them this year. 

No, funnily enough, it's not Israel Folau, it's bloody Mile Jedinak! But he doesn't bring the fire and brimstone you expect. He instead opts for an acoustic country number that, because everyone's at least 10 pints in by this point, everyone instantly embraces.


26. Spain

FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/GettyImages

The Eurovision closer. It's a coveted spot, and Spain don't want to let the fans down. So, with Sergio Ramos as ringleader, they enact an 'Odd Future - Oldie' type cypher, except it's pure Reggaeton.

One after one, the great and the good of Spanish football chance their arm at the elusive artform that is a Reggaeton flow. It's, well, hit and miss. Ramos himself starts off strong, but weak efforts from Alvaro Morata and Jesus Navas - whose mic cuts off mid-verse - threaten to derail their bid. 

Fortunately, the recently recalled Santi Cazorla comes in with that classic smile and a stirring hook that Enrique Iglesias would be proud of, and all is forgiven.

You May Like

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)