By 90Min
July 01, 2019

One of the highlights of this years Glastonbury festival was grime artist Dave performing one of his biggest tracks 'Thiago Silva' on stage with a fan.

Alex, who was selected from the crowd for wearing a PSG shirt with the Brazilian centre-back's name on the back, stole the limelight as he smashed Dave’s track word-for-word on stage.

The clip went viral fast, and even caught the attention of Silva himself.

But which other footballers have had namedrops in the music world? We trawled music lyric database Genius for some footballing references.

AJ Tracey

AJ Tracey, who features on 'Thiago Silva' alongside Dave, put out a track in 2017 titled 'False', a song crammed with footballing references and dozens of namedrops, particularly of Tottenham players, who the London rapper supports.

The full list of players mentioned in that track are: Carlos Puyol, Eric Dier, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Luis Figo, Christian Eriksen, Luka Modric, Isco, Didier Drogba, Mario Gotze, 'Costa' (which Genius believes to reference both Douglas Costa and Diego Costa), Joshua Onomah, Nathan Oduwa and Hugo Lloris.



'False 9' is certainly the undisputed winner when it comes to football namedrops. But what other artists love to slip a footballer into their lyrics?

Action Bronson

New York-born rapper Action Bronson litters his tracks with references about three main topics: food, pop culture and sports.

Among those sports references are a number of football (soccer) namedrops.

In 'Back 2 The Future' there's a nod to Ronaldinho as well as Netherlands duo Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder: 'A Dutch master like Robben and Sneijder, strike like a viper'.

Fellow Dutchman Ruud van Nistelrooy can be found in the lyrics of '5 Minute Beats 1 Take Raps': "Pistol noise, shiftin' in a Hitler toy, kick s**t, young Ruud van Nistelrooy".

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/GettyImages

Another Bronson track, 'It’s Me', sees a French legend get a mention: “Like a soccer player call me by my last name, a young Zinedine Zidane”.

One half of the GOAT debate, Lionel Messi, gets name-dropped on 'Muslim Wedding', whilst

the other half, Cristiano Ronaldo, is mentioned in the first verse of 'Savage from Sarasota'.


Like Action Bronson, Canadian superstar Drake also gives Cristiano a name drop. On 'Blue Tint' from his latest album 'Scorpion', Drake raps: “Way this s**t set up I live like Ronaldo, but I never been in Madrid, woah”.


The title track of Drake’s album 'Views' sees the rapper compare himself to a former England and Manchester United legend: “My wifey is a spice like I'm David Beckham”.

The most interesting lyric from Drake comes from a feature on an Aaliyah track from 2012. In the first verse of the song, titled 'Enough Said', he references Manchester City’s former Italian striker Mario Balotelli.

UK Grime Scene

As we’ve seen from 'Thiago Silva' and AJ Tracey’s 'False 9', British grime artists love a good football reference.

A few others we’ve unearthed include another from Dave, this time in 'Panic Attack', where Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jamie Vardy are mentioned.

P Money’s 'Welcome to England' makes two rather left-field references with this line: “Where the h**s in the clubs want a big, black baller, Akinfenwa, Emile Heskey”, comparing his broad frame to that of Heskey and Adebayo Akinfenwa, dubbed the world’s strongest footballer.

Harry Hubbard/GettyImages

One of the cleverest uses of footballer’s names comes from JME’s '96 F**kries' freestyle, in which he wordplays the names of Teddy Sheringham and Jack Wilshere: “Call me a rude kid or a maniac but beats? I ain't sharing 'em like Teddy. The only thing I will share like Jack is lyrics, I'll spray whenever you're ready”.

And it isn’t just players, managers often get a mention too. Glastonbury headliner Stormzy has one of the most memorable bars in recent grime history, with the Manchester United fan saying on his track 'Know Me From': “I come to your team and f**k s**t up, I’m David Moyes”, referencing the Scot’s infamous time as United manager.

Some Really Odd References

Whilst there are plenty more mentions in the music world to the likes of Ronaldo, Messi, Beckham and other legends of the game like Maradona and Pele, there aresome very bizarre namedrops out there too.

Jay-Z and Lil Wayne, two of the most successful rap artists of all time, both have lyrics containing the name of Freddy Adu, the American player who, in his youth, was billed to be the next Pele. Adu’s career went quite the opposite, with the 30-year-old currently playing in the USA’s second division.


However, Jay-Z mentions Adu on 'American Gangster', whilst Wayne slips his name into his verse on Glasses Malone’s 'Haterz'.

The quirkiest reference of them all, however, comes courtesy of a remix of smooth-singing British artist Craig David’s 'Rendezvous'. The 'Rendezvous Re-Rub' featuring Blacksmith includes a rapped verse with a pretty random name drop: “Tanya, look – I can sauté but foreplay’s my forte, gonna score more ways than Luis Boa Morte”.

That’s right. Former Portuguese international and Southampton, West Ham and Fulham midfielder Luis Boa Morte. Mind. Blown.

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